I recently returned from PPES Delhi/Anoopshahr as their HR Manager as an Intern at the end of April 2014.
This was my second time supporting the Human Resources function on the ground in both Delhi and at the school.
The experience for me was nothing like the other reviewers have provided.
But as we all know, things often spoil over time.
To survive here today...
Forget thriving or making a difference or doing the job you paid THEM to let you do after the CEO called begging for your return...
Unless you already have or want to master the Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Hear No Evil Stepfordish philosophy (as was recommended to me by the senior most USA org authority in India) while working at a remote village school, then PPES is not a suitable environment for qualified workplace-savvy people.
Let's not forget that firstly, PPES is a US nonprofit.
My 1-year contract said many things and made enticing promises (according to India VISA law). However, it was issued from India not the US. By the India PPES. My legal counsel says I've gotta go back to India if I want to fight.
Evidently honoring a contract is foreign to this US and India nonprofit?
Affiliation with PPES cost me THOUSANDS in hard cash, expenses, delayed degree completion, and months of completely unnecessary time away from my family.
I did not go to India to volunteer for a social or religious cause. I went for business-related purpose after securing an Employment VISA.
The list of contract, legal, social, human, and animal issues is too large to laundry here.
Needless to say, I'd recommend you pass on affiliating yourself, your money, or your time with this org because although they are a 13 year old NGO and employ a staff of 100+, nobody up top in the US or India is interested in implementing human resources policy, processes, or procedures.
As a result, more than 1,300 people - including volunteers/interns/students/staff - are without any recourse, guidance, or guidelines when witnessing/experiencing/perpetrating/reporting verbal, physical, and potential financial abuses that are themselves...each and every one of them...against existing India law.
As a long-time business professional, I think these are very serious HR issues that this organization is uninterested in addressing or changing any time soon.
Caste, nepotism, and open discrimination thrives at this non-profit and NGO.
Danger Will Robinson DANGER!
Late into Autumn of 2006 and early into my stay and volunteer commitment in India, I am asked to go with the education scout of Pardada Pardada Educational Society (PPES) into the one of the numerous villages deep in Uttar Pardesh, a world away from the rapid modernization that has been overtaking India in recent years. We are here to scout for girls and more importantly to convince their fathers to let them come to school. Through this mission to educate girls in the countryside Pardada Pardadi has started a movement that is literally transforming rural Anupshara district from one of the poorest areas of India, giving young talent finally the opportunity to shine. More importantly these gifted young women are being given a voice to declare defiantly: “I AM NOT A BURDEN.” The philosophy of PPES is a holistic approach that encompasses the girl child, her family, and the community. In just over 10 years, PPES has made breakthroughs where others have continually failed. Why am I drawn to PPES? It is not an anti-human trafficking program to be sure. However, its accomplishments for this community of UP, is better that all of the high gloss commercial campaigns or trafficking shelters. PPES is stopping the exploitation of women before it is happening! You cannot tempt families by false promises to leave their homes for a better life, if it is possible to create that life at home. The PPES model is a one that we need more of especially in rural India. PPES with its educational program is making a stand against century old traditions that make it acceptable to sell, marry or marginalize girl children. When you eliminate these push and pull factors you stop one of the most important causes of human trafficking. For anyone who has spent time in India, you can see that the exploitation exists on a grand scale. From my experience in rural India I began to understand that education in conjunction with local community empowerment is the best means to tackle HT and exploitation of the most vulnerable. I firmly believe in the mission of PPES because I witnessed its incredible impact first hand. It is my sincere hope that PPES can make more schools, and education more children. The staff at PPES is amazing and the world needs more Sam Singh's! I wish them every success and encourage people to volunteer with PPES, it is a life changing experience to work with those amazing young students!!!
Working with PPES has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had. The school has truly accomplished what it set out to do - teach girls in this most rural area to be independant socially and financially along with being well educated and still be in touch with their cultural heritage. To be able to increase the number of students from a mere 45 to 1100 in a matter of 10 years and decrease the drop out rate from 70% to 20% is nothing short of commendable. It truly is a pleasure to be associated with an organization so dedicated towards its cause and accomplishing so much.
