Soup kitchen, school projects and drinking water pumps

Trip from August 17 to 30, 2016

Thur, Sept. 1st, 2016 - 8:30pm, written by Katrin and Alexandra, published by Frank

Hand pumps for three villages in Bihar

We plan to visit three new leper colonies the next day. The team was informed that there is water, but that this water is not sufficiently clean and potable. Here it might, therefore, not be necessary to drill a deep borehole but drinking water should be pumped up manually from the depth by hand pumps.
The first village that our team visits is Kumar Bagh. 35 people, including 18 children live there. While examining the place intended for the well we get to know that like in Chakia and Chota Phool the children of the colony do not attend school due to the strong stigmatization and discrimination by the rest of the population. After a short discussion we decide to have our Indian friends first approach the nearest state schools to ensure schooling for these children. In Chota Phool as well as in Chakia FriendCircle WorldHelp despite some resistance from the population succeeded to have the children of leprosy affected parents attend school.

200 residents, 125 of them children live in the next leprosy village „Janbatia“. Surprisingly, there is a state school on the site of the leprosy colony which is also attended by children from outside. This means one concern less for our team and a sign that the information about the leprosy disease and the resulting integration develops differently at different places.
On the way to the third village we purchase in different shops materials for the hand pumps of the first two villages. The third village named Bhairo Ganj, is located remote in the wilderness. The 36 children living in the village attend the state school in the nearby village. The 100 residents of the village are mainly elderly people. An elderly gentleman who has lost both lower limbs due to leprosy gropes on his knees on which he has fixed plastic sandals. Like the other residents, he folds his hands respectfully and thanks us warmly for visiting the village. People tell us that so far no one has ever come to offer them any kind of support.
A closer look at the dwellings reveals that many of them have not been completed. In most cases, windows and doors are missing and scantily covered with old materials. „At night often foxes and other animals come and steal the little food we have“, a resident explains. Furthermore, also here is a lack of drinking water. Katrin and Claudia promise to return at one of the next visits to Bihar to tackle the various problems. This time they will first take care of the drinking water problem. People are overjoyed and thank them while Claudia distributes some of the balloons and hairpins for girls to the delight of the children.
Afterwards, Claudia and Katrin purchase a large number of plastic pipes as according to an investigation in Bhairo Ganj water is only found quite deep down at around 200 feet.

Although time is pressing, the villagers do not want to miss to prepare a late lunch for the team. Since we know that it is very special for leprosy affected people to sit together and eat with people from outside – something that practically never happens - Claudia, Katrin and Venu gladly accept.
In the meantime, the well drilling work in the second village has already well advanced. When Katrin and Claudia arrive, a brown broth is already streaming from the hole in the earth. The more the powerful young men pump, the cleaner the water becomes – a full success!!
On the next stay further progress of this time’s visit will be seen. But now the stay of our team in Bihar is already over and after a long train ride back to Delhi, Claudia and Katrin together with Sunny will once more surprise the children under the bridges of Delhi with the „soup kitchen“...

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Mon, August 29, 2016 - 7:30pm, written by Katrin and Claudia, published by Frank

INDIA – State of Bihar: „Chota Phool

At the penultimate visit to Chota Phool the teachers of the local school asked us imploringly to build additional classrooms since the actual rooms are far too small for the great number of students. At a meeting in the school in addition to the teachers also the village president is present. Three rooms for 30 children each meaning a total of 90 children should be built. As Katrin and Claudia visit the school they find the children crammed closely together in the different rooms, sitting either on wooden benches or on the ground.
A calculation of the various costs is established and the president promises to ensure that no additional costs will occur. However, if this would happen, he would either try to bear the costs himself or negotiate the prices once more with the shop owners. All present are very pleased with the planned construction, also the expectant faces of the students show great joy. Being an experienced nanny Claudia takes a balloon which she has brought along and a piece of fabric and makes a ball. The children are delighted to play with the new gift.

