It was 8.30am on my final morning of my last design trip in India. At this point, the creative tank is almost at zero as I had exerted all that I had to offer during the previous 7 full days on the ground.
I walked out the gate of the Haveli (a traditional Indian building, turned boutique style hotel) and towards the rickshaw that I ride in each visit (for the last 4 years) to go to our final and always last minute, rushed few meetings before I fly out. This rickshaw, I can envision even with my eyes closed (that is just how many hours I have spent riding in the backseat).
As I approach, I see a little hand just sticking out the side slightly.
And then I notice the cheeky grin on Daniel Bro’s face.
Four quiet little faces, with shiny eyes are sitting nestled in the back. Dressed in their best clothes and a granted a morning off school, just so that I get to see them. So I jump in, a change of immediate plans ~ we go to get ‘breakfast ice-cream’ of their choices, and then a family friend (and fellow driver) comes to pick them up so that we can continue with work.
The tired westerners (being my own) spirit rises.
Explode, my grateful heart.
Meet Abishish (11), Abishek (9), Furqan (6) and the newest gang member, Mohammad (4) – their eldest cousin. You see Rafeeq, or ‘Daniel Bro’ or ‘Bisup’ (brother in Hindi) lost one of his sisters last year post child birth. She was 24, it was her forth child and unfortunately she passed away 10 days after birth due to unknown complications. Daniel Bro now provides for his 3 x boys, plus 3 of his sisters very young children, his wife and mother.
6 x children, 3 adults and a humble home (one room) and one humble drivers wage.
x x x
This man, he has become a friend and brother to me.
He has spent time with Michael, my partner and my sister and brother.
He is as loyal as they can come, as generous and nothing is ever a problem (even the long 12 hours days where he may be waiting up to 6 x hours for me to resurface from a manufacturing meeting).
He grew up in a village and was never formally educated, no schooling or chance to ‘elevate’ his path.
He is illiterate, but speaks really great english (self taught).
He began working at 10 in a tea shop (earning 300 INR per month / AUD $5.86) and began driving a rick shaw at 14. Now at age 35, he has never looked back and just purchased his own rickshaw, with the help of a substantial bank loan. (You can meet Daniel Bro in our latest HONOUR video).
It is his hope that his boys (and now extended children) will go to private schools and rise up and create abundant, successful lives for themselves.
‘Support a Battler’– is one arm of the Violet Gray philanthropy project that has long been on my mind and in my heart. Awaiting the perfect moment of stillness, so it could birth.
Disclaimer : Now, please do not take offence to the term ‘battler’ or write to me telling me that it is unjust.
Truth being is that sending 6 x children to a private school on a rickshaw wage (which is intermittent) in India is a daily, weekly, yearly battle. The education costs are more than a ‘pinch in the side’ and their is no additional support from family or government.
We have a goal of raising $5000 to send the 3 x Khan boys to school for 5 years, paid.
Each year, if averaged out over 5 years, the cost of roughly $1000 (dependant on currency exchange). Each year, the amount also changes as they progress in grades and age. The older they get, the more the year will cost.I visited the school and had the exact fees broken down by the Headmaster and her daughter, of whom is also a teacher at the same school (and is able to communicate in English). They were informant and I feel, a little bewildered by the foreigner who is hoping to support this local family.
The school they attend has 600 children and 35 teachers.
Their school fees for the 3 x boys broken down this year are :
Yearly Fees / INR 29 000
Text books / INR 4225
Note books and necessary stationary / INR 780
Uniforms / INR 5100
Total INR 39 105 (plus school shoes and bags).
So how can you help us to support this family?
Last year, we created these bracelets for this purpose (we told you, this idea has been years in the making).
Each one is engraved on the inside surface with the word ‘connected’as this is what our VG philantrhopy program is called. There are two other causes that will be launching as soon as we can, but this may take a little time (hence the green and red colour bracelets in the photo below).
All you need to do is purchase a bracelet for $19.95 and 100% of the profits from each bracelet will go towards the ‘KHAN BOYS EDUCATION FUND’.
We have printed the cards ourselves, and they will arrive without additional packaging in an effort to keep the cost as low as possible (and therefore the profit margin and contribution as high as possible).
** We are also working towards creating an option where you can also donate, wtihout the bracelet. **
Once we have reached our $5000 goal, we will connect with another cause and begin to contribute to that goal. Our aim is to spread and share as much good fortune as we can.
Whilst celebrating , just how CONNECTED we really all are.