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...
Jul 5, 2013

The monsoon report -an umbrella of care needed!

child at rescue junction
child at rescue junction

Hi Everyone!,

This is Sunita with our regular project update and I hope you are all enjoying pleasant summer weather. Here the monsoon has started but here in our part of Bihar very little rain has fallen in contrast to the terrible floods affecting our fellow Indians in Uttarkhand which is very far from here, but only if you measure in terms of kilometers . Here at People First we are all concerned and all the staff are contributing something from thier salary and even the children have given a little from their pocket money to help relief efforts. I am sure there is a page on GlobalGiving where people can help.

So what's been happening at Rescue Junction since out last "bangle" report? Well as usual quite a lot!  Many comings and goings and we are stepping up our campaign to eradicate child labour from the town of Gaya with raids on shops garages hotels and sadly places where we have received reports of underage sex workers. We have our special appeal of course for girls on GlobalGiving, our special initiative for girls - no abuse for life.

We very recently received information from an anonymous phone call made from Bodhgaya about a Tibetan Refugee who had "purchased" two young boys for domestic labour and was taking them to Dehradun in the Himalayas. Following this information we gained authority from the police to detain and search express trains going in that direction, and after many searches the person was spotted boarding with the children , and he was immediately arrested and subsequently charged , whilst the boys are receiving counseling and support at Rescue Junction. If you visit our Facebook page you can see a copy of the press coverage, without the boys photographs of course.

We now have a toll free number 1098 as part of the nationwide childline system for people to call if they suspect child kidnapping or abuse, and of course for children themselves to call if they need help. We guarantee to respond to urgent calls within 30 minutes, often less.

For all of the ground breaking work of the centre of which I know you are aware we still do not have the support of any big non profit or organization, in fact very few organizations seem to want to reach out to street children in a meaningful way. We have to rely on donations like yours to keep the centre open. We are not idle in seeking funds from other sources perhaps even getting the state government to take responsibility for the welfare of the children in the state, but this work is ongoing and takes time. The example above is just one of dozens of interventions since our last report. it costs $50,000 to run the whole centre for a whole year, reaching out to hundreds of  vulnerable lost and missing children, so every single donation, no matter how small is so important. .

Thanks so much for your help!

Sunita

Links:

Jul 5, 2013

A LITTLE EXTRA MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

New Rickshaw
New Rickshaw

Hello Supporters,

Greetings to you from Bihar in India. As you know from our green riders appeal we have been able to provide one cycle rickshaw to a family desperately in need of one and the extra income it brings, and due to your generosity we are on the way to providing a second family with one.

I thought I would let the mother of the family who received a rickshaw explain what it meant to them.

" When we got our brand new cycle rickshaw it was one of the happiest days of our lives. There are so many poor people in Bihar we really do struggle to buy even the necessities for our family with ever rising prices. But when we got the rickshaw we decided to use the income we can earn from the rickshaw to make it possible for one of our children to get a better education. So how big a help is the rickshaw? Well on a good week , including market days we have been earning about 500 rupees a week, or 2000 a month. ( this is just over $8  and $33 dollars respectively). This amount, where our income is so limited  makes all the difference and we can buy school books and more vegetables now. I want to thank you so much for this chance for us to earn a better living".

It's the teach a man to fish thing. We are not suggesting that providing a few cycle rickshaws is going to solve the problem of poverty in Bihar, where millions of the population earn less than $2 a day, but for a few families it can make all the difference in the world.

Thank you for your support. As mentioned before we would be happy to paint the name of the donor on the back (as we have already done in one case), so please help us provide the next family with a cycle rickshaw.

Thank you so much!

Deepak Kumar

 Note :The comments above were obtained by a verbal interview and are unedited.

 

Links:

Jun 20, 2013

You are unique- Just like everybody else!

Upendra at his graduation
Upendra at his graduation

Hello Everyone,

I am Naresh Sir and I am Director of Education here at People First. I hope you are are all well. Here in Bihar we are waiting for the monsoon to arrive, actually praying for the monsoon to arrive!

As you know the TOP scheme is all about Opportunity. In fact People First's mission statement says just this,  "The giving of Opportunity to those to whom it has denied either to poverty oppression or family circumstances".

As you know we help many girls under the TOP scheme or The Opportunity Programme to give its full name but I would like in this progress report to highlight the remarkable efforts of one of our male ex-TOP students, Upendra Kumar. Remember his story? Well- here it is,

Upendra’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 to 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- (now called TOP) 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. 

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

The reason we publishing Upendra's story again (with his permission of course) is as you can see from the photo above he has just graduated with a Masters Degree in Computer Studies from his college in Bangalore. Well done Upendra! and what a different future awaits him than the one which would have had without his education.

And of course his success story is one of many. In a very succesfull month for all of our educational programmes all our 10th Class TOP Students passed in the top 17%, and all our students including many girls passed in the same examination from our flagship village school in Dhobi Bihar. you will be hearing from them in future updates.  

So please support this programme, copy this update to your friends or anybody that you think might be interested in helping change a life so much for the better by providing an opportunity to them that would otherwise be denied.

We are indeed all unique, but sadly the opportunities available to  children and young people are not the same . Please help us change the world, one child at a time.

Thank you so much for help concern and your support,

Naresh

 

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