Lotus Child Caring for the Street Children of India
THE BUDS TO BLOSSOMS PROJECT
1 WEEK - 20+VOLUNTEERS - 1 EXTRAORDINARY PROJECT
Our two groups of volunteers travelled to India to two different communities and completed the building of a multi-purpose resource centre in these communities that will:
- Provide education for over 100 children each year
- Provide adult training and education
- Run income generation programmes
- Provide first-aid and healthcare training and healthcamps
The money raised by our volunteers not only builds the centre but will also fund on going running costs!
The Principals of the Buds to Blossoms Project
A Project about Prevention, Partnership, Community Education & Empowerment and Sustainability:
PREVENTION This is one of the most important aspects of this project. This is a marginalised community in an impoverished city. Without education and the social protection of their community, many of these children may end up in the city as child labourers, domestic workers, street children or sex workers. The community recognise that the path out of poverty is through education within their community. By providing this resource centre, their children won't be wandering the streets prey to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, or working twelve hour days in factories, but will be happily learning their abc's with the opportunity to blossom and grow.
PARTNERSHIP This is about working side by side with the local community and ensuring the project meets their particular needs. After a full survey and needs assessment of the area the need for a school was clear. Our school will cater for over 100 children each year. The community provide the land on which the school will be built and members of the community are recruited to be trained as teachers and field workers. The community will also assist in the ongoing funding of the school ensuring true engagement, ownership and partnership. They have asked for our support not our pity, for a hand up not a hand out...
COMMUNITY EDUCATION & EMPOWERMENT The importance of education and its positive impact on the poverty cycle has been proven time and again the world over. Lotus Child aim to maximise the impact of their projects. This centre will not only educate the children of the community, but also their older brothers and sisters and parents, providing adult education, training and awareness programmes. We also aim to promote self sufficiency through income generation and micro credit programmes for the women of the community. It will empower an entire community through education and income generation.
SUSTAINABILITY This is not about going to Kolkata for a week, working hard to complete a building and leaving. There is little point in building a school in an extremely poor community and walking away. This is about ongoing support of this community in its efforts to raise its members and most importantly their children out of poverty. The resource centre will become the hub of the community and create a process of dynamic change and self reliance.
Testimonials from Volunteers
"Building the school in a community with the children fully present each day on site was the most rewarding experience a human could have. I'll definitely be back" Lyanne Ryan
"Thank you for the parent and child aspect of this activity. It is amazing to experience a life changing experience but to do this with one of my own (children) is something I will cherish with her for the rest of my life" Ray Ryan
"The work was tough but rewarding and the engagement with the community at the end made every blister and drop of sweat worthwhile" John Burke
"As ambassador of Lotus Child this trip was so incredibly worthwhile. It re-iterated the importance of our support to these needy children and helped me see first hand the trojan work on the group. It has inspired me to do more and help in whatever way I can." Aoibhin Garrihy, Lotus Child Ambassador