2019 / 2020: Water concept for the Prakash Vidhyalaya School in Bhopal

We (Benjamin and Steffi) were in Bhopal for a few months to find out how to improve the precarious water situation at the Prakash Vidhyalaya School of the Pilar Fathers. The aim is now to develop an overall concept how to consider and optimize the many-sided set screws of the water supply and disposal.

During our time on site we were able to get a picture of the current situation. We observed the groundwater levels of both aquifers (one near the surface and one deeper) over a longer period, took water samples, analysed them and carried out two infiltration tests for soil permeability. The water analyses revealed that both aquifers are contaminated differently, which is not surprising given the absence of wastewater treatment and a leaking biogas plant. Although the installed water filters usually ensure that the water can be drunk without risk, the long-term goal must be to reduce the contamination. We want to ensure that the safe drinking water supply for children does not depend on a single barrier/safety level, namely the filters.

In addition to the water quality, we have also thought about the quantitative supply situation. The core idea here is first to reduce water consumption. We therefore propose to use rainwater during the monsoon for flushing the toilets and thus relieve the wells. Another essential approach is to make the irrigation of agricultural land more efficient. For the large wheat and soya fields, we can therefore imagine a sprinkler system instead of the current flood irrigation. For the vegetable beds, a drip irrigation system could be considered, which would bring the water even more efficiently to the roots of the plants. The vegetables are already partially irrigated with grey water (only slightly contaminated wastewater from showers and kitchens) from the Boys Hostel. However, a combination of grey water use and drip irrigation is not possible, as the drip system would quickly clog. As far as irrigation is concerned, we still have to consider which method we would like to recommend for practical, technical and economic reasons. In general, it would be possible to reuse the grey water of the other two hostels for irrigation.

Another idea is the storage of the additional monsoon rain. For example, one of the two aquifers could be artificially enriched or cisterns could be built. Since during heavy rainfall the upper aquifer partially reaches below the upper edge of the terrain, additional enrichment there is not only not possible, but also not recommended due to the increased risk of contamination of the groundwater. An artificial groundwater recharge of the lower aquifer would theoretically be suitable, as it is unlikely to recover during the monsoon. However, it was not possible to estimate how fast the respective aquifers flow, which is why we therefore recommend the construction of cisterns as a storage medium.

Apart from the agricultural sector, no significant water savings are currently possible or appropriate, as the per capita consumption is already significantly lower than in Germany, for example. For the future, a conversion to dry separation toilets would be conceivable, but the current wastewater situation must be improved as a matter of priority. Since there is currently no wastewater treatment at all, potential pathogens can enter the upper aquifer almost unhindered, which can have serious health consequences. In order to improve the situation, we have thought about building another biogas plant near the pigsty, where the potential additional faeces from the Tribal Hostel could be further processed. The treatment of the wastewater from the school and the student accommodation is a challenge, as most of the treatment plants only tolerate small fluctuations in the inflow, but during the holiday season almost all the children are away. This severely limits the treatment options, but it is essential to ensure that the latrine pits are sealed and that no faeces can escape.

Proper sanitation, especially to protect the upper aquifer from further contamination, is just as high a priority as the reuse of grey water and the improvement of the irrigation system.

The water concept for the school must therefore consider and coordinate various different aspects in order to enable a holistic and sustainable approach. The final concept will therefore include suggestions for improvement and hopefully provide incentives for future projects.

PowerPoint-Presentation

2019: New biogas plant saves costs

This spring the first 25 water buffalos moved into our newly built stable. The animals produce not only healthy and nutritious milk, but also plenty of manure, which is now used in our own biogas plant.

The plant is located in the direct vicinity of the stable building and consists of several metal containers, some of which are sunk into the ground, and a connected pipe system. Here, the manure can be filled into the containers by hand, where it decomposes and releases biogas. The gas is passed on and finally reaches the kitchen area, where it can be used for cooking.

