GoPhilanthropic’s Lydia Dean and donor Heather Kilian visit the Brickyards of Kolhapur, India where thousands are trapped in a cycle of bonded labor. Partnering with AVANI and WCRC (Women’s and Child Rights Campaign), they see the powerful result of GoPhilanthropic’s donations at work.
Two hundred kilometers south of Mumbai sits the working city of Kolhapur, far off any tourist track and home to miles of brickyards and sugarcane plantations. For 5 months out of the year migrant populations make their way to Kolhapur where they work grueling shifts in the brickyards, carrying tons of weight on their heads under the burning sun. Men earn just over a dollar a day and women .70 cents. Since these wages are not sufficient enough to live off of during the rest of the year, the brickyard owners pay their migrants workers enough for the remainder of the year. While this may seem like a decent arrangement, it’s a way of trapping them in a cycle of debt they will never be free of. Worse yet, many children of these migrant families are also expected to work in the yards. In this region alone, a shocking 35,000 children are employed by local industries.
|We attend a village WCRC meeting where women are taught their rights|
|school being taught under a tarp|
But the visit goes well beyond seeing our funds at work…
These visits are critical for GoPhilanthropic on a number of levels. We are able to see and get a feel for the importance of the work real-time–from here we need to carry this precious message back home to those who have donated towards the efforts. Bringing to life people behind these programs is at the core of what we do–sometimes bearing a heavy responsibility. The visits are bitter-sweet. On the one hand we get to see the hope that these programs bring, yet on the flip-side we come home knowing how much work there is to be done, how large the divide is between the world we live in and what others live. The week before our arrival, the mother of two of the girls at AVANI had been burned by her husband and killed. We meet with her two young girls who reside at AVANI residential home. They are in shock. So are we.
|Heather hands out healthy snacks in a brickyard classroom|
During our visit Heather Kilian was able to visit the brickyard schools she funded for the 5 month brick-making season. Forty-five children can now attend school as a result. The impact of her contribution no doubt became very real as she entered the tiny room packed with children who would otherwise have been carrying bricks on their heads. $250 = schooling for 45 children for 5 months.
GoPhilanthropic believes that making a difference goes well beyond providing funding. It comes in the form of a genuine partnership–helping organizations become strong and sustainable, sharing whatever knowledge we may have in order to do so. It means sitting on the floor over home-cooked meals with Anuradha exchanging ideas for the best ways to overcome some of their challenges in the field. Do we have answers that help them? At times yes, at times no. On many a trip I have felt that simply listening has helped. Sometimes we are able to share how our other nonprofit partners are approaching similar challenges in other countries. It is here that philanthropy takes on its real meaning–an investment of ideas and resources that cannot be found in a checkbook.
Donate to WCRC or AVANI Every dollar counts and we will make sure 100% of gets put to critical use.
Thank you to all the donors that make this important work possible.
|GoPhil funded rickshaw that provides WCRC with needed access and transport into villages. Unfortunately it’s in bad shape after 2 years of harsh roads and a lot of mileage. We are looking for funding for new modes of transport.|
|Touring Kolhapur’s brickyards where thousands are trapped in a cycle of bonded labor.|
Scott Kafora left a successful career in the US and now volunteers his time and professional skills to WCRC and AVANI–a true philanthropist… Donor Heather Kilian next, Director Anuradha Bhosale (middle) Lydia Dean (Founder GoPhil), Advit Dixit – Coordinator for Brickyard School / Residential Home (right) .