This is my third time volunteering at the school. I came in July through August of 2006 and again in January of 2008. I would not have come back this time in August of 2010, if I did not enjoy my previous experiences. (I will be here until November of 2010). The past two times, I taught softball, English, how to use the computers, and self-defense. This time, I am again teaching softball, but I am also writing English lesson plans and procedures regarding how the school is operated (ex. hiring and firing of teachers, safety, student records). The only criticism I would make regarding the school is the method of teaching (rote memorization). I think it is better for the students to learn for comprehension as opposed to memorization. When I come to the school, I have been trying to change the teaching strategy. All in all, I have enjoyed my experience at Pardada Pardadi Educational Society, and I would recommend other people to volunteer at the school. I will definitely be coming back to the school many more times after I am finished this time.
The Pardada Pardadi Educational Society's (PPES) primary mission is to empower and uplift girls from rural India out of poverty through academic and vocational training. Over the last 10 years, the organization has worked incredibly hard not only to transform the lives of its students, but to better the communities and villages in the school's area. The students learn both academic skills (reading, writing, etc.), but also vocational skills which may be used to support future employment opportunities. Students are provided with clothing, transportation, basic health care, and 3 meals a day, all at no cost to students or their families. However, what I found most interesting is the organization's incentive-based model; students are paid 10 rupees per day to attend school. The money is deposited into a savings account and may only be withdrawn after graduation. PPES has also expanded its efforts to work with the local communities through public toilet projects, distribution of sanitary women's pads, street plays, and blanket distributions during the winter. The organization's founder, employees, and teachers are passionate about bringing positive and lasting change to a small area in rural India.
I am currently working at the school, teaching English to teachers and classes 8 and 9. Having been here nine months now, I have seen the numerous initiatives first hand to educate and empower the young girls at the school. The girls are thrilled to come to school every day, to study in their academic and vocational classes, participate in sports, receive three meals a day, and enjoy a forum where they can play and be youthful. Teachers are dedicated to the advancement of their students learning, and the school's administration is constantly searching for new ways to help the girls lift themselves up in the society. For instance, when it became apparent that students felt insecure during their menstruation, because they were using old rags for protection, the school set out to solve this problem. Under the "rags to pads" program, students manufacture quality pads which are then sold for a fraction of the market price. This is just one example of the innovative projects.
When I graduated college, I wanted to do something that would directly impact people's lives. There were many organizations that did this, but I could not afford them and I didn't really believe in their cause. However, a friend recommended me the PPES website, and I fell in love at first sight. Fast forward to me volunteering for PPES, and I couldn't be happier. Fundraising for this organization is something that makes me excited to work everyday because I know the money that I am trying to raise will go to these girls. It will go to their education and to their future. With every new initiative, I am happy to know that I am directly effecting some of these girls lives. So when I go to the school, I can see these bright young faces with so much youth and vitality, that I know that I have chosen the right cause to support and volunteer for.
Our most life-changing experiences in India were our visits to Pardada Pardadi Educational Society, a school for girls in rural Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state and one of its poorest. We saw first-hand the difference the school makes in its students: while two of its girls were leading us around their village, showing us their brick homes and their family’s goats, talking with confidence and poise to us despite the fact that we were both foreign and, in Dave’s case, male, we spotted two girls who weren’t students at the school: wearing dirty clothes and peeking around a wall, they hid shyly whenever we turned our heads towards them. It was a staggering difference: it was clear which girls would have the skills and confidence to resist the status quo and drive change in their communities, and which ones were going to be bullied by the patriarchy into another childhood marriage and more of the same. We try to help them as often as possible.
I found Pardada Pardadi by chance. My university organized some volunteer opportunities in India; interested in women's education, I applied to PPES. I originally planned to work for PPES from Delhi to increase the organization’s internet presence, among other projects. During my first week in India I visited the school in Anoopshahr and was quickly won over by the students. Rather than remain in Delhi, I moved to Anoopshahr where I taught English and computer classes. With another volunteer, I developed a syllabus for the computer classes that focused on hands-on learning rather than rote memorization. Back in Delhi at the end of my time in India, I created the PPES blog and maintained it for a while once I left India. At PPES I got to know a few of the students more closely. In particular, I worked with Rupvati, then in 10th grade, to help her improve her English. Though she sometimes struggled with the language, every time Rupvati met with me she brought a sunny demeanor and a determination that made her a pleasure to teach. Towards the end of my time in Anoopshahr, I got to meet to Rupvati's family at their home in Parlay.
My wife and I were at Pardada Pardadi for about six weeks in the spring of 2008 to work with english teahers and organization. We had to leave more than a month before we had planned because of my wife's illness. This organization does tremendous work; it was a pleasure working with them, and I wish we could have stayed longer. The staff is enthusiastic and determined to have an impact; and they were extremely helpful in dealing with the problems we incurred unrelated to their work.