People First Educational Charitable Trust

People First aims to work closely with oppressed and disadvantaged communities and vulnerable individuals in breaking the centuries - old cycle of ignorance and oppression by providing opportunities for education. The trust believes the best way to achieve long - term positive social change is through education and we work in the areas of greatest need where no other education is available to the poor and oppressed. Our mission is the bringing of educational opportunity and to promote health and social rights to those to whom such opportunities have previously been denied due to poverty family circumstances or oppression. The Trust aims to work with the most marginalized me...
Mar 23, 2011

Saving Girls from Sex Trafficking

Sunita Project Manager Gaya Rescue Project
Sunita Project Manager Gaya Rescue Project

Warm Greetings, from all of us at Rescue Junction.

Through all of the regular updates I hope you all have come to understand the very important and unique work of the Gaya Rescue Project. It is remarkable and please forgive me for repeating this fact, that although the State Welfare Department has recognized our work by approving the centre as a place for children in urgent need and distress there is no alternative or other centre or indeed any programme to care for such children in the whole district,actually in the whole of South Bihar. South Bihar has a population of over 40 million people!

Recently the Government Railway Police intercepted a lost and frightened looking girl milling through the crowds on Gaya Station. She had run away from a Brothel, and came from the Northeastern State of Nagaland where she had been purchased for the purpose of prostitution. This girl was no older than 15 years of age.

After being admitted to Rescue Junction it soon became clear she had been working at the brothel for over one month, before in desperation running away, after being beaten for a failed attempted escape after just a few days of her exploitation.

The Police have instituted a criminal case in this matter and the young woman concerned has been found a place at the only centre in the whole state for such girls situated in Patna for the rehabilitation of sex trafficked children.

I wanted to tell you this story because we need your support to help keep this important centre open, a child in need is never turned away.

We send our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to you,

Sunita, Project Manager, from Rescue Junction, Bihar India

Links:

Mar 21, 2011

Walking my own path

Upendra
Upendra

Updendra’s Story

Choosing my own path

“Education means everything to me.”

I understand that in the West, in the UK and the USA for example everybody gets a chance to go to School. One of the co-founders of People First told me one day that actually he hated his school and left early with little or no qualifications. When he was my age, about 22 he realized his mistake and went back to school, to university to study for his degree. And now he has started an educational charity and is working for so many children to have the right to an education. He once told me “education is not merely the gaining of qualifications; it is the right to choose your own path in life”. I mention this because without People First that choice would have been denied to me, I would have still been taking my family’s goats to the river, I would not have been able to read even the local newspaper, I would have had no chance of a fulfilling life. I would have been like so many in my village, like so many of my family, unable to even fill in the form for a railway ticket without help, unable to know about my rights, unable to know which bus to catch, kept in ignorance and poverty because nobody was there to teach me to read and write.

I know there are people who say, educating village children will kill the village. They will all leave for the lights and flyovers of the cities and metros, they will abandon their homes, they will never return. But I want to tell you, who are the dishwashers behind the scenes of the five star hotels, who are the rickshaw pullers, the labourers building luxury flats for the rich? They are mainly the uneducated poor from States like Bihar. The general coaches of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata bound trains are full of such people. All travelling in hope and in dirty overcrowded coaches for the chance to make a pittance under the skyscrapers and a polluted sky,  far away from the clean green air of the village. Most will return with little to show for their efforts, mostly broken dreams and empty pockets.

The trafficking of people, particularly children from Bihar is well documented but the full extent is not really known, it is a huge problem. And yet people say providing education for the village poor will make the situation worse?  I say to those who doubt the value of an education, I am sure you criticise from the position of being provided one.

I will never abandon my family. Nor will any other student that I know from People First. If anything we will be able to help break the so called cycle of poverty.

