Our story is about making things better for people
Tailoring and Computer Skills Training
Through our tailoring and computer classes, young women are equipped with some basic skills for employment. This centre specifically reaches out to an untouchable section of the local community called ‘valmikies’. These people are the ‘untouchables’, the ones who do all the dirty work in the community like sweeping the roads, washing the toilets in houses and cleaning the filthy disease ridden and rat infested public toilets. These people earn just $2 (AUS) a week by picking up garbage every day and because of their work, they are not allow to enter the temples. They are not permitted to sit with, drink or eat food with more honourable people from the community. In Indian cities, towns and villages there is a separate area for the valmikie to live. This is where Amit visits most days and where one of our education centres is located. valmikie men, women and children are mostly uneducated, unskilled and live with little hope. Our computer and tailoring lessons will offer them the opportunity to learn and break the poverty and unemployment cycle that they live in. Amit and Daisy have worked hard to build trusting relationships with these beautiful people.
The valmikie children who attend our schools are educated, providing a further opportunity to break the chains of family poverty.
Providing practical help where it is needed
Over the years, we have also provided the following programs
Building slum and village toilets with the assistance of a government grant
Building shade structures at the education centres
Installation of solar panels at the education centres
NGO and police training
Providing resources for the local police
Providing media advice and information for publication
Handing out toothbrushes
Sanitary products and feminine hygiene items
Sports coaching for all children one day a week
Providing sports shoes for kids with no shoes
Provision of emergency supplies and clothing
Distributing kids' clothing from Australia
Community talks about domestic violence and respecting women
Anti-drug street rally
Our story is about making people’s lives larger
Leadership Training and our Youth Volunteer Team
We also seek to grow leadership in the slums and villages and to empower young men and women to grow their individual leadership capacity, skills and personal dispositions. The younger generation of leaders will be given a vision of hope for their family and their community as a whole. A holistic model aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty includes programs that target alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, mistreatment of children, health, hygiene, sports programs and youth work. Doug Thomas runs leadership seminars in Kotdwara, and our Youth Volunteer Team has spring-boarded from this.
Our story is also about making things fair and right for people who are hurting
A local police anti human-trafficking unit was established by government authorities in Kotdwara 2015. In October 2015, Amit and Doug spent time with the local unit establishing support for their programs and to offer our assistance. This offer was embraced and we have been able to provide them with some basic office facilities. Amit, Daisy and the local police unit now work together delivering education programs to the parents and children in the slums and villages, raising awareness of the sinister traps and dangers of human trafficking. Amit and Doug now meet regularly with the Anti Human-Trafficking Team, as well as with the Kotdwara Police Commissioner, to further grow our programs, and to provide support and assistance whenever we can help.
It is common for desperate parents in the villages and slums to sell their children into slavery and prostitution for as little as $50(US). These children may never be seen again. Our village education programs are making a difference and the local police are supported with basic resources and equipment. Amit also provides friendship, encouragement and guidance to the local authorities, whose work is difficult and challenging. In January 2016, two girls (aged 18 and 15) were rescued and late last year 6 others were saved, one was only 12 years old. 20 children and young people were directly helped in 2016.
Emergency accommodation assistance is also provided when the police identify and intercept a person and rescue him or her. Most often this is highly dangerous work and the victim is hidden safely until he or she can be taken to a hostel in another location away from Kotdwara.