In order not to lose time, the team immediately drives to the hardware store to purchase the essential building materials to start work: sand, cement, bricks, Eternit panels for the roof, etc.
Back in the colony, a first meeting with the new tutor takes place. This new teacher seems competent and assertive to Katrin and Claudia. This is very much necessary, since it turned out that some children did not regularly attend the public school. Like last time, Katrin checks the attendance records which the tutor keeps meticulously.
Without education these children who are already very disadvantaged due to the fact that their parents are leprosy sufferers have a very reduced chance to escape the cycle of poverty. Therefore, it is necessary to show that FriendCircle WorldHelp demands a minimum of commitment and understanding resp. cooperation of parents and children for those children who are accepted for the promotion program. Due to their absence rates, meanwhile five children had to be excluded from the program for despite repeated admonition there was not enough discipline. The reasons for not attending school are varied. Due to the fact that they themselves have never been to school, some parents do not really understand the value of education and therefore encourage their children to continue to beg, as they believe that this „income“ is at present more important for the family. They are not able to think long-term for the future.
Then, the children who are making good progress and regularly attend the classes are presenting examples of what they have learnt. They solve tasks in Hindi, English and mathematics and recite poems. Each performance is valued with loud applause which makes the performing child proud and happy.
In addition to the necessary school materials and the mandatory school uniforms this time children showing good performance are rewarded with another garment: dresses for the girls, pants and shirts for the boys. The tailor has specially come to the colony in order to take measurements. A boy from the group of five children who will no longer participate in the training program is watching everything closely and promises to attend school from now on regularly. Katrin and Claudia assure the boy that on the next visit he will get the same if after two months he can show that he has been regularly attending school.
The next day the team sets off early as the construction work in the public school starts at seven o’clock and before any construction a religious ceremony takes place. A local journalist learned about the construction work by FriendCircle WorldHelp and comes to an interview that will appear in various newspapers the following day. To our great surprise, after a short time, the construction work is already in full swing. Early afternoon on a plot next to the school the rear wall of the building has already been raised. We take some pictures. We are looking forward to see the completed construction next time, when we will come back!

In addition to surveying the construction progress in the school and the purchase of clothes, school material and hygiene items such as toothbrushes, etc. for the children in the leprosy colonies we also purchase a battery for general lighting, many vitamins and deworming medicine. For many poor people in India a balanced diet is unaffordable. No wonder that lack of vitamins and protein is the daily lot of many of them.

When the children of the colony receive their new clothes, it seems to us as if it were „Christmas“ for them. Their joy is exuberant. After the distribution we return earlier to the hotel today, because our Indian friend Venu has been suffering from high fever since a few days already...


Mon, Aug. 22, 2016 - 7:30pm, written by Alexandra, published by Frank

Katrin and Claudia traveling in India - Delhi, State of Bihar, Delhi

Since August 17, Katrin and Claudia are underway in India on behalf of FriendCircle WorldHelp. After starting with the soup kitchen, the two together with Venu are now traveling 20 hours by train to Motihari (Bihar). There, the three intend to visit four villages of leprosy affected people.
On these first pictures you see Claudia, Sunny and Katrin distributing meals in the "soup kitchen" in Delhi ...



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Since August 17, Katrin and Claudia are traveling in India on behalf of FriendCircle WorldHelp
Preparing meals for the "soup kitchen" in Delhi. Also Sunny (in the white shirt) is again helping!
Since August 21, Claudia and Katrin together with Venu have travelled 20 hours by train to Motihari (State of Bihar) where they plan to visit four villages of leprosy sufferers.
Buying school material for the children in the leprosy villages who participate in the training programme of FriendCircle WorldHelp.
But first materials are selected and tested for quality. Since the clothes are washed on stones by hand, the fabric has to be robust.
As always, the children of the colonies do not leave Katrin and Claudia for a moment.
For many locals it's still an unfamiliar sight to be so close with children of leprosy-affected parents.
The children of the leper colony in "Chota Phool" look serious, as their presence in school is checked.
For the children it is like "Christmas" when they are handed over the clothes by Claudia and Katrin.
When praised, the children are visibly proud and happy.
For all school projects of FriendCircle WorldHelp attendance list of the children are kept.
The children of the leprosy village and the children of the public school must sit crowded together in the school of Chota Phool.
The construction starts already while the purchases are made.
And soon the first walls can be seen...
For the distribution of clothes to the children of the school programs one after another is called. Here Katrin is handing over the clothes.
Pumping water with the materials donated by FriendCircle WorldHelp.
Also towards the end of their stay Katrin and Claudia go to the bridges of Delhi, where the children are happy to receive bananas.


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