The safe way out of poverty: Vocational Training Centre Bhopal (BBZB)

"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, however, costs money and is reserved for higher classes. The boys usually only have the option of working as day laborer, 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 has 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 "We help children". This money will be used in a first step to finance the dormitory for the future female students.

In fall 2018, Prior Father Attley gave us the go-ahead for this first phase, so that construction work could begin in spring 2019. But 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.

 Donate now for a 3-year training

2. sewing schools

Life from the silken thread: Sewing schools provide security

In many places in India women are considered second class. Especially in the lower classes, the birth of a girl is considered a hard blow of fate. Not infrequently, girls are rejected, sold, abused, receive less food and less medical care. Their mortality rate is correspondingly much higher than that of boys.

Daughters are married very early, with the husband's family insisting on high dowry payments and absolute obedience. Unfortunately, there are also frequent dowry killings, in which the young bride dies in an "accident" and makes room for a new marriage with a new dowry. Many young women also choose suicide as a last resort, of their own or someone else's own accord.

The girls Franklin takes in between the ages of 2 and 4 enjoy a carefree childhood and have a much easier time than their peers in this respect. As soon as they have to leave school, however, many of them catch up with their own origins. Many are forced into marriage and exploited by their husbands and their families.

In 2015, IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V. built the first sewing school on the school railing of the Pilar Fathers in Shanti Nagar. Our volunteer seamstress Mrs. Heumann flew to India and accompanied the course construction. Since then 30 young women are trained as seamstresses every year. At the end of their training they receive a certificate and their own sewing machine and equipment.

3. Suitcase project

A suitcase full of hope: the beginning of a new life

The lives of the children that Franklin welcomes into his schools and hostels each year are very different. Some lived on the streets, some were expelled by their families, some were born in the leper colony of the Pilar Fathers, and some were abandoned by relatives. What they all have in common is that they do not own much more than the clothes on their bodies.

Those who have made it and are accepted by the Pilar Fathers receive a basic supply of things they need for their future life. The list includes, for example, a sleeping mat and a blanket, a toothbrush and a comb, a tin plate and a mug, trousers, a schoolbook, writing utensils and much more. So that these things don't fly around or attract covetous glances, each child also receives his or her own lockable metal suitcase to accompany them throughout their school career and beyond.

4. One Meal a Day

Staying alive with one meal a day

Although the Pilar Fathers focus their Christian charity on the food and education of street children and orphans, they have also been maintaining a classical feeding of the poor in the streets of Calcutta for many years. "One Meal a Day" is the name of the project, which in the spirit of Mother Theresa saves people from starvation every day.

For us from the IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V. the support of this project is not without contradictions. We actually want to free people from poverty in a sustainable and safe way, which is not the primary goal of feeding the poor. Nevertheless, we have consciously decided to support "One Meal a Day".

There are several reasons for this: Firstly, a regular feeding of the poor can actually increase the chance of escaping the poverty spiral. Thanks to the project, children in particular suffer less from deficiency symptoms and with a healthy body they have better opportunities to make their way in life. On the other hand, the subjective increase in value is enormous: One has to be aware that a few euros, which may be enough for two hours of parking here, mean the difference between life and death in India.

5. Water filter PAUL

Crystal clear improvement: drinking water through water filters

In a country with 1.3 billion inhabitants and temperatures that regularly exceed the 40-degree mark, there is no public drinking water supply. River water is often heavily contaminated, leaving groundwater as the only reasonably reliable source of water. Thanks to German supporters, Father Franklin equipped his central schools and hostels with deep wells years ago.

But the water quality is poor. Again and again Franklin told us that small children or lepers became seriously ill or died due to contaminated water. In order to boil the water completely, there was no fuel, money for chemical cleaning and other cleaning facilities depended on electricity, which is not steadily available in the facilities of Pilar Fathers.

In 2016 we found a practical solution to this problem. The University of Kassel had developed a portable water filter that was actually designed for disaster relief. The basic idea: if remote regions are cut off after a disaster, this water filter can be brought there on foot if necessary. On site, it purifies the water completely without chemicals or electricity, using gravity alone, and thus produces up to 1,200 liters of drinking water per day. The blue lifesavers were named PAUL (Portable Aqua Unit for Lifesaving).

6. Wells

Deep wells secure life

The sinking groundwater level is a huge problem in India, which is becoming increasingly acute. Since the extraction is hardly regulated by law, Western companies in particular are pumping enormous quantities out of the ground, which are then used for the production of export goods. Increasingly hot spells and precipitation due to climate change make it more and more difficult to get hold of the precious water.

Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, own deep wells are the only way to get enough water. Thanks to his German friends, Franklin owns several such wells, two of which alone were financed by the IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V. But even though his children are thus provided with a reasonable degree of security, every day Franklin sees the misery to which the lack of water leads. Since there is no public drinking water supply, many people in the surrounding slums are forced to draw their water from stagnant or flowing waters.

Not least because of the worst chemical disaster in human history, which occurred here in the 1980s, the surface waters around Bhopal are heavily contaminated. The uninhibited use of pesticides in agriculture and the lack of sewage systems contribute to the fact that many people have to drink contaminated water.

7th Leprosy Ashram

A home for the outcast

Leprosy is a bacterial infectious disease that can be treated very well with antibiotics. In all countries with good health care, it is therefore almost completely defeated. In India, unfortunately, there is no such care, so that the disease continues to claim countless lives.

