Our work here is done
To the wonderful donors, my friends,
I am incredibly grateful for all the kindness everyone has shown me in this venture, the faith, trust and generosity is incredibly humbling and it will never be forgotten. It is not just another "you are changing lives" slogan, this time it is 100% the truth. We have changed more lives than we will ever know, in desperate times your contribution has made someones day, their year, their life. So Thank you!
After ten years of working with this small community in Faridabad, Delhi, our work there is done as we have set up the projects we planned and more! We will now slowly withdraw our position and funding as the SCIP projects become their very own sustainable community projects.
What a wonderful journey it has been!
The Bandhus, the project managers of this whole expedition show a warmth and kindness to everyone who enters their home, nothing is ever a problem and their drive for change without causing any conflict in often difficult circumstances is inspiring.
Over 6 years I had returned 8 times to Faridabad, Delhi, raising funds during the year and donating to areas in the near by slum. After my third trip Vishy Bandhu said it was time I committed to one thing if I was going to keep returning, so we started a school. It begun in a tent, a tarpaulin held with a big stick and some rope, we hired a local high school graduate as our teacher and from there the children began to arrive. Today there are over 100 children that attend the Equality Compassion and Opportunity (ECO) school and we have sponsored over 30 children to attend secondary education on scholarships. All of this has been paid for by you.
In 2010 I pushed for a clinic, as a nurse I am passionate about health care. So a small building was built and a qualified doctor was hired for 2 hours a day, 3 times a week. As the lines for the clinic got longer and started interfering with traffic on the road we hired another doctor and a nurse full time. Currently the SCIP Medical Clinic sees over 300 patients every week, provides vaccinations, antibiotics, pain relief and a number of tests such as blood sugar testing, hemoglobin and pregnancy testing, we even have a part time female gynaecologist attending to pap smears and providing family planning options. All of this is possible because of you.
The Womens Empowerment Group was never officially opened it just kind of grew organically. The Sector 4 area of the slum was busy with children attending the SCIP school and locals attending the clinic so women from the area would stay to chat before and after school. A few women asked to be taught to read and write by the school teacher and from there we started classes for the ladies. One of my most precious memories was watching a young girl sitting on the then dirt floor teaching her grandmother how to read in her own language.
In 2015 we put 15 ladies of the Womens Empowerment group through sewing school as they wished to make an income. I thought this was an amazing opportunity and guessed they had somewhere in mind that they wished to work. Little did I know they had made more than 50 interesting.. pillow cases for me to sell at my "local bazarr"?! I tried to explain that Australia doesn't have markets like India but they insisted I sell their creations, so instead I came up with the idea to sew children's clothing. I knew my friends are always a wonderful support and they might just dress their children in something from a good cause, that is where SCIP Sews begun.
Over the years the Bandhus, my initial host family, the wonderful couple who manage all the SCIP Sews projects began hosting more volunteers and now successfully manage the Plan my Gap Year UK program. They host over 20 different volunteers week and have a steady source of income from the volunteers attendance donations, who are all working hands on at the projects. This is wonderful for the projects as they are able to grow rapidly with new sponsors every month. This allows for a more sustainable charity model without the reliance of hard donations, it also means that the Australian side of SCIP is able to slowly withdraw their contributions. I have been in discussion with the Bandhus for sometime over the fact that one day will we need to cease all donations, so they are very understanding and well aware that this was coming. It will be a slow decline of SCIP donations over the next 14 months, in which time we will work this the Bandhus to ensure no projects notice the change over of funds.
As the Australian side of SCIP comes to a close, I look forward to spending more time working with the Women of the Womens Empowerment Group to grow SCIP Sews in hope of generating an income for these women and this community, so please keep a look out for these garments and spread the word.
Thank you again with all of my heart, I cant tell you how much your support has meant to me and the people of the Sector 4 slum.
If you ever wish to see just what your donation has contributed to please contact me for volunteering opportunities, the SCIP Projects will always be there, thanks to you.