Child Protection Updates

Village Parmawala kids

Village Parmawala kids

At ‘Project Help India’ we take our commitment to the safety of the children we work with very seriously. As an organisation it is our priority to;

 -       work towards keeping children in our community safe by developing programs and interventions aimed at reaching the vulnerable and children who are at risk of exploitation. When we identify individual girls or boys who are significantly at risk we will report this to the local police, in accordance with Indian Child Protection laws. If we identify adults who present a risk, or danger to the welfare of individual children, the organisation will also follow Indian laws to report these adults to authorities.

-       ensure that we have policy and procedures that guide our staff and volunteers as we work alongside the children who we care for. Strict policy guidelines ensure that all staff and volunteers act with transparency and behave a manner that promotes physical and psychological safety. ‘Project Help India’ expects the highest of standards of behaviour, of all staff, volunteers and people who represent the organisation.

‘Project Help India’ does not condone the corporal punishment of children who attend our education centres or other programs.

‘Project Help India’ strives to be a model of excellence in safety and care, not only to children, but to all staff, volunteers and others who represent our organisation.

‘The Hope’ Child Protection Policy is uploaded to www.projecthelpindia.co, to emphasise its importance and alignment with our organisation.

This month, the ‘Project Help India’ leadership team undertook training delivered by Mr Doug Thomas reviewing the Project Help India Child Protection policy and the expectations of the organisation. The Hope Child Protection Policy was also been explained to staff. At this meeting we discussed any concerns and potential risks. Teachers also attended a Child Protection training session which was also delivered by Mr Doug Thomas.

This training was well received by the staff who expressed their commitment to promoting safety across the organisation.

I've just got back from India - reflections and report

Kids at the ‘Project Help’ Education Centre at Jungle Village Bagwala.

Kids at the ‘Project Help’ Education Centre at Jungle Village Bagwala.

I have just got back from Kotdwara, Northern India, having spent an incredible two weeks, visiting our projects, getting involved in community initiatives, seeing old friends and making many new ones. The hospitality and warmth of the Indian people are always such a highlight... I wish you could experience this. If you’ve been following my adventure on Instagram @dougthomas you would have seen that I’ve been busy and productive. I’ve enjoyed great food, eaten too many Indian sweets, put on weight, relaxed quite a bit too, had lots of long chats with many opportunities for planning future initiatives as ‘Project Help India’ keeps growing, and moving forward.

Straight from the airport on my very first day I found myself as the official guest at an open-air community meeting of a couple of hundred people, put together by the Haridwar Police. Here I had to spontaneously speak to the crowd about discouraging their children from begging and why they should be going to school. I have visited our six Education Centres, assessed and worked alongside kids and their mums at our Disability Centre, preached at a church, presented leadership seminars to university students about suicide, I’ve met with police and the local media, attended two Project Help Annual Functions (kind of like a school speech day). I have trained our teachers, revised our Child Protection Policy and procedures with the Project Help team, bought lots of resources for classrooms and visited some people in need. I’ve also done quite a bit of real-estate hunting too and hope to pass on some really exciting news soon (say a prayer please) ...’Project Help’ might soon have a mortgage ...a fixed address, a centre for our administration and all our operations. It’s a house and land in the middle of town, close to all the action and central to where people in need can come for help and counselling, a peaceful garden, plus a classroom for our City Centre slum kids. 

It is such a privilege to sit alongside people and hear their story. I am always humbled by their trust and openness to share. Many ask me to pray for them. All of them just love the encouragement, company and friendship. They are empowered when you show sincere interest in who they are, that I would take time to visit and just want to sit with them. They basically have nothing but there’s always a chair, a chai, a smile, a laugh, a sweet biscuit and the essential selfie! Simple, honest, authentic conversations break down fear and misunderstanding, especially the walls created by religion. I’ve learnt that our differences are few. I continue to be surprised by how much we all have in common. If only we all had more time to listen and love one another as we do this thing called ‘life’ together. 

