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September 29, 2010

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September 29, 2010

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!!!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have spent the better part of my professional life working on gender equality and I am keenly aware of the exigent work to be completed. PPES is a organization that is at the forefront of bring gender equality to rural UP India.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find more ways to fundraiser so as to help them in their mission to change cultural perceptions that marginalize girl children.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working with the dedicated and amazing staff.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

global citizens and women dedicated to gender equality

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change rural UP for the better

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed longer.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 27, 2010

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September 27, 2010

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.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

taking art and craft classes with the students. The students were very keen and picked up the concepts very well. One thing that stands out is their constant effort to interact with all the volunteers in English in order to better their command on it.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

interacting with the 200 new students who come from the most socially backward part of the society.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

achieve the same results in other parts of India - something that is severly needed.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 25, 2010

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September 25, 2010

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 Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing girls obtain jobs and seeing and purchasing the finished products made by the organization

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

September 12, 2010

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September 12, 2010

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen the success of this organization by visiting the local villages, hearing about students that have graduated, and seeing the high daily enrollment of students that come from both Muslim and Hindu villages.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Try to expand recruitment of volunteers, particularly those with business and teaching experience. I think the school may benefit from adding more native English speakers to work with students and teachers on a regular basis.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Getting to know the students, the local community, and visiting their villages. I really enjoyed learning to play cricket and interacting with the students.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Incredibly friendly and welcoming. The organization's founder, director, and employees made me feel most at home in rural India.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Educate and empower at least one girl from each of the 40,000 families in the area it operates.

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed longer. I wish I had more time.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Building a sustainable business model that is not dependent on donations.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I hope the organization has increasing success with its marketing business venture.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 10, 2010

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September 10, 2010

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen tremendous results in the teachers' spoken English abilities, which will be instrumental to the school's shift to being English medium. This will be vital in aiding girls to compete on the job market.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

getting to know staff and students.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 10, 2010

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September 10, 2010

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.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

a plethora of ways. Working in the business office, I can see how PPES furndraises and where the money goes. It has been great seeing that by some donations, some girls are able to get higher education like going to Bangalore for Computer Science.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

going to the school to see these young girls! Pure joy!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazing! Everybody has been incredible nice and very helpful to a volunteer from America!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 8, 2010

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September 8, 2010

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.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The Rags to Pads project: http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2010/05/15/126849036/ipadindia

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 18, 2009

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October 18, 2009

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.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

meeting Rupvati's family and seeing the difference between her life as a student and her's sisters lives as very young wives and mothers.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing its impact on the lives of local girls and women.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

revamp the woman's education in rural India and help improve the status of women.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 17, 2009

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October 17, 2009

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.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

meeting the students and their families.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not know what to suggest without further experience.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the enthusiasm of the staff and students.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

teachers, administrators, managers and one other volunteer in English.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

add additional schools and assure that teaching staff have adequate accommodations in the rural areas.

Ways to make it better...

I had been able to complete my tour and had had a better understanding of their needs up front.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

those that face India. For example the move fabric to the school and finished goods back to Delhi. If they could call FEDEX that would be simple. In other words, communication among locations is very difficult.

One thing I'd also say is that...

teaching and local support staff were constrained by the lack of satisfactory accommodations, which made it difficult to recruit highly qualified staff.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

October 15, 2009

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October 15, 2009

I've been volunteering for Pardada Pardadi for nearly 2 years, and seen with my own eyes what a huge positive impact they are making in their community. I also an amazing opportunity to spend 3 weeks with two of the girls from the school, which I've recounted here: http://ourdelhistruggle.com/2008/11/07/from-the-village-to-the-world/

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Spending time in the office, at the school with the students, and I escorted two of the students to America for 3 weeks.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

It is very exciting to see a charity making a direct and measurable impact on the desperately poor and disadvantaged.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Amazingly dedicated people, who are working tirelessly to help these girls have a bright future.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Spread their model of education plus vocational training to many developing countries.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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