“You must be brave with your life, so others can be brave with theirs.”
In 2018, we donated our profits from the Black Friday weekend to ‘The Cup’ in Kolkata – a café inside the fair trade organization Freeset Global, that provides alternative employment opportunities and support for women working in Kolkata’s largest red light district. The café’s purpose is to become a safe space for women to build healthy relationships, grow a supportive community and confidence in a brighter future.
Thanks to our donations The Cup was able to set up a manicure/pedicure experience inside the café. Here women can enjoy some pampering and feel safe to chat in a supportive environment. With our donations they were also able to buy kitchen items such as the oven, power converter, pots and pans, the intercom system and more. The biggest purchase – and the one the staff was most excited about – was the projector. It will be used for educational purposes and as a cinema to watch movies.
The Brickfield Schools project is run by the Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre (KMWSC). Throughout India there are thousands of brickfields – open air factories where clay bricks are made by hand. Most of the workers are migrants who, with their children, spend up to eight months of the year in the dusty fields in temperatures reaching 40°C. During all this time, the children receive no formal education. The Brickfield Schools tackle this problem by providing education to the kids in open-air classrooms at the brickfields, thereby increasing their chances of a self-determined life. The curriculum of the schools is tailored to the context and needs of the migrant children.
In 2017, O My Bag donated 3000 school bags to the children of The Brickfield Schools. By providing school bags, the children got a place to safely keep their school materials. As a result, they have something for themselves that makes school a more important and central part of their lives.
What about 2019?
In 2019, we donated our profits from the Black Friday weekend to fund the operation of three Brickfield Schools for the school year 2019 – 2020. In this way, approximately 194 more children can receive education, that otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to visit a Brickfield School.
When we visited Kolkata in September, the Brickfield School staff told us they were lacking funding for three schools, which would mean not opening them this year. We quickly decided to step in and help them out to get the much needed money to run the schools. We hope like this many more children can profit from this great project.
The project does not only include school materials and food for the kids or the salaries of the teachers, but much more! Teachers receive several capacity building trainings and are supported by experienced staff of the Kolkata Wary Ward Social Center during the whole school year. A community mobilization program aims at creating awareness on the schools and convincing parents about the benefits of education. General health check ups and health awareness camps improve the health of the children. Moreover, some of the budget is used to help integrate the kids into normal schools in their home districts, which will open up many more opportunities for them. On top, some events such as the celebration of International Women’s Day or Sport’s Day create awareness on important topics in a fun way.
In sum, this project is really thought through and works towards long-term improvements in the kid’s lives.