This is a great blessing for the friars and sisters. There is hardly any electricity on the premises and so cooking is usually done with firewood. As up to 1,000 pupils have to be fed here in Shanti Nagar alone, firewood is a considerable cost factor. Thanks to the biogas plant, the priests are way more self-sufficient and can use the money saved to feed the children better. With our new biogas plant, we are thus making a valuable contribution to sustainable and ecological self-sufficiency.

By the way: Our local partners have already made a lot of positive experiences with the use of biogas. A smaller plant has been located at the old buffalo stable for years, from where it supplies the girls' hostel with gas. This plant is also still in use.

By students for students

A central pillar of our support network are school sponsorships, which were concluded between German and Indian schools. A total of nine partner schools are currently supported by IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V. The idea behind it is always the same: pupils should be sensitised to the different realities of life on this planet, should recognise their own privileges and take on social responsibility.

Charity and the knowledge that one's own actions can lead to sustainable solutions are central values that are promoted in this way. Regular activities for the respective partner school, teaching content, letter contacts and last but not least possible (and partly already undertaken) visits to India keep our school partnerships alive. In addition, Father Franklin comes to visit almost every year and does not miss the opportunity to tell the German students about the wishes, hopes and gratitude of his children.

2018 / 2019: Dormitory for our training centre

Between 100 and 200 children can be admitted to Father Franklin's schools and hostels each year, and at least as many have to leave the facilities at the age of 15. Thanks to years of schooling, they have a better chance on the job market, but without a solid education, many remain trapped in the poverty spiral of hunger, fear and exploitation. The problem: there is no education system in India as there is in Germany. Those who find work learn what they have to do and are completely at the mercy of their superiors. Employment contracts or even certificates are not available, especially in the lower classes.

Through our various training projects, we are able to offer a small percentage of students real career prospects - but by no means to all of them. In order to find a sustainable solution in the long term, we have been planning our own job training center Bhopal (BBZB) for years, where former students are trained in business and technical professions.

Between 100 and 200 children can be admitted to Father Franklin's schools and hostels each year, and at least as many have to leave the facilities at the age of 15. Thanks to years of schooling, they have a better chance on the job market, but without a solid education, many remain trapped in the poverty spiral of hunger, fear and exploitation. The problem: there is no education system in India as there is in Germany. Those who find work learn what they have to do and are completely at the mercy of their superiors. Employment contracts or even certificates are not available, especially in the lower classes.

Through our various training projects, we are able to offer a small percentage of students real career prospects - but by no means to all of them. In order to find a sustainable solution in the long term, we have been planning our own job training center Bhopal (BBZB) for years, where former students are trained in business and technical professions.

2018 / 2019: Vocational Training Centre Bhopal

"Education against poverty" is our approach, which we currently want to implement with the largest and most extensive project in the history of our association. We are planning our own vocational Training Centre Bhopal (BBZB), in which Franklin's pupils will be trained in business and technical professions, thus providing them with a secure path out of poverty.

The background: Every year, 100 to 200 students have to leave Franklin's schools and hostels to make room for newly admitted children. To prevent them from falling back into the spiral of hunger, fear and exploitation, they need good vocational training, which in India costs money and is reserved for higher classes. The boys usually only have the option of working as day labourers, the girls have to marry and are exploited by their husbands' families.

In order to avert this fate, the idea of setting up a training centre was born as early as in 2015. Through private contacts we met three architecture students from the University of Weimar in 2017, who had already accompanied various development projects abroad. Hanna Idstein, Anne-Kathrin Müller and Bernardo Villagra were immediately enthusiastic and flew to India the same year to kick off the project with Father Franklin and his friars.

Fortunately, the Order had a suitable plot of land and after many discussions with local architects and construction companies, they went back to Germany to plan the centre architecturally and complete it in a model. In three construction phases, a college was to be built with dormitories, teachers' apartments, a cafeteria, library and lecture halls, which would ultimately offer space for up to 1,000 students. 1.2 million euros had been budgeted for the construction and start-up financing, but in the long term, BBZB was to be financed by tuition fees, as half of the study places were also to be allocated to students from higher classes.

