The 2019-2020 ODW-USA Charity Project of the Year: The Preschool Creches Project in INDIA: Laying a Foundation for Success
Name of Project: The Preschool Project in India: Laying a Foundation for Success
Name of U.S. PVO: Help Kids India, Inc. (HKI)
Address: P.O. Box 1022, East Corinth, VT, 05040 USA
Contact Person: Catherine Kidder
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Site in Country: Two rural areas (Kodaikanal and Porayar), Tamil Nadu, South India
Collaborating Organization: Betsy Elizabeth Trust (BET)
Project Director:Hilda Isaac, BET Managing Director (India)
Project Start and End Dates: January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 (project is ongoing)
Please provide a brief background of your organization. The preschools, or crèches as they’re called in India, began in the 1990’s with a visionary and courageous group of Indian women. They saw how poverty was crushing their community, especially the children, and realized that the best hope of change lay in their young children. Against huge odds, they opened the first crèche, an intervention program to halt the creeping hopelessness of poverty. The crèche answered some overwhelming needs–for safety, nutrition, hygiene, health care, clothing, socialization, play, and early education. The Betsy Elizabeth Trust (BET), an Indian nonprofit, grew in response to community need: within a few years one crèche expanded into five preschools for 270 children–most from the Dalit (“Untouchables”) Caste of India.
Help Kids India (HKI) was founded in 2008 as the US funding arm. Our roles are separate–HKI supplies funding and BET operates the preschools–but we are united in our commitment to the children of the poor. Providing quality care and education in the early years has a powerful impact on how children learn and develop, despite the circumstances in which they currently live. Their chances to enjoy individual fulfillment and economic success are increased, benefitting the whole community.
Please provide any collaborative history between the developing country partner NGO and your organization. Mrs. Hilda Isaac, BET’s managing director, worked with an American teacher, Betsy Dailey, to open the first school. That connection grew into Help Kids India. The HKI board, their families and friends, visit the crèches regularly. We’ve helped to build the schools, started a health center for a school and its community, provided training for staff, developed projects (smokeless stoves, a sewing project for mothers’ income, the Sunday Food Project to get rice to families when there is no school). We’ve built playgrounds, started libraries, and given needed sleeping mats, blankets, sweaters, and art supplies. HKI board members lead bi-annual student service trips from the St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont to work (and play) at the schools. BET and HKI are united by a long history of friendship and shared purpose. More formally, we operate under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), detailing our respective functions and obligations.
Project Goal. HKI’s Preschool Project is on-going. We provide the full operating expenses for three of BET’s preschools. HKI is a small, all-volunteer organization without big donors. Our goal for this grant is to build financial stability: BET needs to be confident that the funding will be available in full for the next school year. This grant will help achieve that.
Our joint mission is to end generational poverty by concentrating resources on young children in ways that empower them educationally, economically, and socially. When a child’s environment provides the opportunity for physical, cognitive, social and emotional development, it will impact his or her entire life for the better; it is the foundation for success. Our project objectives are:
PROJECT BACKGROUND/RATIONALE – Specific needs/opportunities the project addresses
Crèche families are Dalits, historically the lowest, most-reviled position in Indian society. Unskilled, without land, and marginally literate, parents are day laborers in agriculture or construction. Intense physical labor may earn them a few dollars a day but often there is no work. They live in one-room grass or mud huts with dirt floors and no plumbing. Many are in debt bondage to money lenders. Besides the daily struggle for food, they lack adequate shelter against heat, cold, or monsoon, clothing, health care, clean water, latrines, and child care. Parents, especially fathers, may suffer from depression or alcoholism; abandonment, abuse and suicide are not uncommon. A death, storm, drought, illness or accident can mean disaster where there is no safety net. It’s a life of overwhelming, debilitating struggle.