The personal circumstances of people living in poverty are really harrowing and it really takes it out of me. The emotions catch up with you when I’m not expecting. I’ve worked with kids with disabilities who have not been allowed to school for the first 8 years of their. One little chap, cognitively impaired, age 6, while his parents are working, has literally roamed the streets every day of his life by himself since he could walk -vulnerable and significantly at risk of exploitation. No wonder he now loves the warmth and safety of his teacher and delights in coming to school. He cries when he has to go home. Some of the other kids who attend our education centres have experienced horrendous things - a father recently murdered, mothers repeatedly beaten, husbands spending the family income on alcohol, floods washing away their house each year, abuse, malnutrition on a daily basis, chronic illness, street begging, denied an education because they must work to earn a few rupees for the family, or for fear of being stolen, raped or savaged by a wild animal as they walk to school along the jungle roadway. 

This sounds brutal and it is. It’s like a bottomless pit of suffering, one that gets bigger not smaller. Yes, there’s a cry for help but there is joy here. There’s also inspiring grit determination, perhaps contentment too. There’s a generosity of spirit, hospitality, warmth, and a deep expression of gratitude. There can also be suspicion by many too, so I have to have my wits about me, and be careful with my very word, the photos I take, and to have a local by my side most of the time. It’s not always safe and I go through gallons of hand sanitiser. 

I’m pleased to report that the many initiatives of ‘Project Help India’ are happening as reported. Things are growing and the trust and respect that we have in the community deepens. This week we also had an Australian Project Officer from the Entrust Foundation visit to inspect our work. Your tax deductible donation is banked through Entrust. Their due-diligence requires accountability on our part and I’m pleased to report that they were delighted with what they saw. 

Many people donate to Project Help. Thank you! Your generosity has enabled great things to happen. Lives are changed with people’s personal circumstances have been helped and touched by God’s love and blessing. These people have a tangible sense of hope and their kids are given opportunities for success and flourishing - all because of you. 

Thank you to the leaders of ‘Project Help India’, my dear friends, Amit and Daisy Samuel, and their kids Jasmine and Jonathan. They work tirelessly for others, making daily sacrifices, in the midst of your own suffering at times too. Amit and Daisy, you bring God’s goodness to all who know you, and to the wider community too. You are loved...especially by me. 

Doug

'Operation Freedom' - Rescuing Kids from labour and trafficking

Amit and the police team speaking to kids in Haridwar.

Amit and the police team speaking to kids in Haridwar.

“This is all about helping innocent children and giving them hope and a future”

The work of ‘Project Help India’ continues to gather momentum and grow in reputation and impact. Just this week our Project Director, Amit Samuel was contacted by the State of Utttrakand Director General of Police, with a request to join ‘Operation Freedom’ - to provide assistance and training to the police. This is an incredible honour, and reflects the fine reputation that Amit has earned as a community leader, and the growing credibility of our organisation. Amit has also led local efforts in speaking directly with children and providing direct interventions - rescuing, feeding, counselling and assisting the police as they return children to their homes. To be honest we are overwhelmed and so proud that authorities look to ‘Project Help India’ for help and guidance in tackling such a big issue. Perhaps this is just the beginning of taking the work of ‘Project Help India’ to yet another level. 

We thank our friends and supporters in Australia for making this possible. We couldn’t do it without you, so please be encouraged by the thought that you are making an incredible difference in the lives of some beautiful kids.

Amit (far right) with local police planning and training.

Amit (far right) with local police planning and training.




This is why we LOVE what we do

Back in April a team of us travelled to Kotdwara to present the SHINE Women's Empowerment Conference. It was incredible, and we certainly couldn't have done it without you. One of our team members created this fabulous short video which so brilliantly captures the experience. It also gives you a great snapshot in to the heart and soul of 'Project Help India'.

We are so pleased to share this with you. We hope it puts smile on your face and inspires you to keep up your support. Thank you so much for being part of the 'Project Help India' story. Every prayer and every dollar makes it possible for us to make someone's life better and happier.

Together we are changing the world.

Love the ‘Project Help India’ Team

It’s all happening in Kotdwara …and that’s just this week!

From the top:  Celebrating India's Independence Day at Village Village Kadarganj School and City Centre School; Anisha; and Sanjay with some of the young men of Village Parmawala.

From the top: Celebrating India's Independence Day at Village Village Kadarganj School and City Centre School; Anisha; and Sanjay with some of the young men of Village Parmawala.