I want to help provide my family with a tiled roof to replace the straw one, I want never again to see them hungry, I want them to worry no longer about the future, about their children, I want them to live lives of dignity in reasonable comfort, to never again not have money to buy medicines for their children for, my dying brother, who passed away when he was five, for want of a bottle of pills costing about one US dollar.  With my education I can do all these things and have a wonderful fulfilled life myself. That is all I ask.

I was born into a Dalit caste family in a poor village in Bihar. Of course we never had toys but we used you make our own, a brick tied to a piece of string would do, but I was soon helping with the household chores and tending the goats. I have two brothers one younger and one older, and one sister. We accepted our life, in our culture to be born into a lower caste is regarded as a punishment from God for transgressions in a former life.

We were often hungry. I always remember in my childhood how my mother would always do her best to look clean, even in her tattered Sari, how she would always try to do her best for us, even if there was only a little rice to cook. And my father who never drank, but would tell us tell us stories at night by the light of a simple lantern, and would try and find a piece of plastic to cover the roof above the place on the floor where we slept, when the rains came.

There was a government school, but there was nobody there except children waiting for teachers to come, or when they did to be actually taught by them.

And then People First started a school. They came to our village because many villagers got together and donated land to them so they could build a school.

It was of course, the beginning of a whole new life, it would transform everything.

I studied hard; I knew this was my way out. I won a People First Scholarship under the CAPS scheme (Children’s Academic Personal Scholarships) to a private residential school. I remember the day I told my mum and dad I was going to study full time, and they both beamed with pride. My mum, tears in her eyes, whispered “Dear God my son is going to be somebody, he will stand tall”

I passed my school leaving certificate and to be eligible for a college scholarship through People First I had to get a first division pass, I just scraped it to be honest.

First Division means the top 10%.

I was sponsored to go to college, and after studying computer engineering locally to Intermediate level, I am now completing my degree in software and computer engineering in a prestigious college in Bangalore, I am presently learning  the C++language. I give thanks for the opportunities afforded to me every single day.

I walk the path with joy and hope.  updendradasni@rediffmail.com

Note: This story is based on a series of Interviews with Updendra describing his life.

Links:

Mar 16, 2011

The Spectre of Famine Looms

Not Enough Water This was taken at the Monsoon
Not Enough Water This was taken at the Monsoon

I have the good fortune to live near a river.

Last year for the first time in living memory last year it was a dry sandy bed during the rainy season. This followed on from a poor monsoon the previous year.

Working with our Health Team and in tandem with the appeal on Global Giving for a healthy meal programme for children we are doing our best to alleviate the effect of the drought.

We have for example provided with your help provided water pumps at two village schools, but our concern is great as the blistering hot summer days are almost upon us .We had previously provided new 5 deep water pumps which are saving lives due to your assistance. You are helping to transform and save lives.

This from news sources,it is not new but from last year, we are including it in this report because very little was  done at grass roots level to alleviate the situation and NGO's have a vital role to play, working as they do directly with local people.

In Bihar, 28 districts have been declared as famine-hit.

After the meeting, Kumar told reporters that the Prime Minister gave him assurance of a visit by the central team to assess the situation.

"Bihar is facing severe drought-like situation and because of scanty rainfall we had to declare 28 out of 38 districts as drought-affected. Remaining 10 districts have also been kept under surveillance. If there is no rain in August we will have to declare these district also as drought affected," Kumar said.

The Bihar chief minister said that immediate financial assistance from the Centre is required to meet the situation in his state as "we have negative balance in state calamity relief fund".

The state government will need more funds to tackle the situation but that will be discussed with the Centre in second stage after provision is done for the initial assistance, he said.

"Right from 2007, we have been suffering from natural calamities. In 2007, 22 districts were badly hit by floods that affected 25 million people. In 2008, we had to face Kosi tragedy. Thereafter in 2009, 26 out of 38 districts were affected by drought. This year, intensity (of drought) is much more than the last year," he said.

Your assistance is so much appreciated.

It will be used directly and quickly at the point of need.

Please look out for further reports.

Washing Pots in Bihar
Washing Pots in Bihar

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