Who will benefit from this project? 170 Children: 50 children attend Little Lilies Preschool. At 7,000 feet, this scenic, rural area is being bought up by the wealthy for vacation homes. Local families exist at the margins. The other two preschools, Helping Hearts and the Good Shepherd, serve 50 and 70 children respectively. They are in a rural area on India’s east coast. As Dalits their families own no land. Poverty was exacerbated by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2008 when 800 people died and salt water ruined crop land. Climate change is making extreme heat, droughts, water shortages, and severe cyclones annual events. Boys and girls are in roughly equal number and there is no religious bias.
35 Staff: the schools employ 35 staff, almost all female. Most women’s work is relegated to house work for the wealthy or coolie work (carrying loads), but a position at the schools is highly respected. In many families crèche staff are the chief earner and most have been at their schools since they opened. Their attachment to each other and their deep knowledge of their students’ backgrounds and the community is invaluable.
How will they benefit from this project? Education is the only road out of poverty for crèche communities. At BET preschools, children escape the ravages of poverty. Free from the stress of hunger and poor health, children discover a real childhood at the crèches. Adult graduates recall the overwhelming feeling of security and stability at school, of freedom to learn, to play, and to grasp the world of possibility outside the confines of poverty.
Without the BET preschools these 170 children would be stunted physically, socially and intellectually. The crèches are intervention programs: at age six, crèche graduates enter first grade equipped to succeed. They know how to get along in a group. They practice good hygiene, they’re comfortable speaking and performing in front of people; and they have modeled and taught all this to the younger children. They have a sound preschool base in math, literacy and science. Crèche teachers have instilled a crucial combination of confidence, responsibility, and hope in them. Crèche graduates have a laser focus on education, they know it’s their only road forward and are determined to walk it.
An ODW grant would help ensure sustainable funding for these schools, for staff salaries, and for the service given freely to children, their families, and their community.
How will the beneficiaries be involved in the planning and implementation of the project?As an ongoing project, BET operates its schools independently of HKI, in accordance with Indian law and educational requirements. HKI’s responsibility rests in providing funds and seeing that they are spent as intended by our donors and in the Memorandum of Understanding.
What specific activities will you carry out to accomplish the objectives of your project? (Describe the major activities, including proposed completion dates for each, where, with whom, etc.) BET’s crèches hold school six days a week, 8 am-4 pm, June 1 to April 30, following the same daily schedule and curriculum. As children arrive in the morning they play until breakfast, followed by brushing teeth and yoga. During academic time, small groups by developmental age meet with their teacher. Following this sitting-down are outdoor games and play. After lunch, the main meal of the day, children take a long nap (it can be difficult to sleep at home). They wake up to a snack of fruit and milk. Art and music activities and more play complete the day.
The 2018-2019 ODW-USA Charity Project of the Year: THE KENYAN SCHOOL HOUSE PROJECT
Name of Project: The Kenyan School House Project
Name of U.S. PVO: Media Voices for Children
Project Site in Country Nairobi and surrounding areas in Kenya, Shivagala, Kisumu
Collaborating Organizations: African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN)
Project Director: Dr Rebecca Nyonyintono (Uganda)
Project Goal: Our goal is to make secondary education accessible to children whose financial and family circumstances would otherwise prohibit it. Our students are former child laborers, young girls escaping early marriage, female genital mutilation or other tribal, cultural practices. All of our students are from extremely poor families; many are orphaned or have spent time on the streets.
ODW-USA will raise this school year and donate $10,000 US and forward them to ANPPCAN. ANPPCAN selects the children, manages the program, pays the fees and maintains the relationships with the students, families and schools.
There is an inexhaustible need for a program of this kind in Kenya. Four million children are out of school and secondary school is out of reach for poor families. The global financial crisis has worsened the circumstances and there’s more poverty and hunger than ever.
In September 2011, on our first day in Kenya to film The Same Heart, we went to Kenyatta University where we met four young men we’ve put through 7 to 10 years of school each. They had won scholarships. One of them said to me, ” You don’t remember me, but I remember the first day you came to the coffee plantation to film. I was picking coffee. I was ten years old.”
So, I suppose that this anecdote summarizes our best hope for this program. We want to allow these young people to empower themselves and transform their lives, their families and their communities through education.
