Dear Friends and Supporters ,
I am Deepak Kumar - Chairperson for People First and I hope this update finds all of you and your families well. You certainly have responded so generously to our Green Riders appeal and I have pleasure in including pictures of some new rickshaws being donated to extremely poor families living below the poverty line.
A chance to earn money for themselves brings with dignity and a sense of self worth, but they could not afford to buy a rickshaw for themselves ,and do not have the ability to get bank loans. Hiring a rickshaw means an amount had to be paid daily to the rickshaw owner, irrespective of what they earned that particular day .
So thank you for improving the lives of these families and helping to lift them from abject poverty .
As one of the new owners said, "This will make a big difference , when you are on the margins and with the cost of everything increasing all the time, especially vegetables, every extra rupee we can earn for our family is so important. Thank you for helping us to improve our families income". "We really really need it so much"
With Thanks again,
Greetings from Bihar India, where we wish the rains would come and give us all relief from the summer heat. Everyone comes out after sunset or in the early morning and this is when cycle rickshaw drivers make their money.
As the father of one family told us, " yes we make more in the winter season of course but there is work for us all year round, the extra income really helps us have a better diet and send our children to school. Before we had to rent a rickshaw, now we have our own . We could not get a loan easily but the one time chance of owning our own rickshaw and increasing our family income by as much as 1000 rupees a week ( about $16.00) makes all the difference in the world to us".
For all the advances India has made in recent times, millions live in abject poverty.
It is a rare chance in life that means simply by the donation of one rickshaw you can genuinely and significantly improve the circumstances and situation of a below the poverty line family.
On behalf of all of the families you have helped we send our heartfelt gratitude to you,thanks so much for your support.
I am Deepak and I am the chairman of People First. I like this rickshaw appeal. It fits in perfectly with our approach of self help by giving a helping hand so others can help themselves . I know you are aware of just how much poverty there is here in Bihar, these cycle rickshaws are not for those living below the poverty line to earn a little extra. They help for the necessities of life. BPL families earn only a very few dollars a day and so the extra they can earn with a cycle rickshaw helps a very great deal.
I will give you example, now is the big colorful festival of Holi here in Bihar. Just before the holiday the mother of one of the families came to see me to show her children in their brand new clothes. This is what she said to me,
"Before we had the rickshaw we couldn't really afford to buy new clothes for our children, this is the first festival we could, because we saved a little from our rickshaw money that we can do this. I just came to thank you".
But you should know kind friend and supporter , the children were dressed in new school uniform, because the extra money made education possible for her children.
I send her thanks onto you, and let's hope we can get just a little more so we buy another cycle rickshaw for another family.
Thank you all.
Please note- we will be re-designating this appeal as a micro project in the near future.
I am Arjun.
Thanks to People First I got my own rickshaw and no longer have to hire one every day. I am earning more than I expected. I realize it is the main season here in Bodhgaya, but I can provide much better food for my own family now
But its more than that.
People First don't just give us a rickshaw and forget us. I have received classes in basic English, this does increase my earnings because foreigners do give more. I ask only the going rate from them because that is only fair and we have received guidance about the right way to behave, but in their currency I think it is quite a small amount, and sometimes I get generous tips. One person gave me a whole 100 rupees extra , we had chicken in our dwelling that day!
But it is more than that, being your own boss, earning your own money, and now People First have told me they will pay half the cost of day education for my children in a good private school as long as I send my daughter as well as my son. This is the first time anybody received an education in my family, I hope this is a new beginning for all of us.
And it started with my rickshaw.
The following was based on an interview with Arjun and his comments are unedited . Arjun understands why we asked him to tell his story and he has given his full consent. For the record 100 rupees is one UK pound or a dollar and 40 cents. The cost of educating Arjun's children in day school comes to about fifteen dollars a month. from these figure i an sure you can appreciate just how far your money can go here in India, and just what a difference it can make to someone's life.
Thank you so much, and please accept our very best compliments of the season.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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