Greetings from North India where just this week the ‘Project Help Team’ have been incredibly busy. The diversity of stories in this blog demonstrates what an extreme place Kotdwara is. We are delighted to share our progress with you, and we thank you from the bottom of our heart, for your kindness and generosity. So much is happening, and we are mindful that we could not impact the lives of people without your support …so thank you for connecting with our story. We are so humbled that ‘Project Help’ has grown in just a few years to be positioned in the midst of people’s celebrations, achievements, happiness, as well as their sadness and distress. This community is reaching out to us for help, we are touching people’s lives and we are making a difference.

Asha

Last week we reached out to you, to help Asha. Thank you to the people who were able to make a donation. We are thrilled to tell you that Asha has returned home from hospital. She is steadily recovering. There is still a long road ahead for her but ‘Project help India’ is checking in on her and the family daily.

Independence Day

This week each of our centres celebrated India’s Independence Day. We are teaching our students to work hard and to have a positive vision for their future. Through education and the changing of mindsets of those who live in poverty we are instilling a growth mindset in the way children understand their talents, abilities and value, and to believe for a hopeful and happy life. Together we work to build strong communities and a strong India. Our efforts this week were acknowledged in the local newspaper.

A significant achievement in Village Parmawala

Our teacher and community leader in Village Parmawala, Mr Sanjay Singh has had a remarkable impact in the lives of some of the local youth. Through counselling and mentoring, the young men of the village have committed to not drinking alcohol. Through empowering these men, they are also educating others, and have been working with the local police to make the entire village ‘alcohol free’. One of the goals of ‘Project Help India’ is to impact communities and bring about generational change. This achievement reflects the power of education and the building of trusted relationships. This is all incredibly exciting.

Introducing Anisha and Naveen

Aneesha is 10 years old and she really has a tough life. Rakhi her teacher at Parmawala brought this young girl and her sister Naveen (aged 8) to our attention. Becuase of poverty, these girls are at risk of significant harm due to the impact of alcohol and domestic violence. We are helping these girls through their access to a ‘Project Help’ education, however we are aware that there is not enough money in the family to provide for their very basic needs.  We would be delighted if anyone would like to reach out to sponsor this family at a cost of $25AUS a month. Contact us to let us know.

A Horrific Crime in Kotdwara

This week we were informed of a most distressing crime that occurred in Kotdwara.

“In the most barbaric incident of recent times, a serious crime of rape took place on 5 August 2019 in slum of Kotdwar. The police got the breakthrough when a family from Lakdipadao slum launched a missing complaint of their 10 yr old girl. According to police the girl was allegedly brutally murdered by two of her neighbours , Padam (28 yrs) and Ashok (31 yrs ). The two accused have been arrested. When the police interrogated on of the men he confessed to his crime. The body was found in a horrible state the cause of death was rape and suffocation. The body was in a decomposed condition as it was all eaten by pigs and stray dogs. This proves that the child faced the brutality. The incident had sparked a lot of outrage and left people shaken. They have become concerned about their children. Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB ) 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012 Out of these, 24,470 were commited by someone known to the viktim. 98% of cases. (Quoted from Project Help Officer’s email 15th August)

The victim of this most heinous of crimes, was not a student of our slum schools but her family lives in the same location. Our team has reached out to the family with gifts and emotional support. We pray that our love will provide some comfort in this terrible time. This incident has reminded us of the need to review our Child Protection programs in each of our schools, to give children strategies and awareness to protect themselves.

Our story is your story

These exciting initiatives have only been made possible because of the generosity and prayerful support of others. Can you believe that all of this has happened in just one week?

YOU CAN BE PART OF OUR STORY

1. Donate - Your tax deductible donation can be made Here

Ensure that you are donating to (WYG-IND-PHI-2019)

OR  if tax deductibility is not required, your EFT donation can be made at

BSB: 062 230 (Commonwealth Bank Randwick) 

Account: 1134 1909

Account Name: Project Help India

Please write your name in the reference section so we can thank you.

2. Share our Story - Please like and share this blog on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Thanks so much.

Love Doug and Rowena


Helping Asha - The Daily Scourge of Poverty (Pt 1)

Left:    Asha and her family in July, after a monsoon storm destroyed all of their belongings.     Right:    Asha this week in Bijnor Hospital (August)

Left: Asha and her family in July, after a monsoon storm destroyed all of their belongings.