The program directly addresses the financial barriers to attending secondary school for young Kenyans. It focuses especially on young women who also have cultural limitations. It’s a small-bore model program that we also publicize through Media Voices for Children so that the general public, students and policy makers can see what we’re learning.
Who will benefit from this project? The children are all Kenyan and they come from every part of the country. This is a secondary school program. The students must have completed primary school, although we do provide remedial work/programs for students who have lost too much schooling due to child labor or time on the streets. At the moment, we are supporting 10 girls and 12 boys. We also support a sewing workshop for vocational training, and the continuing education of a Masters degree candidate, Geoffrey Bakhuya, who is working with Doctors Without Borders in Tanzania.
How will they benefit from this project? In the short term, we remove the children from slum living conditions and place the majority of them in boarding schools so that they have the maximum opportunity to focus on their education. ANPPCAN tracks the academic and social progress of each child with on-site visits. Children are well fed and have their medical needs tended to. We provide for transportation home over holidays to visit family.
Often, our young people are the first in their families to attend secondary school. They become role models for their siblings and within their communities. The educations they receive remove them from the plantations and worst forms of child labor and make employment in the formal sector of the Kenyan economy a real possibility.
In the sixteen years we have been funding the Kenyan Schoolhouse program, close to a thousand children have been educated as a result and some have done very well. Sophie Omutanyi recently forwarded a link to “Great Debaters” on Kenyan TV, in which one of our kids, Elvis Omollo, was the winner.
The 2018 ODW-USA Charity Project of the Year: The AFCA Greenhouse Work Project for Girls in Zimbabwe
“Kids talking to me on the phone, congratulating us on being the ODW recipient again. Me…crying quietly with gratitude… “Yes, this will be a gorgeous greenhouse, benefiting girls who are AIDS orphans and who became victims of rape. It will be life-changing, for sure and there is no question that ODW-USA kids are changing the world. “…I am doubly grateful for being part of your ODW world. Thank you ODW for teaching children to care for one another and for the stranger in their world.” Tanya Weaver, Exec. Dir. AFCA
Name of Project: Greenhouse Work Program for Girls
Name of U.S. PVO: American Foundation for Children with AIDS
Project Site in Country (Where implemented): Zimbabwe
Collaborating Organizations: Sandra Jones Centre
Project Director: Tanya Weaver and Deborah Brennocks
Project Start and End Dates: July 2018 – December 2018
The Sandra Jones Centre (SJC) is a home for orphans and abandoned babies and children in crisis in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. They have been operating for over 10 years and over 900 children have passed through their care.
Project Goal: This program will contribute to the livelihood security for OVCs (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) in Zimbabwe through the expansion of our Greenhouse Work Program. Our goal for 2018 is to provide a large greenhouse to be used as a training ground and vegetable growing facility to benefit girls infected and/or affected by AIDS. We’ll provide oversight of the project.
Our request to ODW is to provide the funding needed to purchase and install a 8M x 31.5M greenhouse in Zimbabwe. A water tank, drip irrigation, all hardware, transportation and installation are included in the request. With our goal to make the Sandra Jones Centre self-sustaining, the addition of this greenhouse will take them one step closer to realizing this dream.
Statistics show that in Zimbabwe, thousands of children will spend the night in fear of abuse, sexual molestation by family members or guardians, while others will be selling their bodies in forced prostitution. One in every three girls in Zimbabwe will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. For girls who have been orphaned by AIDS, this statistic is even more dire. In fact, the girls who live at the SJC have lost their parents to the AIDS pandemic, only to find themselves being abused by their caregivers. Many arrive at the center pregnant and hopeless.
SJC and AFCA share the common belief that the girls need to learn valuable skills that can take them through a lifetime as mothers and adults, while ensuring the center becomes self-sufficient, not needing donations from external sources. The greenhouse work program allows the girls to learn farming, gardening, cooking, and sales skills while providing the center with good, nutritious food, which is needed by all growing children and especially by those affected by HIV. It also removes some of the cost of feeding the children at the center.
