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INDIA
KIRF provides sustainable solutions to help rural families become financially self-sufficent with free vocational training, academic education, and drinking water in rural Bihar, India

Diane Kirwin (left) with Mark and Angela Kirwin in Maunia village KIRF has been providing in-kind gifts of school supplies, brand-name winter clothing and well repair with free educational centers for the street children of the Dalit caste in the northern Indian state of Bihar since 2005. In December 2006 we visited several of these free schools in Bodhgaya, India. Today, through our Shekhwara India Project we are able to directly help chronically poor children get a better education at the Shekhwara Village School by helping to support the purchases of school supplies such as curriculum-specific and Indian National Standards-based textbooks, paper, slates and sports equipment for the schools' physical education program.

Poorest children getting their first education

Shekhwara India Project supports the Shekhwara Village School that is located about 10 km from Bodhgaya in rural Bihar India. Donors and supporters of KIRF's Shekhwara India Project help pay for teachers' salaries, school supplies and free regular health examinations for students and their families. To support the Shekhwara Village School, please make an online donation by clicking on the link on this website's donation page for KIRF's India Project..


Photo of two girls studying at a free Shekhwara India Project Educational Center.
Photo by Diane L. Kirwin, LCSWII

BACKGROUND
KIRF has successfully provided drought relief, education and medical care and vocational training for women projects to enpower women with the help of local Indian humanitarians in the state of Bihar in northern India since 2005. The main economic activity of Bihar has been agriculture and it has the unfortunate distinction of being the poorest state in India. Bihar has a per capita income of $94 a year versus India's average of $255. Approximately 60% of the population of Bihar lives below the poverty line according to Diane Kirwin versus an overall average of 25% in India (The Economist, March 2006). Only 48.3% of women and 70.2% of men in India can read according to the CIA Factbook web site.

This poverty means that a large percentage of the local population lack adequate nutrition, clean water and access to medical care.  As a result, the average life span in the state of Bihar is approximately 40 years of age versus an average life span of 60 years for the rest of India.

In the northern Indian state of Bihar, where KIRF's volunteers work, the many of the poorest Indians are Dalits. Many of Bihar's Dalits live in rural villages in areas of declining agricultural production due to aquafer depletian and soil erosion made worse by the recent droughts.

KIRF's volunteer efforts and achievements in rural Bihar, India

Kirwin International Relief Foundation Education CentreWe knew we could help aleviate the suffering and aid dependence of some of the poorest rural families by supporting local partner Shekhwara India Project's educational centers and medical programs and drilling wells in poor villages. We also support a locally run sustainable development program for mothers called Jangre Manch to help women provide for their children.

KIRF's goals and achievements for 2006 were:
  • Drought Relief: Helped alleviate the water crises in dry villages by providing materials and drilling equipment for seven new wells with construction supervised by Shekhwara India Project trustees; all wells have been built and are supplying clean drinking water for free to the poorest of the poor
  • Micro-loans: Enabled woman to support their families by funding a local woman's micro-loan co-op
  • Medical care: KIRF sponsored the medical costs of reconstructive facial surgery for a boy who suffered disfiguration by burns
  • Cold weather relief: KIRF delivered warm clothing donated by Patagonia, Inc. for destitute and ill through the aid of local humanitarians in Bodhgaya and Gaya in Bihar, India
  • Education: Support local Dalit children's education with school supplies for Shekhwara India Project's Kirwin International Education Centers and scholarships for promising students in financial need
     FIELD REPORTS  
 

KIRF helping chronically poor Dalit caste women and children help themselves with education and micro-loans
February 2, 2007
by Mark and Angela Kirwin

Diane Kirwin (left) with Mark and Angela Kirwin in Maunia village Read our Field Report from our work in India, December 2006 >

Status of New Wells in Villages near Bodhgaya, India
March 22 , 2006
by Mark Kirwin

Shekhwara India Project Princy sent us these photos of our new drinking water wells for these villages afflicted by the drought and in need a free local supply of clean and safe drinking water. Photos and details are coming soon.


Hello from Bodhgaya, India
January 27, 2006
by Mark Kirwin

Bodhgaya: the place of Buddha's enlightenment. It is also a place of extreme poverty in the poorest state of India - Bihar. Photos and information is coming soon.

 

 

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DISASTER RELIEF
At the beginning of 2006 with local partners, KIRF was able to provide free sources of safe drinking water for drought afflicted rural villages of Untouchable castes persons after two years of drought. KIRF purchased supplies and local humanitarian supporters supervised drilling three new wells and repairing seven. Because of KIRF 10 villages in Bihar have their own source of free and safe drinking water in 2007.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

KIRF invested funds to help 15 of the Poorest women start their own businesses so they can contribute to supporting their family. The funds are being administeres through the local organization, Nari Jagran Manch and its representative Sister Mary. The village women in this co-operative monitor the loan investment and repayment.

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CONSERVATION
Conservation values are tought at the Shekhwara Village School. Examples of activities include: planting of donated tree saplings, the use of compostable plates and reusable for rural food programs and the children are taught to pick up litter.
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– Mahatma Gandhi


2009-2010 ACHIEVEMENTS

Sewing machines, textiles and lessons were purchased for Shekhwara India Project's new educational center's vocational program.

Grant request submitted and approved for Shekhwara India Project's new school's construction. Details to come.

2008 ACHIEVEMENTS

Textbooks and other school supplies that are curiculum-specific were purchasd again by KIRF for Shekhwara India Project's educational centers.

Scholarships were re-newed for tuition, supplies & uniforms for four Dhalit siblings (two girls, 2 boys) at prestigious St. Thomas Academy in Gaya.

2007 ACHIEVEMENTS

Textbooks and other school supplies that are curiculum-specific were purchasd by KIRF for Shekhwara India Project's educational centers.

Scholarships were re-newed for tuition, supplies & uniforms for four Dhalit siblings (two girls, 2 boys) at prestigious St. Thomas Academy in Gaya.

2006 ACHIEVEMENTS


Textbooks and physical fitness/sports equipment were purchasd by KIRF for Shekhwara India Project's educational center at Sabel Bigha.

Scholarships for tuition, supplies & uniforms for four Dhalit siblings (two girls, 2 boys) at prestigious St. Thomas Academy in Gaya.

Micro-credit loans set-up for 15 Dalit women for financial security with Nari Jangren Manch

Village wells fixed so they now provide drinking water that is safe and local for 10 Dalit villages.

Winter clothing donated by Patagonia: 70 lbs. was delivered by KIRF and distributed by Shekhwara India Project's free mobile medical cliinic to the econimically disadvantaged Dalits who were most vulnerable to cold temperatures: TB patients, small children and elderly

Read our Field Report from our work in India, December 2006 >