Right: Asha this week in Bijnor Hospital (August)

The mission of ‘Project help India’ is simple – we help and care for people who live in extreme poverty. It is almost impossible to empathise and put ourselves in the shoes of those who suffer in this way. There is such a divide between us with all of our first-world comforts, and those who battle the challenges of having almost nothing each and every day. So many of their problems could be solved and difficult situations changed, simply with the equivalent of what we would spend on a daily cup of coffee. Poverty breeds poverty. It is an ugly, vicious cycle.

Yet we do make a difference.

Asha lives with her husband Sher Singh, and their 4 children in the Kotdwara slums. She is a kind and generous woman who has opened her home and shared her limited resources to support ‘Project Help’. Over the years, despite having nothing herself, Asha has made it possible for us to care for the many people, especially children, who live in her neighbourhood. Asha and Sher are saints. Despite the hardships they endure, they make sacrifices for others. Just a few years ago, they even suggested that ‘Project Help’ might build a public toilet block that would have taken up the entirety of their tiny courtyard, a metre from their back door. We didn’t go ahead with this because it would have compromised their health and safety.

Asha and Sher truly live out the Bible verse that commands us to love our neighbours.

Now it is our turn to help Asha. Just two weeks ago, we received the news that only just a few weeks after her home was destroyed by the monsoon, she had a massive heart attack. Hearing this news, ‘Project Help’ was able to jump into action and immediately transfer some funds to India. This saved her life because she was transferred to a hospital in Bijnor where she received specialist medical help. Additionally, last week, we were incredibly grateful to some of our amazing Australian supporters who this week donated $1000 which was needed to provide the ongoing help that Asha needs.

Amit, our Project Director sent me this report this week.

This is Asha. She is one of our Cooking staff in Slums Center and she also lives in slums. This week she had a heart stroke and immediately we the Project Help sent her to a specialist heart hospital. Her treatment is going on from later 5 days and doctors said that her on of the heart valve is blocked and they did the angioplasty. But unfortunately the cost of this treatment is very high price @80,000 approximately with hospital charges, medicine, etc.

The family of Asha is very very poor. They earn every day 200 Indian rupee ($4AUS) that means 6,000 rupee ($120AUS) per month. In Asha’s family there are 6 members all together with children. Last month this family went through a big problem too. As because of the heavy rain their wooden and plastic sheet roof fell down and they lost their everything like clothes, mattresses,  bed, tv, fan, eatable things etc. In this case Project Help helped them with money as most of you our friends from Australia send help to us.

Now these days once again Asha and whole family going through with big difficulty as they are helpless to pay this big amount. They are looking forward for a generous help. We have to pay for Asha within a week so I kindly urge for your generous help .

May God Bless every one of you.

Asha remains in a critical condition and she continues to fight for her life. Might you be able to make a donation? You can have confidence knowing that your kindness and generosity will make a difference. You may never meet Asha and her family but these wonderful people are connected to you through the story that we share together through ‘Project Help’. They send their love and gratitude.  

YOU CAN BE PART OF OUR STORY

1. Donate - Your tax deductible donation can be made Here

Ensure that you are donating to (WYG-IND-PHI-2019)

OR  if tax deductibility is not required, your EFT donation can be made at

BSB: 062 230 (Commonwealth Bank Randwick) 

Account: 1134 1909

Account Name: Project Help India

Please write ‘Asha’ and your name in the reference section so we can thank you.

2. Share our Story - Please like and share this blog on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Thanks so much.

Extreme living - Extreme action (July in pictures)

Aman'sFamilyJuly19.jpg

Life in India is full of extremes, and just this month in July we have seen the harsh impact of this. Only a few weeks ago, the temperature in Kotdwara was over fifty degrees. Since then, we have been deluged with the extreme rain from the seasonal monsoon. Each day we come face to face with the impact of extreme poverty. Sickness and death is a reality of life and whilst it’s easy to get ‘used’ to this, our mission and projects focus on combating poverty. We will not settle for accepting this, knowing that our efforts can have significant impact in the lives of children, families and communities.

Check out our photo gallery to see just how much has been achieved. It’s amazing! Just in this month of July, the work of ‘Project Help India’ continues with purpose and momentum as we provide opportunities for;

- improving children’s health and nutrition

- education and learning

- social work and counselling

- emergency crisis care

- creating community and a sense of belonging

- environmental responsibility

- community impact through drug awareness

- individual lives changed

- a brighter tomorrow and hope for the future

- experiencing God’s love

Thank you to all of our supporters. It is simply because of your generosity that all of this is possible.