The main problem, however, lies less in the course of the disease than in the social ostracism with which every "leper" is punished. Those who fall ill with leprosy are completely isolated from their social environment. They lose their job and must also leave their family immediately, if they want to protect them from discrimination and exclusion. The consequences of this exclusion are obvious: those affected try to hide the disease for as long as possible, which minimizes the chance of recovery and increases the risk of new infections. This isolation is even sadder when one realizes that leprosy is not only curable, but also hardly infectious if a certain amount of hygiene is respected. Leprosy sufferers in India do not go to the doctor, but end up on the streets, where they live from and in the rubbish and perish miserably.

8. Agricultural projects

Sustainability through intelligent self-sufficiency

The Pilar Fathers not only run schools and hostels in Bhopal, but also take care of remote village communities of the Adhivasi, indigenous people of India who suffer severe social discrimination. These people cannot read and write and are helplessly at the mercy of criminal landowners and crop failures.

Both the schools in Bhopal and the indigenous village communities produce most of the food they need themselves. There are fields and plantations, gardens and farm animals, which are tended and nurtured at the various locations. This form of self-sufficiency creates a certain independence but is also not without risks. In 2015, for example, the fire in a field put the nutrition of hundreds of children on the line.

For these and other reasons, we are always trying to improve the food base for these people. The planting of mango, banana and, above all, lychee trees has proved to be particularly effective in this respect. Over the years, thousands of these seedlings have been bought and given away. The first harvests are promising and help the people to feed themselves.

With the right care, a lychee tree reaches a proud age and then yields up to 150 kg of fruit per year, which can be eaten, but also sold at local markets. It takes time until then, but even a five-year-old tree can provide four kilos of the healthy and delicious fruit.

9. Nurses

Sharing the good: Dream job nurse

Each year hundreds of students leave Father Franklin's hostels and schools, facing an uncertain future. They often have no choice but to enter into an arranged marriage, where, unfortunately, they are often subjected to oppression and violence. In order to avoid this fate, Franklin, together with German donors, tries to provide as many women as possible with a good professional education.

For many years he has been working successfully with St. Josefs Hospital in Hosangabad, where the young women are trained as nurses. Since the three-year or one-year training costs money, this great dream cannot be fulfilled by all school leavers. Only the best from each year's class can enjoy this great opportunity in life.

The profession of a nurse is one of the few that is open to women from lower classes in India and is relatively fairly paid. In his annual report, Franklin writes us in detail which girls have successfully completed their training and where they have found employment. The earnings from a nurse's job are often enough to help their own family or to build up their own modest fortune.

10. Buffalo farm

We start a buffalo farm

Altogether, the Pilar Fathers provide food for thousands of children and young people in Bhopal alone, who without this help would be threatened by acute hunger. Father Franklin is centrally dependent on donations from Germany for this food. If the money is not forthcoming, the children's daily meals is sparser. To ensure that at least the minimum need is covered in an emergency, the order cultivates its own gardens, fields and fruit plantations near its schools. Stables for poultry or rabbits can also be found in many locations. This form of self-sufficiency creates a little independence, but remains risky if, for example, droughts or fires destroy the harvest.

In order to build up more supply security at this point, IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V. has been building its own farm for water buffaloes since 2018. Supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, a stable for initially 25 animals is being built on the school grounds in Shanti Nagar, which can be further expanded depending on the development.

Water buffalos are widespread in Asia and are both frugal and productive domestic animals. An adult buffalo cow produces up to 16 litres of milk per day. Buffalo milk not only tastes delicious, it is also twice as rich in fat as cow's milk and has a much longer shelf life, even in an uncooled state. A complete herd of buffalo would therefore be a valuable mainstay to ensure a healthy diet for the children in the long term.

11. Beekeeping

Hardworking feeding helper: Our school beekeeping is buzzing!

The starting point for this project was Father Franklin's visit to the high school “In der Wüste” in Osnabrück. For years, the partner school has been home to a very successful student company "BidW", which produces, markets and sells its own honey. In 2015, the beekeeping project was even awarded the title of best student company in Germany. Franklin was impressed by the skills of the students and even more by the richness and taste of the honey and so the idea to build a similar company at the Indian partner school was born.

A school beekeeping in India would not only teach basic skills in beekeeping, sales and marketing, but would also contribute directly to the nutrition and financing of the school. Former pupils would also have the opportunity to learn the beekeeping trade and build a professional future.

Right from the start, the pupils of "BidW" have supported the project with a lot of enthusiasm and good ideas. After all, the aim was not only to compile information on beekeeping, but above all on the organisation and the business management processes and learning content and to prepare it for the Indian partners.

12. Health care

Medical care for the poorest of the poor

When Franklin came to Bhopal in the 1980s, the region suffered the worst chemical accident in human history. A devastating catastrophe occurred at a chemical plant belonging to the US company UNION CARBIDE, which caused large quantities of poisonous gas to escape and spread through the neighboring slums. Hundreds of thousands of people died miserably, went blind, were crippled and are still suffering the worst long-term effects.

Although the company is partly to blame for the accident due to low safety regulations and high work pressure, adequate reparations were never made. In 1989, the company paid 470 million euros to the Indian state, but the money never reached the people affected. Even today, large areas of the soil and water are contaminated with mercury and carcinogenic chemicals. Despite the manageable costs, no remediation is planned. The consequences of chemical poisoning include blindness, brain damage, paralysis, pulmonary oedema, heart, stomach, kidney and liver disease, infertility and malformations in newborns.

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

Einkaufen. Gutes tun.

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