Author: hwbhurd

A summer update

2nd August 2017

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 ūüėȬ†) 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.

 

10 year exchange rate for GBP vs INR
10 year exchange rate for GBP vs INR

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.

Neesha, who was with us from day one in 2010, seen here on the left in 2013, and then 2017 on the right
Neesha, who was with us from day one in 2010, seen here on the left in 2013, and then 2017 on the right

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.

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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.

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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 joshuaplayingproject@gmail.com¬†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.

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JPP’s 6th Birthday

25th October 2016

Daisy Bird JPP Design

Hello all,

Today we are very proud and happy to say that it has been 6 years to the day since we first set up JPP in Pushkar to help local kids to go to school, have a decent meal a day, and be shown the respect that they deserve. Most know the story already, but the briefest of summaries seems in order with this latest milestone.

Edd, Baggie, Vandana, Mukesh, Vijay & I created the Joshua Playing Project on the 25th October 2010 to get local kids who were begging off the streets. We started with 12 children, and the challenge was to get those kids to come to school as near to every day as possible. We had, like all charities, various setbacks and struggles along the way, but we managed to achieve our goal of getting a core group of children to attend JPP every day Рand most importantly, do so because they wanted to, not because there was an incentive for them to do so.

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Since then the project has grown and evolved – we now have 55 children from all different walks of life, all of whom JPP sponsors to attend private school, as well as continuing to support them from within JPP itself. A few of the original children have unfortunately left us, most for good reasons (e.g. family moving away after father finds a good job), but a few for less good reasons (e.g. parents insisting their child must bring in money) – I write this not to put a dampener on our 6th birthday, but to demonstrate that while we are making a great impact, there’s always more to do – and our need to support the children of Pushkar is as strong today as it was 6 years ago.

We have huge plans for the future which we will no doubt be excitedly telling you more about as they begin to materialise. We are already making great steps towards making JPP even stronger within the local community, and stronger as a charity as a whole. We became a registered UK charity earlier in the year, something we’ve been aiming towards for the last 6 years, which makes all of our fundraising efforts that much easier now that we can get 25% gift aid on all donations (hint hint).

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We’ve moved to what we think is going to be our final home, after a few different buildings after vacating the temple due to space and the family wanting use of the space during the day, and we love it (there’ll be a new post in a couple of weeks with loads of photos and videos so you can see what it’s like for the kids). ¬†The new place is much closer to Madam G (Vandana), is cheaper rent, has a better kitchen, fully indoor and functional toilets, and close to the food shop that we get all our supplies from. We really couldn’t be happier with it.

Along the journey this last 6 years, we’ve had different people integral to the JPP team who have now moved on on a day to day basis, but who will still always be a part of the family. JPP really is¬†embedded in the local community, we couldn’t operate without the continued support and help from the parents, caste leaders, suppliers, and of course the wonderful Vandana and Baggie.

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Yet we are also a community here in the UK – since we began we have had unbelievable support from friends, family, strangers, businesses, schools … you name it. We can’t express our gratitude enough to all those who have helped out, whether through financial contributions, fundraisers, or both. We truly do rely on your continued membership of the JPP family – what is¬†comparatively little time, effort and money in the UK makes the hugest of differences over in Pushkar. Just ¬£60 is all it takes to put a child through school for the year, and you continue to help us to finance not just one child, but 55, and to do so much more than just allow them to attend private school.

All of your donations allow us to give the kids an educational experience that does not compromise or make sacrifices due to their financial situation – a lot of our kids may live in tents in the desert, but they still get new dresses every Diwali, get to help out at the JPP stand during the Mela Camel Fair, go on school trips, get a healthy full meal every day, receive medical attention whenever they need it, and more importantly than anything, get to play with their friends every single day safe in the knowledge that they are being looked after and do not have to worry about where the next meal is going to come from.

So thank you, from all of us here at JPP, for everything that you have done, and that I know you will continue to do, for the kids in Pushkar.