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This fundraiser ended on 05/28/10

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This summer I'm volunteering in India at the Nav Jagriti Collective in Delhi. The Nav Jagriti Collective is a road school for homeless children from the streets. I'm hoping to raise funds to help pay for school supplies for the kids.

Between finishing my Bachelors and begining my Masters I decided to put my education to use as a volunteer. This summer I will be moving to Delhi, India to teach in schools for homeless and impoverished children from the streets. The funds raised will go to buying children's books and other school supplies for the Nav Jagriti Collective. I would love to share my experience with those willing to help. I'll be sending regular updates on my experience via e-mail to any interested in recieving them.

During my senior year at Brigham Young University-Idaho I was exposed to a documentary that showed the depth of suffering which homeless and orphaned children in India were made to endure. I saw poverty that I couldn’t imagine leading to illiteracy, and a cycle of sorrow and enslavement that would last a lifetime. I began to research this issue and found that there are more than 175,000 homeless children in the capital city of Delhi alone. Due to a lack of education many of the boys would grow to become criminals, and many of the girls would be forced into prostitution.

Continuing my research, I looked to affiliate myself with groups trying to alleviate the suffering of these different factions. I came across companies like SariBari, Freeset, and Beauty from Ashes. These are social entrepreneurship businesses in Kolkutta and Nepal that give former prostitutes another option for employment. The women are taught to make jewelry, and to sew bags and blankets. Since I am unable to donate funds, I have recently begun volunteering my time to market their products here in the United States. I am currently working with a fashion designer in Southern California to coordinate a fundraising event and marketing launch for these businesses. The launch will take place later this year and will promote the cause as well as the products.

Working with these programs, I realized that so many people involved in human trafficking and prostitution, both male and female, feel they don’t have any other option. They know that the lack of knowledge and skills will prevent them from finding other work. The secret to overcoming these social ills seems to be in preventing them from happening in the first place.

In educating the next generation, the standard of living will increase and they will have access to legitimate jobs in the community. Education will give the people the skills they need to survive while maintaining their self-respect.      
With that in mind, I began to look for summer programs that educate underprivileged children and youth that are at risk of being pulled into such professions. I finally found a summer volunteer program with reasonable rates and a desperate need of volunteers. Volunteering Solutions places volunteers in 16 countries across South America, Africa, and Asia.

I have been placed in the Delhi Street Children Program working with the Nav Jagriti Collective/Nizammudin Centre. This center functions dually as orphanage and as a school for street children. Following my term in Delhi I will spend my last month in the country teaching at the Gyan Deep Public School in Palampur, India.

While in India I will teach multiple subjects, although an emphasis is placed on literacy; and I will support and mentor at risk children. Hopefully this education will help to prepare them to assimilate into the economic structure of the city as productive members in society.

I know that changing the world seems like a big goal, but I know I will change the world for every child that I teach to read. I will change the way they see the world, and the way the world sees them. I hope to break the cycle of poverty for at least a few, and hope to encourage others to try their hand at doing the same. Change doesn’t happen by itself, and it doesn’t come easily. The world can be changed, but only by those who are willing to take action. I know that I, as an ordinary individual, can do extraordinary things with effort and an eye on the future.  

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