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.

Every year GoPhilanthropic travels to India to visit our partners AVANI and WCRC,  two small yet effective non-profits directed by a passionate change-maker Anuradha Bhosale, a former child laborer herself.  While WCRC rescues children and advocates for their rights as well as those for women, AVANI provides education to the children in makeshift rooms and under tent canopies in the brickyards.   In addition, they provide a residential home for 40 abandoned or rescued children.
We attend a village WCRC meeting where women are taught their rights
From the beginning, Anuradha recognized that child-labor was a cyclical phenomena oftentimes beginning with women in vulnerable positions. Empowering, educating and uniting disadvantaged women to build sustainable futures in a male dominated society has therefore been the backbone of her anti child-labor work and mission. Searching for long-term solutions to the root of the issues surrounding child labor, she founded the Women and Child Rights Campaign (WCRC), devoted to educating and empowering widowed, divorced and abandoned women–those at the greatest risk of sending their children into the work force out of necessity.
Believing in Anuradha’s drive and reasoning, GoPhilanthropic became WCRC’s first donor 
Working at the grassroots level organizing meetings in rural villages, WCRC drives change by providing marginalized rural women and children access to information regarding their legal civil rights. She motivates the women to unite, pursue education and act on their own issues.
While Anuradha Bhosale is visibly at the helm of the women’s right and anti-child labor cause in her region, her message will always be rooted in the belief that long-term change and growth can only be accomplished by encouraging people to educate and do for themselves.


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.


GoPhilanthropic Founder Lydia Dean with the children at AVANI Residential Home.  Most of the children at the home come from families where their mothers have been abandoned by their fathers, leaving a woman destitute with her children.  She then makes the difficult decision to send them away to be cared for.
We chat about the importance of education as a means to build a better life

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) .