In another part of my non-blogging life I’ve been looking through some photos from India sent from the charity project that I support, as I’ll be off to visit this part of India in the next few days. I’ll be visiting Father Pratap, a parish priest who I have known for some years, who visited my church in Bristol last year to make appeals for a new well at the childrens’ hostel that he runs. The hostel was relying on the goodwell of a neighbour for their water supply and with growing numbers of children this was not sustainable, so an independent water supply was required.
Less than a year later and the bore well has been dug with the money that was raised during that visit and there was also enough left over to repaint the hostel, buy some tables and chairs and give all the children a new school uniform.
The hostel is there to provide a place close to the school for children to stay in term time, because they live in villages that are too far to walk to school in one day. Because of the hostel these children can get an education, even in remote rural areas of Andhra Pradesh, in the centre of India. Parents will pay for their children’s costs if they can, but if they can’t afford this the parish will cover the cost. If the money can’t be found, these children would probably be staying at home or working in the fields or stone quarries alongside their parents. When you earn around £1 a day as an agricultural labourer, as many of these parents do, there isn’t a whole lot to spare.
Father Pratap was born in this part of India and has spent his life as a parish priest trying to improve the lives of the communities where he serves, channelling funding from donors outside India into various projects such as water towers, wells, new houses and childrens’ education. Although the Catholic diocese oversees the hostels and schools, they offer places to children of all faiths and Muslims and Hindus are equally welcome.
The two hostels that Father Pratap oversees house 75 girls and 40 boys and these particular hostels are like orphanages for children whose parents are really too poor to contribute anything for their upkeep and where one or more parent is deceased or absent. I’ll be visiting and staying in this village and visiting these hostels next week and reporting back to you on my experiences.
There are many more projects in the pipeline that Father Pratap would love to put in place that would improve the lives of these children and these villages. One idea that he has it to organise a 2 day school trip for these poorest hostel children to the nearest city of Hyderabad, to see some of the cultural sights and give them a glimpse of what the world is like outside their own small village. As a traveller, I’d love to help these children broaden their horizons and inspire them to see what opportunities their education might open up, to bring themselves and their families out of poverty. If you’d like to help me to give the children this school trip, then please do make a donation, however small through the special charity paypal account that I have set up – the Donate Button is below or you can follow this link or donate directly via Paypal to [email protected] Thankyou.
PS If you donate while I’m travelling in India or while I’m still writing about it after the trip, I’ll be sure to thank you personally on my blog or on my Facebook page or Twitter stream, if you’re able to support in any way, however small.
The money that is donated to support this project in India is channelled through the charity that I set up for this purpose and of which I am a trustee. It is Families Initiative For India (F.I.F.I) which is a UK Registered Charity – Charity No 1093565
Read about my last trip to India
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