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Archive for January, 2011

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Health cards for two crore schoolchildren in Bihar

Patna, Jan 28 (PTI) The Bihar government will provide health cards to over two crore school children to ensure regular check-ups and treatment for them.
“We have taken steps for providing more than two crore school children in the age group of 6 years to 14 years with health cards … The scheme will be made effective from March 22, which would be celebrated as Bihar Diwas,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said today.
“Whatever expenses will be incurred on the preparation of the health cards will be borne by the state government, which accords top priority to the health sector in its programme for good governance,” he said while addressing a gathering after flagging off the ”Gram Siksha Chetna Yatra” from historic Gandhi Maidan here.
The human resource development department of the state will help assist the health department in the work, he added.
Deputy Chief Minister S K Modi, Health Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Principal Secretary (Health) Amarjeet Sinha participated in the programme.



Helping Dreams Come True

Today I spent the day celebrating India Republic day with the children from Jeanamitabh. We had a picnic in Dharamn Park, one of many places Buddha meditated. I really bonded with the children – we sang songs, danced and took many pictures. The children love cameras. I met Rajesh, a 15 year old boy living at the orphanage. He is physically disabled from the chest down and does not have a wheelchair. He lies on a blanket all day and is carried by four other boys in the orphanage to go to classes and meals. I gave him my chai tea and he insisted that I drink half with him while we chatted. He is a very positive and happy boy. When he grows up, he wants to be a doctor to help poor children. Rajesh is one of many children Paper Kite supports. Like many of us, he has hope that one day he will achieve his dreams.

I’m sad to say that on this trip we will not be able buy Rajesh a wheelchair because we do not have enough money. It is challenging to see so many disadvantaged people, especially children, when we are so fortunate to live in a world of plenty. It is my dream that no child will go hungry and without love or care. Love can come in many forms. As you can see, donations are making a long-term difference in the children’s lives. As well, volunteering your time so selflessly speaks volumes.

At Paper Kite’s last volunteer meeting I asked a question that is hard to answer initially without thought. I will ask you all the same question in hopes that you understand why Paper Kite exists. Why should anyone care about helping children halfway across the world?

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One bench at a time…

Kneeing or sitting down to work and eat is a common practice in India. Chairs and tables are rarely used for working and eating. However, it has been reported by the orphanages that tables and chairs are needed for students to do their school work. One of the four programs Paper Kite supports is Education. Jeanamitabh Orphanage and School, one of the orphanages we are assisting this year, is expanding in order to take in more children. Currently, there are 900 children on a waiting list. In the newly built classrooms, the children are sitting on the ground while attending school. Our Board has approved purchasing joint tables and benches for the six new classrooms. I went with the Director and Founder to purchase the wood and bolts that will be used to construct the table and benches. Over the next week, the table and benches will be fabricated and put into the classrooms.

This is one of many items that Paper Kite will be purchasing in order to provide basic necessities for the children. Education is important in order to end the cycle of poverty. Jeanamitabh’s motto is ‘To save one child is to save the world.’ I have witnessed them doing that. Paper Kite is supporting this fully functional orphanage that provides a home and education on-site to each child. Jeanamitabh has sent eleven orphans to college and university. This is an orphanage that is making a difference from beginning to end for the children. We are proud to partner with Jeanamitabh and jointly assist the children in achieving their dreams. Paper Kite works closely with the orphanages while ensuring that we are not imposing our cultural beliefs.

Paper Kite is very fortunate to have volunteer skilled professionals on our Board. To name a few, we have a labour lawyer, a registered bookkeeper, a registered social worker and a financial analyst on our Team. Paper Kite has a strong team of volunteers to help raise funds to support the orphanages. It is the dedication, commitment and compassion of the volunteers which allows us to achieve our goals. Paper Kite has no paid employees or office costs. We strive to have our small operation costs paid by a donor or sponsor, as was done in 2009. Any amount that you can donate will make a difference in the children’s lives. Alternatively, you can contribute a monthly recurring amount or donate in honour of someone on our website. A tax receipt will be emailed to you. Donate here

Over the next few days our Board will be deciding which items we are able to provide to the remaining orphanages based on our four programs. The items will have a direct impact on the growth and success of the children. Thank you for reading and please stay tuned for more updates :)

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Accountability and Transparency

I’m writing this blog in one of the few wireless internet cafés in Bodhgaya. I’m happy to tell you that I have been to all three orphanages that we are supporting this year in the last couple of days. I confirmed the needs of each orphanage based on our previous visit in 2010. The needs are in line with our four programs (proper nutrition, clean water, education, health and welfare).

In order to ensure that our efforts directly benefit the children, no money will be given directly to these orphanages. As such, the orphanages have signed service agreements stating that donated goods will be used solely for the benefit of children residing in the orphanage and the orphanage will monitor and verify items donated by Paper Kite. I will be purchasing the items myself and ensure they are delivered to the orphanages. In the Fall, another Paper Kite volunteer will be coming back to ensure the orphanages are fulfilling our service agreement. Paper Kite has been built on accountability and transparency.

I’m happy to let you know that Paper Kite, through the hard work of the volunteers and your donations, is able to spend $12,000 this year on items for the orphanage. Items we will be purchasing will support the expansion of the orphanages to allow for more orphans. Paper Kite is 100% volunteer run and we do not have any government grants or major sponsors. Our volunteers have raised the $12,000 that we are using here in Bihar, India. As well, I have paid for my own travel and expenses. We rely on donations and support from people like you. As a grassroot charity, like many non-profits, we have dedicated volunteers working with limited resources. I founded Paper Kite on the basis of a need I witnessed two years ago here in Bodhgaya. Gaining trust from the public is one of our biggest challenges – with good understanding. Please take the time to navigate our website; see the need, see the pictures, and see our dedicated volunteers. We are accountable to you! Thank you for believing and supporting our cause. Please know we are making every effort to ensure all of your donations make it to the orphanages in the form of items needed.

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From Bodhgaya, Bihar, India

For the past two days I have been travelling from Toronto, Ontario to Bodhgaya, Bihar, India. 14 hours of flights and 14 hours on train. I’m actually writing this on the train while we are two hours behind schedule. It has been a long journey, but one worth taking. In Canada, I have become accustomed to getting information instantaneously either through the computer or my iPhone. Saving time and getting things done in an efficient manner is very important to Western society. Just the other day I was telling my friend I wanted to upgrade my 3G iPhone to the iPhone 4 simply because it is faster. Two years ago, the last time I was at an ashram in India, I remember getting frustrated at how I was expected to collect leaves on the ground. I was given tree branches tied together to gather the leaves. Three hours into the task I was saying to myself, if I had a rake I could have been done in 30 minutes. I soon realized that finishing the task in an optimal time was not important. It led me to realize how much stress I take on because of time. Being in the moment without stressing about time and truly focusing on the task was a challenge. Unlearning the importance of completing everything within a prescribed time was hard. I’m not saying that time is not important, rather, what I do in that time is more important. Being in the moment and clearing my mind in order to truly focus on the task was what I discovered I needed to do. We’ve all heard it’s the journey, not the destination. I think it’s hard to focus on the journey rather than the destination because we have an idea of what the destination is going to be. The journey could change in a blink of an eye, but we are able to still focus on the destination. Having traveled through India once before has helped shape this journey. However, there is a repeating theme to my trips which I will present to you in a form of a question. I’m curious to hear your responses. So I leave you with this: If the cup is half full, how do you fill the rest of the cup?


2011 Orphanages

Paper Kite has recently received approval from our Board to assist with the expansion of two orphanages in Bodhgaya, Bihar in February 2011. In 2010, our Executive Director evaluated the orphanages in Bodhgaya to ensure that they are properly operated and are truly in need of our four programs (proper nutrition, clean water, education, health and welfare).

Tarik Kadri, our President and Founder, along with Johannes Jenkner, a Paper Kite volunteer, will be traveling to Bihar in February 2011 in order to implement our programs.  During this time they will be purchasing items from local villages in order to meet the orphanages’ needs, while supporting the local economy. In order to ensure that our efforts directly benefit the children, no money will be given directly to these orphanages. Also note that Tarik and Johannes are graciously subsidizing 100% of all travel expenses incurred during this field exercise including airfare and accommodations.

The following are the 2 orphanages of Bihar which Paper Kite will be assisting during our upcoming implementation program. Throughout the month of February 2011 please visit our site frequently in order to track our progress and witness the results of your support!

Jeanamitabh:In 2002 Jeanne PERE, a retired French teacher, decided to get involved in helping fifty small children. These children lost in the streets of Bodhgaya, begging, starving, and shivering from the cold, painted the honest picture of Bihar – one of the poorest regions of India.

Today, “Mummy Jee”, as she is called by the children and the people of Bodhgaya, and the small team of “Jeanamitabh Welfare Trust” are giving dignity back to those children in need. Jeanamitabh operates a boarding school of 200 students, along with 7 primary schools in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand.  Their programs include education for the children, along with medical care and social development for the villagers.

Sunway:Founded in 2004 by Yrsa S. Grüning, Sunway operates two orphanages which house 75 children aged 3-17 years.  Most of the children at these orphanages have lost one or both parents, and all come from low caste or untouchables. In addition, Sunway operates a school with 40 students and two adult classes.

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