When the girls sell produce to the local markets (individuals and/or restaurants), their 50% portion is placed in a bank account for the day they leave the center, while the other half is used to maintain the greenhouse, for water payments, seeds, fertilizers and other needs. Girls learn further responsibility by paying for lost boots, gloves, or coveralls through their earnings. It is amazing how quickly items ceased to be lost once that rule was instituted!
Who will benefit from this project? Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) between 12 and 18 years of age in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe are the direct beneficiaries of this project. For this project, the beneficiaries will all be girls who have been orphaned by AIDS and also abused/raped by their guardians. One thing of mention is that girls do not have to leave the center once the turn 18, unlike most other orphanages and children’s homes. They only leave the center when they are ready to fend for themselves and their child, if applicable.
How will they benefit from this project? This project has three distinct benefits for the girls: 1. They will receive training in farming, including: preparation of land, mulching, planting, harvesting, packaging, sales, and conservation/preparation of food. 2. They will be providing vegetables for the center where they live, and 3. They will also be growing bank accounts so that when their time at the center is over, they will have savings available to start their new lives. It is expected that there will not be any need for additional financial inflow to support beneficiaries of this livelihood project. An SJC volunteer network will continue to work with these girls to ensure that benefits that are accrued are sustained.
The 2017 ODW-USA Charity of the Year: The Livelihoods Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
selected by secret ballot vote in November 2016 after intense scrutiny, debate and research by the 2016-2017 student members of Operation Day’s Work-USA.
Name of Project: Livelihoods Projects – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Name of U.S. PVO: American Foundation for Children with AIDS
E-mail Address: tweaver@AFCAids.org
Project Site in Country (Where implemented): Democratic Republic of Congo
Collaborating Organizations: Elikya Center
Project Director: Tanya Weaver
Project Start and End Dates: June 2017 – December 2017
Amount Awarded: $10,000
Project Goal: This program will contribute to the livelihood security for OVCs in DRCongo, Uganda and Zimbabwe through the expansion of our Livelihoods Program. Our goal for 2017 is to provide small livestock, vet kits, gardening tools, seeds, transportation, training and water filters to 115 additional families. We’ll also provide oversight of the project.
Our request to ODW is to help with a portion of the overall project taking place in Tandala, DRC: goat distribution for 8 families, sheep distribution to 8 families, pig distribution to 4 families, and bean seed distribution for 20 families. This grant will also purchase and deliver 1 water filter to each family, immediately providing clean water for beneficiary families, keeping them out of the hospital for issues including diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, etc. The above will enhance sustainable livelihoods for the 20 targeted orphan households by Dec. 2017.
Who will benefit from this project? Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) under 18 years of age in Tandala, DRCongo are the direct beneficiaries of this project. The following families are eligible for selection: Child headed households
How will they benefit from this project? The program is expected to enhance food security of OVCs. One impact of this livelihoods intervention will be to improve the nutritional status of beneficiaries, which is sorely deficient at present. The training and distribution of small livestock strengthens the capacity of the OVCs to produce food and earn incomes. This is expected to have impact of releasing other resources to take care of their educational and health needs. It reduces or eliminates their dependence on food aid, as well. Children can drink milk immediately upon receipt of pregnant goats and sheep, helping them grow healthier quickly.
In the area of training, skills imparted to direct beneficiaries will trickle down to other unintended beneficiaries in communities, either through observation or through the deliberate sharing of experiences and knowledge.
The major benefit of this project is the capacity that is developed in orphan households to sustain their own livelihoods. Once this capacity is built, it enables the targeted beneficiaries to stand on their own feet and meet their needs. It is expected that there will not be any need for additional financial inflow to support beneficiaries of this livelihood support initiative. A volunteer network will continue to work with these households to ensure that benefits that are accrued are sustained.
Project Background/Rationale: DRCongo, a vast country with immense economic resources, has until recently been at the center of what some observers call “Africa’s world war”, with widespread civilian suffering the result. The war has claimed up to six million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. This has affected everyone in the country, but as usual, the children are the ones who suffer the most. For the country’s orphans, who make up roughly 15 per cent of the under-18 population, life can be even harder than for most. There are an estimated 350,000 AIDS orphans in DRCongo.
