FIGHTING THE COLD!
It’s always harder for us to put into practice projects that are not related directly to the children, such as, for example, our Dada-Dadi programme.
Help for the old people always seems to be forgotten in our society and the larger part of aid from the Western world is destined for the children. If the children are the future of a country, the Grandparents are the living memory and, unfortunately, are pushed into the background with less food, less medicines and less of everything.
India is the second country in the world for the number of old people. According to Asia News, for the year 2021 India could have 140 million old people without the capacity nor the will to take care of them.
The traditional family is becoming less common and grandparents are left alone. Indian society is moving away from the traditional “extended family” where the adult male members took charge of their parents and all lived together. The traditional values of caring for and respecting the senior members of a family are being lost.
The elderly are abandoned, left alone with nowhere to go and with no State aid. Dr. Carvalho in Asia News states that the Government always ignores the rights and needs of the old people and that the Authorities should extend the right to a retirement pension to these people so they can live with dignity.
In our Dada-Dadi programme we attend to the disabled as well as the elderly who are alone, widows with no male children or those abandoned by their children, abandoned also by the Government, with no dignity, who are forced to beg for minimal survival.
We try to bring a little relief to such hard living conditions by offering food and clothing. We also accompany them to the doctor, purchase medicines when needed, repair their huts, provide beds and listen to them so they do not feel so alone.
In India when it’s cold many of these old people die since they are weak and cannot endure the low temperature in their huts with insufficient protection. For this reason, last year we gave them jerseys, and this year we have provided them with blankets so they can sleep with more warmth.
Here we offer an enormous THANK YOU to all our members who make it possible for us to carry on with our Dada-Dadi project.
Last November Ainhoa visited us and spent 3 weeks as a volunteer in the field with our Association.
During her stay Ainhoa helped us prepare the Christmas cards, the jumper campaign for the Mygrainofsand project and held various workshops with the children of the different classes in our Akshay school.
She showed the little ones how to colour stones, make coloured stamps with potatoes, stars, pretty drawings, print t-shirts, etc. and also taught them songs and helped in the office. Ainhoa also gave personal defence classes to the girls and female teachers of the Akshay School. These were useful and entertaining and the girls loved them.
She gave us some of her precious time, learned more about our projects, shared and discovered more of life here and left her own grain of sand in Akshy.
The children enjoyed her workshops enormously and it was a pleasure to work with her. We hope to see her again some day.
From these lines in our blog we wish to thank her for her collaboration and her happy affection.
THANK YOU, AINHOA!
SMILES FROM THE DADA-DADI
The people included in our Dada-Dadi project are grandparents or disabled persons who have no family to support them in these final years of their lives and cannot work to earn their own daily bread. Some of them have illnesses such as leprosy, tuberculosis, severe disability or senile dementia, and cannot by any means hold a job of work. Others have a family but, with so much poverty and misery, neither food nor medicines nor clothing reach the oldest members.
In Bihar there are two important festivals, Durga/Diwali and Holi, when the tradition is to wear new clothes. This is the time when we offer new garments to these old people in addition to the food, medical attention and toiletries we give them every month. During the year we also help to repair their poor dwellings, or give them beds as well as other necessities. But the most important thing we give them is affection, the knowledge that they are not alone, that they have a place to go when in need. During the Durga and Diwali festivals this year they were given clothes and we managed to put a smile on each face in spite of their sufferings.
Some of these people belong to neighbouring villages and owing to their disabilities or their age, cannot get to the centre so we visit them in these miserable homes to make sure they are well or take them what they need.
This project is financed thanks to the generosity of the members of our Association and to occasional donations for which we are most grateful since, usually, such donations are intended for the children and we often forget that reaching old age in India can be an act of survival.
Many, many thanks to our Members and Supporters!
We are pleased to announce that another 18 women have completed the Sewing Course in our United Women´s school. This is the 11º course completed!
Some are young girls who in the near future will get married and go to live in other villages with their husbands´ families where they will be able to put into practice what they learned in our Centre or perhaps even open a little business and so help their domestic economies.
Others are married women who wish to learn something new and again contribute to their families incomes, in spite of the social restrictions placed on many of them for leaving the home for a while.
In the photos you will see they have been taught to sew from children´s clothes to adult garments, for both men and women.
We must congratulate this group for their attendance and enthusiasm in class and hope that what they have learnt with us will be of great use to them.
We thank all Akshy members who have supported us in making these courses possible for the empowerment of women, with very special thanks to Guriya Madam, our course Coordinator and Sashi Prabha, our Sewing Teacher.