THANK YOU to our hard-working partners and faithful supporters
Asian Aid works with local partners in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. One of our longest standing partners is Helping Hand Welfare Society in India. Since 1978, Helping Hand has fostered permanent change in the lives of almost 12,000 children thanks to YOU, our faithful sponsors.
We truly appreciate your support. Without you, none of this would exist.
We are also grateful that, as Asian Aid moves through a period of significant change with the implementation of child focused development programs, partners such as Helping Hands are keen to continue the journey with us.
Asian Aid program manager Quentin Campbell said Helping Hands had enthusiastically adapted to the new model with the implementation of a program in a village in Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. “The project is in its nascent stages but it is sure to have a big impact,” Mr Campbell said.
New Change Agents in Helping Hands’ Program:
Boys: 35, Girls: 22
Malladhi, 35, is a mason. He has lived in this South Indian village for the past 10 years with his wife and two children.
Malladhi says it is a peaceful village. It is also beautiful – set amid beautiful mountains and surrounded by green fields. However the outward beauty belies the poverty, according to Malladhi. He says many in his community live on less than $1 a day and are heavily reliant on small scale farming and daily wages.
Exacerbating this poverty is the caste system. Malladhi belongs to the scheduled caste (SC) which is considered inferior – even “untouchable” – by some people. As such, there is little opportunity for education and even jobs can be hard to come by. All of which has a direct impact on the quality of care for the children.
However, all this is beginning to change for Malladhi, his children and his community.
“Helping Hands has given me the gift of a job,” he said. “I am helping with the renovation of the school, which means I earn better. I can now afford to send my children to school.”
About the project
The Seventh Day Adventist School in this community was established in 1965 and caters to 154 students from nursery to Grade 5. However the school has grown considerably and the facilities need to be expanded. Plans include new classrooms, a library, computers and science laboratory facilities.
Jason, Project Coordinator for Helping Hands said that, for the children in the school, being part of child clubs, interacting with each other was something new and refreshing. “Families usually think that children should follow their parent’s instructions and child participation in decision making is disrespectful to elders,” he said.
“But now, they have the opportunity to feel listened to. They matter.”
Children’s Day Celebrations
On November 14, widely celebrated as Children’s Day in India, Helping Hands organised an event to re-energise and motivate children to attend school. Child Clubs were launched, a unique platform for children to engage in decisions affecting their lives.
“Watching their children take part in the cultural and sporting events showed the parents their children were in good hands,” Jason said “Parents and teachers realised that extra-curricular activities teach children life lessons and need to be integrated into the school program. They also saw first-hand the steps being taken to improve the standard of their school.”
Helping Hands and Asian Aid are working together to fund and implement several more initiatives aimed at improving the wellbeing of children in remote and poor communities.
These include programs for:
- Building and strengthening local child protection systems.
- Creating awareness on government policies and programs that will provide a platform for the holistic development of children.
- Collaborating with community leaders to eliminate child rights abuses.
- Empowering women’s groups to launch advocacy campaigns to eradicate child rights abuses.
- Providing free practical education for young couples, focused on best practices for child upbringing and behavior management without resorting to aggression and violence.
- Improving economic status through agriculture, income generation activities, livelihood training programs and self-help groups.
- Working with men to change the age old mind set of male supremacy.
Author: Pudens Isabel
One part writer, one part photographer & two parts traveller…
Two years ago I decided something needed to change, so I quit my corporate job and started working for Asian Aid from my home in India.
Since then I have been visiting Asian Aid projects with my camera and notebook in tow, to bring pictures and stories from the field to you.