The planning for 2018 is now underway: Funding applications were written, a separate project brochure was produced and the BVMW was won as a cooperation partner. The network of potential supporters expanded and in June 2018 we were able to receive the first major grant of 74,000 euros from the RTL foundation "Wir helfen Kindern". This money will be used in a first step to finance the dormitory for the future female students.

In the fall of 2018, Prior Father Attley gave us the go-ahead for this first phase, so that construction work could begin in spring 2019. However, there is still a long way to go until the final completion, which we can only do together with as many supporters as possible. Help us so that with the new BBZB we can release thousands of former street children and orphans over many generations into a secure future without fear and poverty.

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2018: Construction of the second well

The well on the extensive school grounds of the Father Agnel School in Shantinagar was drying up increasingly, so that the water supply for the animals, the plantations and especially the children in the three hostels was endangered. Fortunately, a long-standing partner of IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V., the Caspari winery, provided the funds for a new well.

After experts had found a suitable place on the property, Father Franklin blessed the project and prayed together with the children for plenty of water. In the summer of 2018, the excavation work began, initially with an excavator and later by hand through the stony ground. At a depth of 42 meters, the precious groundwater was finally found, which is now transported upwards by a motorized pump.

After the well shaft has been secured with a grid, it will hopefully provide enough water for a long time, which is urgently needed for irrigation, cooking and drinking and of course for our newly built buffalo farm on the premises.

Since there is no public drinking water supply in India, wells are often the only way to get life-giving water. The friars of the Pilar Fathers know many places in the surrounding slums or remote village communities where a well would be an infinitely precious and unforgettable gift.

2018: We start a buffalo farm

Those who have already visited Father Franklin's schools may also know the two water buffalos of Father Agnel School. The milk of these peaceful and frugal animals is used to feed the children, although two water buffalos are not enough regarding the hundreds of boys and girls. This is to change now, because after the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has answered our application for funding positively, nothing stands in the way of building a large herd of buffalo.

Construction work on the stables, which will initially accommodate 25 water buffaloes, has been underway since summer 2018. The costs are not inconsiderable, especially since two shepherds had to be hired to care for and, above all, guard the precious animals.

2017-2019: Establishement of a school beekeeping

Bees produce precious honey - with comparatively little care. Therefore, the idea of establishing an own beekeeping at the Father Agnel School in India already came up in 2014. The school would thus be able to build up an important source of income through honey production. More important, however, would be the possibility to train the students as beekeepers and thus offer them a professional perspective. Since the honey produced would also have to be marketed, the girls and boys would also gain business management knowledge which they could use for their future careers.

Over the years, a more precise concept was developed, and, above all, a viable financing system was established. The costs for the construction of a beekeeping building, basic technical equipment and 10 bee colonies were financed by the BINGO Environmental Foundation and private donations.

Parallel to the construction work, three of Franklin's former students were trained as beekeepers at the Beekeeping Institute in Bhopal, the "Madhya Pradesh State Agro Industries Development Corporation Limited". Under the direction of Father Joachim, they will take care of the construction, operation and training within the beekeeping. Since autumn 2018 the first bee colonies have been flying through Bhopal and are helping diligently to give the children a better future.

Parallel to the construction work, three of Franklin's former students were trained as beekeepers at the Beekeeping Institute in Bhopal, the "Madhya Pradesh State Agro Industries Development Corporation Limited". Under the direction of Father Joachim, they will take care of the construction, operation and training within the beekeeping. Since autumn 2018 the first bee colonies have been flying through Bhopal and are helping diligently to give the children a better future.

2017: Second lychee project for indigenous people

In the spring of 2017, two trucks set off again on their long journey to the remote villages of the Adhivasi. These highly discriminated indigenous people of India have been supported by the Pilar Fathers for many years. Bad harvests and mafia-style landowners drive people to the cities again and again, where they are sure to fall into poverty. Especially children have to flee from their families when they can no longer feed them. Litchi trees,

which provide families with a reliable source of food and income have proven to be a good development project. Together with the Erbacher Foundation, 8,850 seedlings were once again able to be put on the road.

