Samuel (left) - a student filled with hope for his future
Neelam (centre)- a teacher armed with purpose for her students and village
Sunita (right) - a mother with her dignity restored
At Project Help India, our cause is simple and powerful. It is love in action.
Our mission is to bring love, hope, dignity and purpose to the poor.
Over these past few weeks, I have received 3 separate stories about 3 people -a student at one of our schools, one of our teachers, and the other, a mother from the slum community where we work - each a direct beneficiary of our work and mission. It is such a privilege to share these 3 beautiful stories with you. This blog is a little longer than usual, but I’m sure you too will be delighted to read such heart-warming stories, each filled with hope and happiness, at a time when we hear mostly sad and depressing news about the world around us. Thank you for making this love in action possible. Your love, help and generosity is inextricably intertwined in each one of these three stories. So, go make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy the read!
Samuel – a story of hope
Samuel attends our Malluwala School in Punjab. He is 13 years old. His father, Yunas and mother, Paramjeet, are both laborers and earn only enough to survive. Samuel is a 6th class student. He struggled with his school work and needed extra support and attention in class. This was not at all possible in the local government school where the student-teacher ratio is very poor. Two years ago Samuel and his two elder sisters Reetu and Kirpa joined our school. Initially he was not able to study and he was incredibly shy and quiet. He would not interact with anyone in the class, not even with fellow classmates.
Samuel’s teacher called his parents and his mother came to meet us. We discussed with her how Samuel presented in class and everyone was extremely worried about his learning and future. Our teachers started paying extra attention to him, so that Samuel could be a more confident student. Within two or three months he started improving and began to open up and talk about his problems with teachers. Now he is becoming good in studies and his parents are satisfied. He has started taking part in other activities as well. On India's Independence Day we asked students to sing a patriotic song in front of everyone. Samuel came forward to sing a solo. His grades are improving and he is now up there with our brightest of students. He is very confident in making decisions and we believe he will continue to advance in his studies.
Neelam – a story of purpose
Neelam is 21 years old. She is doing her final year of teacher training before graduation. Neelam’s father Mr. Charan Singh is a daily wage labour. Her mother Mrs. Vaijayanti is cook in our Jungle village Bagnala. Neelam has three sisters and one brother, and they all are students in a government school in Kotdwara.
Neelam belongs to the Bogsa tribe, living in the dense forest Bagnala about 15 kilometres away from Kotdwara. Neelam says she has faced many challenges in her life. She is the first girl in her village to ever receive an education. In her village the people believed that it is shameful to send girls out of their homes. Neelam and her family would be teased and taunted; “girls are born to get married and do housework, not to study” her neighbours would say. “Why teach girls! Teaching girls is of no use,” many would tell her. Neelam however, was determined to study and somehow, she managed to get to school each day, which was 13 kms away from her home. This was scary, because of the jungle all around. There are wild animals and the fear of leopard and wild elephants is a normal risk. There were also bad people not of good character on the route to the school, who could harm Neelam. Despite these things, Neelam never gave up and the support of her family never faded. Neelam graduated from senior school. She received an education!
Neelam never wanted anyone else to face such problems to get education. She wanted the children of her village to receive an education so she approached Project Help and asked if they could set up a school and she would be the teacher. With her quiet determination and humility, Neelam proved everyone wrong, especially the many who thought that educating a girl to be shameful. Neelam herself helped people to understand that education is as necessary and as basic as the food we eat. By her individual efforts, and as an employee of Project Helps Neelam now teaches 44 students in her village. She has been doing this for 5 years. She works hard, she loves her teaching and she is dedicated to the care and wellbeing of her students.
Neelam says that earlier before she met with Mr. Amit Samuel (Director of Project Help India) her family was suffering from some curse. From his birth, her brother Priyanshu, was continuously ill with no doctor able to cure him. But once when Mr. Amit Samuel visited her house in the year 2015 and prayed for the family Priyanshu recovered from his weakness within a month and the family observed many changes in him. He is now 9 years old, and a fine, fit boy.
For Neelam the best part of ‘Project Help’ is attending the annual SHINE Conference. Neelam says she has attended the Conference for the last two years and has enjoyed it a lot. She says that SHINE Conference is equally useful and knowledgeable for her and her community. She came to know a lot of facts about her body after attending this conference. She further says it becomes easy for her to make the ladies of her village understand the importance of hygiene and health awareness. Neelam has brought 50 ladies and girls from her village to Kotdwara for the conference. This is an amazing achievement, because the men in her village believe that ladies are objects to be hidden, and they should never be allowed to leave the home. But the men now know and respect Neelam so they send the ladies to the conference. Neelam says “SHINE Conference is of much need for the ladies of her village as they know nothing about the facts that are discussed in the Conference.”
Thanks to Neelam, the women are learning for themselves, empowered in the new knowledge and awareness they have of the value and importance placed on themselves and their daughters. There is now a new awareness for a new generation of girls and young women in the village. Even the boys that Neelam teaches are having their minds and attitudes changed about girls and their sisters.
We think that Neelam is one of the most inspirational women ever, and we are so proud that she is a member of the 'Project Help’ team.
Sunita – a story of dignity
Mrs. Sunita Devi, a mother of three, from the Kotdwara slums works as domestic help. Her husband works as a daily wage labour in a paint shop. This week she came to Project Help office in Kotdwara with an urgent appeal to help. Sunita says it’s her daughter’s wedding and she has no food supplies for the function. Due to the Coronavirus spread and the lockdown of four months, all of her savings are now finished. It is the ultimate humiliation and loss of dignity to host a wedding with no food for your guests.
Sunita said she had heard from many people that Project Help India helps the needy people, so she too came to receive help from us. Listening to her story, Mr. Amit Samuel immediately supplied some dry rations and all the other food supplies that she needed for the wedding. The Project Help team also offered lots of blessings and good luck for the special day. Project Help will also provide a lovely wedding gift for the bride and groom.
The family is now so grateful to Project Help India. Sunita was speechless when she received the food, and she did not even have the words to repay her thanks. She prayed for the team and Australian sponsors and gave them a lot of blessings from the bottom of her heart.
Thank you for your generous help and support
Please do not underestimate the SIGNIFICANT difference that you have made in these 3 people’s lives, and many more people too. My team is doing a brilliant job making every dollar count, and go where it is most needed. You can make a tax deductible donation simply by clicking one of the DONATE buttons at www.projecthelpindia.co.