It’s been a while since we posted about what’s going on at Joshua Playing Project, and there’s been a lot, so here’s the annual summer update to give everyone who’s donated (and those who are thinking of donating 😉 ) an update on the goings on of the school in Pushkar :
At the beginning of the year we very excitedly moved into a new building that we think will become a long and stable home. We’ve been a bit nomadic for the last couple of years, moving between different buildings when one thing or another meant that we weren’t able to stay. We were lucky enough that last time we decided to move we had a bit more time to try and find the right place, and after searching high and low around Pushkar to find somewhere that was safe for the kids, close to Parashar school, and close enough to all of the kids’ families houses (or tents) that it wouldn’t be too much of a walk to get there. In the end we found an amazing place that was right by Vandana’s (Madam’s) house, which ticks all of those boxes. It’s the cheapest rent we’ve found so far, and by far the nicest. To make things even better, the amazing folks at One Love charity in Pushkar moved in below us teaching other kids – so it’s great to have friends so close.
In other news Hansraaj had his second child earlier in the year, and his little boy who was born a couple of years ago is growing up to be just like his dad. Hansraaj decided to move on from JPP after being with us for 4 years to pursue other things, but we’re still in constant contact and will always be incredibly grateful for all the help & time he has put into making JPP such a welcoming place for the kids.
The exchange rate between GBP and Indian Rupees (INR) has changed dramatically over the 7 years from when we first set JPP up; when we first arrived in Pushkar, Rajasthan we could buy around 65 INR to the £1, the point at which the rupee was at it’s strongest in the last 10 years. Since then the exchange rate changed substantially in our favour, and at exactly the right time as the project grew from around 12 children to around 50 children in 2015. It allowed us to get a lot more bang for our buck, and do far more with the very generous donations we received over the years. However after last years political events, the exchange rate has done a 180 on us and we’re now in a situation where the donations receive don’t go as far, and is a fresh challenge for us at this scale. (If you’d like to help, then the best way is to set up a recurring donation, no matter how small, as this allows us to have a regular and consistent idea of how much money we have got coming in, and can budget accordingly).
The most important update we can give though, as always, is about how the children of JPP are doing – and on that front we have only good news. Most of the kids we started with back in 2010 are still at the project and getting close to the age of potentially going to college.
Crucially, the girls which we were worried might not continue with their education past their early teens are still there, and that for us represents one of our proudest achievements.
The kids continue to be getting great grades and improving their key skills of Hindi, English and Maths every year. Once again, at the end of year exams in May, our kids occupied the top 3 slots in every age bracket at Parashar school. School started up again at the start of July, which means new bags, uniforms, books, admission fees etc.
Thanks for reading, and there’ll be an update soon on our big fundraiser to fund the school for the upcoming year. We will hopefully be out there this year for the 7th anniversary on the 25th October, and will be taking packages of clothes / school supplies / stationary etc with us, so if you know anyone with access to these things then please do get them to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take them with us! When we’re there we’ll also need a healthy fund to pay various bills, salaries and other bits and pieces for the school that we’ve accrued over the year. If you can donate any amount, then please do consider making a recurring donation to make sure we can continue to keep these kids doing well and loving life at JPP.