Thursday, April 10, 2008


We have been working with a womens organization the last couple of months, Shree Prarthana Majila Samaj. The organization has a literacy project, which is a big deal here since 65% of women are illiterate. In the last six years they have grown from 4 students to around 100 now. They charge the women 100 rupees (about $1.50) a month. This is out of the reach of 1/3 of the women who are on scholarship.

They also have had vocational training programs as well as legal and health training.

The organization has been run by a group of young people (early 20's) for the last 6 years. We met Urmila, the President of the organization, at the Rotary club meeting. Sandy and I have been so impressed with her for a number of reasons. She is honest, a rarity with NGO's here. She is only 24 and started this NGO at 18. In some ways she is like any other woman here, friendly and respectful of elders. But underneath this exterior is a woman who has a strong will and an immensly kind heart. On good months, she and the other teachers will accept some pocket money, about $5 a month for the 20 hours a week they work. Really remarkable

You can read about her and the organization at: .

We have been trying to help them in a few ways.

  1. assisted with paying teachers salaries
  2. made connections with other NGO's
  3. assisted with organizing new school

The school mostly operates at night and we felt they could not continue to use the classrooms that they rented from another school that operates there during the day because the school that rented the classrooms during the day would regularly shut them out of the classrooms. Students got discouraged and would stop studying.

They are moving in a new building. The building is cheap (important), good location, and in crappy condition. We have already painted the interior and exterior with what had to have been some sort of toxic crap because my hands are remarkably infected from this.

They still have some major needs:

  1. desks- $250 is needed to buy the remaining desks they need (they have already raised some money)
  2. plumbing-there is no running water here except two hours two days a week. If you do not have a pump and tanks to store it, you have no water for your toilets. They need $200 for this.
  3. electricity/lighting- the previous tenant was kind enough to take all of the lights and wiring. They need to replace this. In addition, they would like to have a battery/inverter so they can actually turn the lights on since there is no electricty 4 nights a week. This will cost $200.

If anyone can support any part of this (or even a portion of a portion) I would appreciate it.

Please send me an e-mail to if you would like to help.

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