After the local markets were bought, the long journey through the jungle finally ended with the handover of the coveted plants. The accompanying priests blessed the newly planted seedlings, which hopefully will grow into huge and productive lychee trees thanks to good care.

2016: Water filters save lives

Although the facilities of the Pilar Fathers in Bhopal are equipped with deep wells, the water quality has sometimes been borderline. Especially the monsoon rains washed a lot of dirt into the wells, intestinal diseases severely affected the smallest and weakest children. A practicable solution to the problem did not seem to be in sight for a long time until we became aware of a portable water filter that the University of Kassel had developed for disaster relief. This so-called PAUL (Portable Aqua Unit for Lifesaving) filters even bacteria and viruses out of the water without electricity or chemicals, using only gravity and highly effective micro-membranes. A single unit can manage a whole 1,200 liters per day over a period of more than 10 years.

Convinced that we had found the right solution, we called for donations and submitted a successful funding application to the Lower Saxony-based BINGO Environmental Foundation. A total of 10 water filters made their way to India, where they were distributed to the various schools, hostels and the leper colony. Franklin, the local educators and of course the children were enthusiastic about how easily and quickly dirty brackish water can be transformed into clear and healthy drinking water. In view of this success, of course, numerous ideas came up as to where else more PAULs could be set up in order to improve the livelihood of the local people quite considerably. The need is enormous and if enough supporters can be found, the next water filters will surely go to Bhopal soon.

2015: Litchi trees secure food

Litchi trees need little care, are very durable and produce many fruits that can be eaten or sold at local markets. A small seedling does not cost much, but over the years it provides an important source of income. This sustainable approach also convinced the Erbacher Foundation, so that together with private donors we were able to buy around 7,500 mini-trees and distribute them to schools and remote village communities.

For the children and families, the seedlings represent an easy and safe way to significantly improve their living situation. A five-year-old tree already bears up to four kilos of fruit, which can yield around 220 rupees at local markets. With 25 trees, a family can earn an additional income of 5,500 rupees per year (approx. 75 euros). The yield of the trees increases from year to year, so that a 20-year-old tree already produces up to 150 kg of fruit and maintains this yield for many decades. In the ideal case, a family with 25 fully-grown lychee trees can thus market 3,750 kg of fruit per year, which corresponds to a profit of around 206,250 rupees or 2,800 euros.

2015: Strong emergency aid after crop failure

To feed the many students, the Pilar Fathers maintain various gardens and wheat fields, where the children are always eager to help. In 2015, a devastating catastrophe occurred: shortly before the harvest, the wheat field burned down completely. Whether it was arson or an accident could never be clarified. In any case, the grains collected from the ashes were far from sufficient to feed the children.In an urgent letter Father Franklin turned to the IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V., because he feared for the health and life of his children. His request met with an incredible wave of helpfulness. In just a few days, around 4,000 Euro have been collected

from which not only food, but also new seeds could be bought. For the friars and especially the children it was an important sign that they could rely on the help of their German friends.

In general, seeds play an important role in our project donations. Because it enables a school, a family or even a village community to take their fate into their own hands and to develop sustainably in terms of self-sufficiency.

Since 2015: Training as a nurse

For many girls in the care of the Pilar Fathers it is a long-cherished dream to become a nurse's aide or even a fully trained nurse. One reason for this is that they would like to pass on the gift of charity they have experienced and help other people. On the other hand, this training opens up good career prospects for them with relatively fair pay - and thus the chance to lead a self-determined life.

The young women are trained at St. Josefs Hospital in Hosangabad in the Bhopal district. Since there is no training system comparable to that in Germany, the women have to pay for their own living expenses or training costs. This is an impossible burden for our former students, who are therefore compulsorily dependent on German training mentors. Each godfather can finance either the one-year training as a helper or the three-year training as a qualified nurse. He or she will receive regular information as well as a copy of the graduation certificate and can be sure of one thing: a certain person will never forget this good deed - for a lifetime.

