Organizations we support (2010):
Sakya Hostel (Visuddaloka Welfare Association), Chenna, Tamilnadu:
Houses 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami orphaned children- both boys and girls of different ages. It has been run by Mr Jagan and his team of dedicated staff. We have been helping it for a few years. During my last year’s India visit, I visited the hostel and interacted with the children and staff. It has been running in a very congenial atmosphere imparting academic, moral, and physical education. Our help is very small when compared to the need. Prof Shiva Shankar, Vice-president, FFEI-India always interacts with the staff and students and look at their needs.
We increased the number of scholarships from 10 to 15 this year.
Janodayam Social Education Center, Chennai:
This organization has been run by a Mr Israel, a dynamic individual with lot of energy and dreams. When I met him last year, I was thrilled to listen to all that he had been doing for the children from scavenging communities. He took me to several slums in Chennai to show me the situation of people living there. He also arranged a meeting with the parents of all the children under his care. It was a memorable event. We are supporting 10 students through Janodayam.
Premalaya Social Development Society, Chennai:
Mr Israel introduced me Mr Isaiah, who had been running Premalaya. He was kind to be with me all day while I was visiting our projects in and around Chennai guiding me and explaining me what he had been doing in his own way. He explained me his plans of starting a tailoring institute and how it will be beneficial to many (especially women) in his area. I couldn’t promise anything as I was not sure of the funding then. We allotted Rs.15,000 for Tailoring infrastructure and Rs.25,000 (for 5 students) towards the care of students under his care.
Jane Mission Trust, Bangalore:
Dr Sarathy, the man behind Jame Mission Trust was also introduced by Mr Israel. He is working among the children from scavenging communities in Bangalore. When I visited India last year, I tried to meet him at Bangalore, but unfortunately he was away abroad. We increased scholarships from 7 to 10 this year.
DMC Home, Orissa:
Mr Wilson, in-charge of DMC home, an orphanage is introduced by Mr P V V Rao, Secretary of FFEI,India. I didn’t have an opportunity to talk to him or meet him person. We increased scholarships from 5 to 10 this year.
Social Development Forum, Uttar Pradesh:
Mr Vidya Bhushan Rawat, a well known personality in Ambedkarite movement is a journalist, activist, film maker, and runs Social Development Forum in Uttar Pradesh among Mushahar and scavenging community. He had been running schools and support several children. I am fortunate to meet him in person when in India and have a prolonged conversation on various issues. We are giving 13 scholarships this year.
Social Welfare Girls’ School, Vinukonda:
One of my cousins (Ms Vijaya Kumari) is vice-principal of this Social Welfare School run by Government of Andhra Pradesh. When I expressed my desire to see her school and meet her students, she took me there and gave me an opportunity to interact with them. This is a residential school for very poor Dalit girls from the surrounding villages. Classrooms serve both purposes of leaning and accommodation. I saw several small iron boxes neatly arranged along the walls of the classroom. I was told that they contain their belongings – cloths and other essentials these girls needed. They get education during the day and sleep during the night in these classrooms. But, what about their academic record? My sister showed me their academic reports and accomplishments during the years. I was stunned. These girls are brilliant. When my sister asked me to address them, I did. I was surprised by their knowledge both academic as well as the world. They know what was happening in America and around the world. They asked me many questions on issues that I never thought they are aware of. Interacting with them was one of the greatest things that happened during my visit to India. At the end, my sister told me about the lack of infrastructure and books. I told her I will give it a thought.
Though their need is so great and worthy, we allotted Rs.10,000 to buy books they need very badly.
St Marks Luthern College, Chirala:
One of my relatives works as a librarian in this college that was started in 1982 by Dalit employees in the area with donations. I was told that they first started a library and then developed it as a college catering around 200 students, mostly Dalit students in the area. The college got the government recognition in 1990. I was told that the students in this college are very poor and do odd jobs while studying. Though government helps them with fee, it doesn’t supply books needed. Currently, books are bought with donated money and allow them to be borrowed by students from Library. In our conversation, my relative asked me if there is any way to get help for buying books for library. Again, I didn’t promise anything then. We are allocating Rs. 20,000 to buy books for the library.
My uncle, 70+, helps me in microloans project in Chilakaluripeta, Guntur District. When I visited him to see the project, he took me to an orphanage near his home. It is run by a middle aged woman whose husband works as a teacher in US. According to her, they look for runaway children in bus stations and railway stations, bring them to orphanage, provide them food, shelter, and education. When I visited the place, there were around 50 children ages ranging from 5 to 10 years and all are looked well taken care of. She supports them with the money sent by her husband, donations from individuals in cash and kind - some with groceries, some books, some clothes etc. I liked the work they have been doing.
We allotted Rs.10,000 towards its day to day expenses.