Mar 16, 2017

Exciting developments in Topsia

Collecting lunch for the family
Collecting lunch for the family

The community in Topsia had a difficult few months at the end of 2016. First their already meagre water supply was further depleted by damage to pipes, which meant that our feeding programme had to be interrupted because there simply wasn't enough water available for us to cook in large quantities. Then India's demonetisation in early December caused all kinds of chaos, including interruptions to many of Tiljala SHED's programmes simply because of a scarcity of cash.  

I was pleased to note in my last report in January that the feeding programme was back on track.  And I have even more exciting news. Topsia now has a proper electricity supply and this means that we have been able to accept a generous donation of a computer lab and a trainer 5 days a week inside the centre. The children in this most vulnerable of communities will have regular and expert computer training. This, more than anything else, will give these children a motivation to remain in education and a vital springboard out of poverty and into mainstream society.

Please continue to support the feeding programme, helping us to bring the community together and to fight for new opportunities.  Your donations have directly helped us to keep the programme going and to reach out for the other necessities of life.  We now have electricity and are actively working towards a proper clean and permanent water supply. Lives are being changed.

Thank you.

Beneficiaries of the feeding programme
Beneficiaries of the feeding programme
Power installed. All ready for computer lab
Power installed. All ready for computer lab
A huge task, starting early morning, feeding 450
A huge task, starting early morning, feeding 450
Food distribution.
Food distribution.

Attachments:
Dec 30, 2016

Thank you! 15 Happy Girls are Sponsored for 2017

Zainab - thrilled to be a Sponsored Girl
Zainab - thrilled to be a Sponsored Girl

Thanks to your amazing generosity we have now raised enough to sponsor these 15 girls for a full 12 months. 

Four of the girls have a named sponsor, and the rest have been covered by donations to the project in general.  Thanks to Global Giving’s match funding bonus events, many of your donations have been increased by 50%. 

This is a great result and the girls are all absolutely delighted. 

Zainab has been sponsored by Jean.  Zainab is 12 and in class 7 at her local Urdu High School.  Her father, Hussain,  is a driver earning just 3000 rupees a month (£36).  They live in a rented room of about 9 m2.  It is a daily struggle for him to feed his family of five and keep Zainab and her siblings in school.   But Zainab is a bright and enthusiastic student who loves school and wants to complete her education and become financially independent.  She is fully supported by her parents so we expect Zainab and her family to flourish under the sponsorship scheme.

What does sponsorship mean for Zainab? Zainab’s school expenses will now be covered: session fees, school fees and private tuition fees. Her family receives a small stipend to buy healthy food and supplements. When she purchases books or stationery she claims back the cost of these from the sponsorship fund.  She’ll get a school bag, a tiffin box (lunch box) and school uniform and shoes as required.

But being a sponsored girl means much more than this…  Tiljala SHED is most fortunate to have a small library dedicated to the girls in the heart of the slum.  This is the central meeting place where the girls can go to study in peace, use the books and the computers.  Here they have dance lessons, guitar lessons, craft sessions or just spend time with their friends in a safe place. For girls in these traditional societies, it is not possible to hang around in public places.  So the Gyan Azhar library is a real lifeline.  Tiljala SHED’s staff are always on hand to help out, listen where necessary and mentor the girls.  It is a happy place with a real buzz.  Among the activities laid on for the girls in the last 6 weeks have been

  • remedial maths classes,
  • an excursion to a theme park (organised by the Round Table organisation),
  • awareness meetings for girls and their guardians covering health, nutrition and child/women’s rights among other issues
  • craft sessions to make bead jewellery, dream catchers and greetings cards
  • weekly guitar classes
  • a visit by the children of the private school La Martiniere who brought gifts
  • First Aid training

It is the contact with one another, the inspiration from the older girls, the kindness and dedication of the Tiljala SHED staff and the sense of belonging to an important and life changing programme that makes the real difference to these girls.

Your donations make it possible for vulnerable girls from very deprived communities to dream of a better life and to reach out for it through education.

On their behalf a huge thank you and please keep on donating.  There is a long way to go…

Guitar lessons
Guitar lessons
First Aid training
First Aid training
All 15 sent cards to thank you...
All 15 sent cards to thank you...
Dec 28, 2016

How your Generosity has changed Lives

Salim at home
Salim at home

Salim lives in a single room with his wife and four daughters. He is disabled - and uses a prosthetic "Jaipur Foot" to enable him to walk.  Before daybreak every morning he takes the train out to the wholesale market in a suburb of Barrackpore where he purchases fruit, whatever is in season, to sell from his cart on a street corner in the slum close to his home. When I visited Salim in August, he was selling guavas.  Salim was one of the fortunate recipients of a grant to help him improve his income. He explained how difficult life had been before his £80 grant. In order to buy his stock, Salim needed to borrow from the local moneylender.  Annual interest rates with these lenders are typically 36% and his repayments made it very hard for Salim to make enough money to keep his family.  The grant helped Salim to clear his debt and to buy stock.  He told me that this has doubled his daily income from Rs150 to 300 (from around £2 to £4 per day).

Under the terms of the grant Salim has promised to keep his daughters in education and to attend meetings and training courses to help him run his business and his finances better.  He has also pledged to repay the grant back into a revolving fund which will be used to help other needy families. 

Salim's story shows how your donation has been very well spent.  Salim is a hardworking and responsible person who was being crushed by a debt he couldn't clear.  The staff at Tiljala SHED knew Salim well and were delighted to be able to help him.  This grant ensures not only that Salim's family will now be more comfortable, but also that the next generation stays in education.  As time goes on Salim will repay small sums into the revolving fund and more families will benefit.

Please consider a further donation this holiday season to help others like Salim to make a better life for their families. So far you have helped 87 families. Another 250 have been identified and we need the funds to help them. 

With his smallest daughter
With his smallest daughter
Selling his guavas
Selling his guavas
 
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