We thank our teams in Kotdwara and Bijnor for their tireless work. ‘Project Help India’ has 14 paid staff. We honour their innovation, problem solving, determination, sacrificial efforts, care and compassion.  What you have achieved in just these past 4 weeks is truly remarkable. We love you!

Double click the photos below to learn about and connect with the story.

20 children - their lives rescued from a horrendous future

Our Director, Mr Amit Samuel, receiving an award of commendation for community service from the local police, and a (not so good) selfie of Doug and some of the police in April.

Our Director, Mr Amit Samuel, receiving an award of commendation for community service from the local police, and a (not so good) selfie of Doug and some of the police in April.

With just 2 weeks until tax time, we wanted to thank you for the support you have given ‘Project Help India’ over the past financial year. We want to remind you of the difference you’re making in the lives of so many people. Thanks to your generosity we are helping the local Kotdwara police save children from a life of slavery and misery.

We are writing to ask if you would please consider making a tax-deductible donation prior to the 30th June to help maintain our projects, and to help us grow, expand and maximise our impact.

It is estimated that approximately 80 000 children go missing in India every year. This tragic statistic represents lives and families torn apart. This represents children living in fear, shame, bondage, slavery and incredible danger. Living in poverty is one of the reasons for this. In slums and remote villages in the Himalayas, here in the state of Uttarakhand, we hear stories of families who are duped into believing false promises of a better life for their kids. These parents may sell their child for as little as $50US thinking that they will be living and working in another town, or living with a rich family that is taking good care of them. Some teens win ‘talent’ competitions thinking that they are heading to Mumbai to claim their Bollywood, prize. Children, sometimes only 8 years old, are usually sold into non-existent jobs and later sold for sexual exploitation, sham marriages or some form of child labour. It’s an understatement to say that these children will be scared for life, that’s if they live beyond their teen years.

There are more modern-day slaves living in India than anywhere else on Earth. 

At ‘Project Help India’ we have the incredible opportunity to work alongside the local Anti-Human Trafficking Police Team. This small team of inspiring men and women work hard to protect children who are victims of the most insidious of crimes. ‘Project Help India’ assist the police with the counselling of victims, delivering community training and providing information seminars to parents in villages and to students at their school. We have also provided some office resources, such as printers and a data projector to help the police team in their day to day admin tasks and duties.

20 children rescued just this year!
Recently in April, the Superintendent told us that they had been successful in rescuing 20 children between January and April. The help that we give is not big, but it makes a difference. The police acknowledge and thank us for the support and encouragement we bring. They are always incredibly grateful and appreciative.

According to the 2016 National Crime Records Bureau of India 33,855 people were kidnapped or abducted for the purpose of marriage. Half were under the age of 18.

According to the Global Slavery Index, 14.2 million of the 35.8 million people enslaved throughout the world are in India. 

Thank you for your financial support of ‘Project help India’ – your donation has contributed to some very good news stories. We may not see any short-term solutions to this disgraceful injustice, but 20 children rescued is such a wonderful outcome.

“Human trafficking and modern slavery destroy lives. They are terrible abuses of human rights, shamefully robbing people of their dignity, causing total misery to the victims, their families and our communities. We all need to work together to stop it.” (The Guardian, 11th August, 2018)

OR  if tax deductibility is not required, your EFT donation can be made at

BSB: 062 230 (Commonwealth Bank Randwick) 

Account: 1134 1909

Account Name: Project Help India

Write your name in the reference section so we can thank you.

About 'Project Help India'

Our mission is to bring love, hope, dignity and purpose to the poor in Kotdwara and Bijnor, India. Our vision is to focus on education, nutrition, health and human rights, so that individual lives are impacted, empowered and restored. We seek to bring about community change and generational transformation. Project Help India seeks to grow in its impact and influence in the lives of people and communities, with a goal to ultimately expand into other towns and places of need. If you did not catch up with all we achieved over the past 12 months, here is a link to our most recent 2018 Annual Report. Please spread the word to someone who you think might like to make a donation.

With love and gratitude,

Doug and the Project Help Team.