KISES seeking emergency funding for dump families after double setback
HELLO and welcome to our second KISES newsletter, designed to keep our supporters, sponsors and donors in touch with the work being done to support some of the most underprivileged and disadvantaged people in southern India.
The past six months have proved especially challenging for the KISES team as the struggling families they support through the Vijayawada Dump Humanisation Programme have been beset by misfortune.
Already facing a daily battle for survival, these overlooked people have had what little livelihood they can muster severely disrupted, first by an unexpected decision from local authorities to relocate the dump site for several months, and then by severe weather which destroyed their makeshift homes and damaged school and sanitation facilities provided by KISES.
"It has been one setback after another in recent months and, as always, it is the most downtrodden members of society who seem to suffer the most," said KISES UK volunteer Jem King. "No sooner had we thought things were looking up with the establishment of our school and care centre, a new toilet block and the installation of a water pump, than we saw all that hard work undone.
"Our families, including many vulnerable children, were scattered when the dump was suddenly relocated out of the blue. They had to go desperately seeking work elsewhere and one of our largest families found themselves earning a pittance as rat-catchers for a local farmer.
"All the good work of previous months, with the children attending classes daily and receiving nutritious meals at the centre, was undone. For reasons best known to local government officials, the dumping operation later returned.
But when the families started to reappear, they found that the makeshift homes they had built had been destroyed by a cyclone that ripped through the area at the end of the rainy season.
"Not only that, but the roof had blown off the new sanitation block, the water pump was damaged and, worst of all, the school building was another victim of the cyclone, while monkeys living on the dump had found their way in and caused further damage."
As this newsletter goes to press, KISES UK are arranging for emergency funding to make sure that mouths are fed for the coming weeks. In India, reassurances are being sought from the local authorities that the dump site will not be moved at such short notice again before work begins on repairing the damaged structures.
It hasn't all been doom and gloom, however. Thanks to co-operation from another Andhra Pradesh-based charity, Health and Education for All (HEAL), KISES was pleased to arrange full-time residential education for a young brother and sister who had been living on the dump.
As mentioned in the story below, Srinu and Vaishnavi were welcomed into HEAL Paradise Village shortly after the start of the new school year and both are said to be settling in well. The hope is to continue to work closely with HEAL so that Dalit and Tribal children facing a bleak future living in dumps and slums can be delivered by KISES into life-changing education.
Once again, we would like to thank and pay tribute to those of you who have 'adopted' families who live and work on the Vijayawada Dump in the most appalling conditions imaginable, and our donors in the UK, including generous companies like Conservatory Outlet. We rely entirely on sponsorship and donations for support.
Transport is a major issue for the small KISES team on the ground in Vijayawada, with the remoteness of the dump yard and occasionally impassable roads making access very difficult and we are once again appealing for a kind-hearted company to come forward with a donation towards an urgently-needed four-wheel-drive vehicle.
You can also help by sharing this newsletter with friends, family, companies and organisations who may be interested in donating, fundraising, volunteering, or perhaps adopting KISES as their charity for 2017.
To follow KISES, please click and 'Like' or 'Follow' us via the social media links below, and to make a donation click on the 'Adopt a Family' or 'Donate' buttons. We now also have more than 1,200 followers on Instagram where we post regular picture updates.