First of all I would like wish a Happy New Year to all of our friends in India and abroad. And we at Prabhatalloi Foundation have been pleased to spend another year working hand in hand with Prabhatalloi Inc in Australia.
I would like to take this opportunity to look back over the year 2014, both to tell you what we have achieved and also about our disappointments.
1] At the beginning of the year we, jointly with PAI, ran a project management course . It was held on our school campus and sponsored by Laura and Nick from Switzerland. The series of workshops was aimed at the younger generation in the villages but was also attended by the heads of other NGOs and some individuals who want to begin working in this field. Forty men and women took part in the training, which lasted for three days. All the participants received a certificate at the end. We thought the course was very helpful, especially for the young people and those hoping to start working in an NGO.
2] For some time our village has been suffering from the effects of a poor drainage system in the road through Dabar village. In the middle of the village we have both a tube well and a traditional well. When people take water from these wells some of it inevitably spills out on to the road, creating sanitation problems and a risk of infection. We have also had many accidents which were caused by the muddy and slippery roads. All the villagers contributed to building a new underground drain and cleaning up the village road. This project has made a real difference.
3] We have started a Computer Campaign so that our youth can become more familiar with computers. We refurbished one of the large rooms at the school, installed five computers for their use and brought in an experienced trainer to run a six month course for them. The young people here had told us how it important and helpful it is to have computer experience when they are looking for a job. Our first 6 month session has just finished. It was attended by 30 boys and 30 girls. The next session starts in February.
4] Our thanks to the GALLY group for their support in supplying two riksha vans which we use to bring the snake village children to and from the school. They were able to fund a total of four rickshaws and the drivers’ salaries for 6 months.
5]Our thanks again to Laura and Nick who supplied money to provide medicine for the elderly people in the leprosy village. Our Australian friends also support the village by funding 50kg of rice for them each month.
6] Our heartfelt thanks to those people who are quietly helping to provide for the needs of the hostel kids.
7] This past year, in order to earn money for our ongoing expenses at Prabhatalloi Foundation, we have started to take on outsourcing work. So far we have taken on bookkeeping jobs, assisted individuals with completing their passport and visa applications and carried out a variety of editing, clerical and other online jobs. Three of our staff trained in the Tally accountancy system, which in India is the most widely used software package for small and medium sized organizations.
8] Perhaps our biggest project this year was the new guest house cum conference hall on the school campus. It really looks beautiful. We have already had several outside visitors staying overnight there. The people who have run workshops there have also found it an enjoyable and very suitable place to stage their events.
9]You may have seen from our photographs that we have also installed a more substantial water system. It was originally intended to supply the guest house but we extended the pipes so the kids at the school have access to good drinking water every day. The children enjoy the water and they take some home with them every day. They have also had great fun learning how to draw water from a tap instead of by hand from a tube well.
10]At the end of this year our Chhou boys started to perform as a professional team. They have already performed for a national conference held for senior national officials of the Indian Post Office. In December they were featured in a TV serial made for a TV station in Calcutta. Our Chhou teachers and musicians have also trained the boys at a new local boarding school near to the village. The School was delighted and proud when their team won the top prize at a schools competition and their team was invited to take part in a national competition to be held in Delhi.
11]We are building a new boys hostel with the help of many well wishers. The work is going on at the moment We hope that in two months time the boys will be able move into their new building.
12]We received additional funding from our Australian well wishers. We used the money to develop our Prosthetic factory by buying some new machines.
Robert has been visiting us regularly from the UK since 2005 when he was doing research on Chhou dance. We have all been pleased that he has been able to spend almost the whole of this past year here with us. He has helped us a lot in setting up the office computers and the computer course and also financially so that we were able to build the guest house and improve the water we provide the children at the school, to outfit our Chhou dancers with masks and costumes and to start building the new boys hostel sooner than we could have otherwise.
There are many other good things that happened in 2014. It is hard to recall each and every good moment. We have accomplished a lot with your support and help. But life also has its ups and downs. In 2014 both families, PAF and PAI, went through some bad moments , too many of them caused by misunderstandings or individuals’ own personal pride. But it also became clear that we have the same goals and values. Perhaps our disagreements will have made us stronger. With love, affection and mutual respect we can together continue to make great progress in 2015.
We were saddened to lose three people in the leprosy village in 2014.
Our medical center plays an important role in our community. So we are very concerned that because of the increasing price of medicine and increasing numbers of patients the ongoing costs have reached the danger point. Cherie and Gary from Maleny have stepped in temporarily to provide the funds needed for the next few months. So hats off to them. We hope to be able to find a regular sponsor soon.
Another ongoing problem is that we need an ambulance to service both our own village and those nearby. To provide this service is an important goal for us.
We didn’t get enough water this year during rainy season. Because of this we had a poor harvest. We are making plans and doing what we can to prepare for some difficult months before the next heavy rainfall is due.
This is only a short summary of some of the highlights from a busy year. We all very much appreciate your interest and support. We look forward to working with you to make 2015 a successful year.