These children lack the resources to break the cycle of poverty and the government under which they live has not supported them in this regard. With our help, I am confident that bit by bit, we can change communities by providing help, support, and skills training which will allow them to grow up as confident and self-sufficient adults.
What results do you anticipate from this project?
Children/guardians who complete the program will be able to pay for school fees, food, medicine and other needs once their herds reach capacity and the children start bartering or selling animals
The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) is a non-profit organization providing critical comprehensive services to infected and affected HIV+ children and their caregivers. Our programs are efficient, promoting self-reliance and sustainability. Since 2005, in collaboration with our in-country partners, we have served tens of thousands of families in some of the most underserved and marginalized communities in Africa. Our areas of impact include: medical support, livelihoods, educational support and emergency relief. AFCA is transforming lives in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRCongo).
2015-2016 Annual Project: Alliance for Children Foundation- Haiti
Project Goal: The goal of this project is to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children in Kenscoff, where we have worked for 5 years. This will include sustaining our feeding and tuition programs for the 45 children in the under resourced orphanage. In addition, we have recently hired five qualified teachers to lead daytime programs for preschoolers and after-school programs. Our goal is to train them in the Matènwa model of education, bringing the vital extra support needed to ensure these vulnerable children do not slip through the cracks.
Project Objectives: that support your goal: The objective of this project is to provide children with the essential needs and skills necessary to survive, including food, access to school, and literacy. We’ve added creative programming which brings music, dance and story-writing to the repertoire. Our aim is to increase children’s confidence and self-esteem and to encourage them reach their potential.
Project Background/Rationale: The youth in Haiti don’t have a chance to break the cycle of poverty and child slavery if they do not have access to strong educational programs, or learn the skills necessary to support themselves. This project could change individual lives, create new leaders, and transform future of the country of Haiti, starting with the children!
What specific activities will you carry out to accomplish the objectives of your project?
Bonnie, Director of The Alliance for Children Foundation addresses ODW-USA members
ODW-USA meets the 2016 ODW Charity of the Year: the Alliance for Children Foundation. The specific project is to help educate 80 orphans in school in Kenscoff, Haiti.
2014-2015 Annual Project: American Foundation for Children Affected by AIDS
This program will contribute to the livelihood security for Orphaned and/or Vulnerable Children in Zimbabwe through the expansion of our Livelihoods Program. Our goal for 2015 is to provide goats, rabbits, guinea fowl, chickens, vet kits, and rabbit pellets to 286 families. We’ll also provide seeds, porridge, transportation, training, and oversight of the project.
ODW will help by funding this portion of the overall project: chicken distribution for 20 families, rabbit distribution to 11 families, goat distribution to 5 families, small stock management training for 36 families, basic veterinary training for 36 families, gardening in arid areas training for 36 families, along with 2 new veterinary kits for the community. Transportation and delivery of the livestock is included in this proposal, as are vaccinations for all the animals, pellets for rabbits and porridge for the beneficiaries. This grant will also purchase and deliver 1 buck which is cared for by the community in order to control reproduction and cross breeding. The above will enhance sustainable livelihoods for the 36 targeted orphan households by Dec. 2015.
Zimbabwe has an estimated 1 million orphans due to the HIV/AIDS crisis. The government, through the Department of Social Services, negated its role over the past 17 years of being the main source of assistance to the poor and due to inadequate policies, has led to it being virtually broke. This has come at a time when HIV/AIDS is wreaking havoc among families resulting in one or both parents succumbing to the disease. HIV/AIDS, poverty and economic collapse has severely weakened the extended family which has traditionally played a vital role of being the natural caregiver of the orphaned child. Moreover, the sheer numbers of AIDS orphans have overwhelmed other support services that usually played a complimentary role in orphan care. These children now face hunger, lack of education and lack of health care. Livelihoods projects are proven to excel and bring hope and help in this type of situations.
Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) under 18 years of age in Zimbabwe are the direct beneficiaries of this project. The following families are eligible for selection: