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We Are All Connected – Field Blog #1

15 February 2012

It’s our third day in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India. It’s so great to be back this year and see all the children at Jeanamithab and Sunway—the two orphanages we support. The orphanages have made great use of the items we bought last year such as benches for classrooms, tables and a water pump.

This year, through the hard work of our volunteers and your donations, we have $12,000 to spend. And as always, every dollar we raise goes directly to helping the children here.

It’s only been a few days, but Navi and I wasted no time as we immediately started purchasing items for both orphanages including fabric for the student uniforms, plates, undergarments and wiring materials for lighting. We still have many items to purchase over the next 10 days – food for a month, medicine, wood for making beds, shoes, kitchen utensils, etc.

Ten days may sound like a long time to buy supplies, but it takes a lot of time and patience to go through the process of making purchases from small shops in Bodh Gaya. India is very different from Canada in terms of pace and service.

Unlike in Canada where you can easily purchase an item from a store, in India, the process of buying is a lot more complex. First, you have to source various businesses, then you negotiate a price, and finally, you hope that you aren’t overpaying. While the process can be laborious, it is the only way to do business here.  This particular difference between Western and Indian culture is what makes it so hard for charities to set up shop in Bihar.Unless you are willing to adopt the practices of the local culture, it is very difficult to earn a positive reputation as a credible organization. This fact alone is what makes Paper Kite unique—we are cognizant of the cultural differences and actively use this knowledge to build trust with the local community.

The rest of our time is focused around purchasing supplies and spending time with the children at both orphanages. Thanks for reading and watch here for more updates!

Navi, Paper Kite Volunteer
Tarik, Paper Kite President & Founder

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