2015: Own sewing school is built

The many girls who enjoy a relatively carefree childhood in the Pilar Fathers schools often face a difficult future as young women. Forced marriages, domestic violence and even dowry killings are unfortunately not uncommon, especially for girls in the lower social classes. The labour market is also decidedly male-dominated, so that unskilled women are often exploited and hardly ever paid fairly.

In 2015, we built our own sewing school on the grounds of the Father Agnel School in Shanti Nagar with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in order to offer young women career prospects. A trained seamstress from Germany flew to India for 6 weeks to help with the construction and provide technical support for the project.

Since then, up to 60 former schoolgirls are trained as seamstresses every year. After one year they have learned all the skills and are given their own sewing machine as a gift in addition to their certified diploma. Together with fabrics and other utensils, this sewing machine forms the starting capital with which the young women can build a self-determined existence.

Part of the concept is that our new seamstresses are not exploited in the sewing factories of western companies, but earn their living as independent seamstresses in the slums or even villages. This central step towards a better life is made possible by German sewing sponsors, who cover the costs for the one-year training as well as for the final starter set.

Since 2014: Patrons provide a childhood

Due to limited funds, the Pilar Fathers can only take in a certain number of street children and orphans each year. The costs for a daily meal, safe accommodation, medical care, clothing and schooling are covered solely by donations. The best gift for the children is a sponsorship, which secures their care and gives them a carefree childhood.

Over the years, IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V. has already been able to arrange 103 child sponsorships. It is absolutely guaranteed that every donated Euro is used 100% for the intended purpose.

Since 2014: Goats for indigenous families in the village

The Adhivasi, a tribe of indigenous people, is heavily stigmatized and kept away from education and social advancement. Their life is accordingly poor and without prospects. The consequences are rural exodus, serfdom and a high suicide rate. The Pilar Fathers have been trying for years to improve the living conditions of these people.

Since 2014, IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V. has been giving female goats to particularly poor families in a village community. The goats are robust and do not need much care. As soon as the first offspring are born, the milk can be used for their own nutrition or for sale or exchange. Male offspring may be slaughtered, but female offspring are given away to another family in the village.

Due to its efficient and sustainable impact, the project was supported by the high school “In der Wüste” (Osnabrück) and 100 goats were handed over.

Since 2014: Technical training courses at GTTI

The Gedee Technical Training Istitute (GTTI) in Coimbatore, which was set up from Germany, provides young people with a very good technical education based on the German model. The IHK-certified training model has been successfully implemented for many years in cooperation between the GTTI and the German company GDW Werkzeugmaschinen Herzogenaurach GmbH. Since 2014, we have been enabling our best school graduates to train as mechatronics engineers or welders, financed by donations. In line with our motto "Education against poverty", boys and - since 2016 - also girls receive a six-month or three-year training in a technical profession.

This final certificate opens up above-average career prospects for them and corresponding earning opportunities, with which they can also support their families. Since there is no training system financed by the state or by companies, the costs for lessons, accommodation and meals are financed by German training sponsors. All graduates have found well-paid jobs and have agreed to donate 10% of their salary to support further street children and orphans.

2013: Construction of the first well

The kindergartens, schools, hostels as well as the leper colony built by the Christian order of Pilar Fathers in Bhopal have to supply themselves with drinking water, as there is no publicly accessible supply network. Thanks to a generous private donation, we were able to finance our own 60-meter-deep well for the first time in 2013. An own pumping unit transports the water to the surface, where it is used for washing, cooking, irrigation and drinking.

However, as the need for water increases over time due to the more children admitted and the overall growth in projects, further wells will have to be built in the long term. In addition, Father Franklin maintains close relationships with the village communities in the surrounding area, some of which are extremely poor. If a donation for the construction of a deep well is raised, different locations can be considered, depending on the urgency of the situation, which can also be discussed with the donor.

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Only 5,- € is the price for the amount of rice needed to feed a child in India for one month.