Dhokarjhara has transformed because you!

Dear GHNI Supporter,

We are so grateful for you! These past two years have been an incredible challenge and you have been a part of helping the most vulnerable and overlooked people in the world. You are such an important part of helping villages around the world end their extreme poverty. Without a passionate team of champions like you, villagers would remain stuck in poverty and without hope.

3 out of 4 of the nearly 700 million people living in extreme poverty are in the rural areas of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East where GHNI is working. Yet these rural communities are the hardest to reach and the least supported by aid and national governments. We are so grateful for your support to bring help and hope to them!

Dhokarjhara, located in eastern India in Jharkhand state, is home to about 1,250 people. This is where Sushil, GHNI India’s national director, spent his childhood. The population in this region is predominantly Santal, one of India’s tribal groups. They are considered a lower caste and have little help or hope to change their lives. Sushil wanted to return after completing his education and make a difference for the community. “Two generations ago, the Santal were entirely sustainable. They didn’t depend on outside sources for food, shelter, or clothing. But that is not the case today.”

Over the last 50 years, the government and others have tried to help rural communities adopt modern technology and improve education; but unfortunately these projects and initiatives have only taught dependency.

Sushil continues, “In my village the people are farmers. They have to borrow money from lenders at a high rate to purchase seed and are totally dependent upon the rainy season so they have only one crop for the whole year - usually rice. That means the land is used for 4 to 6 months, and then many of them leave the village for the rest of the year to find work as day labourers. This hurts their families, especially the children, because when the farmers leave, their families go with them and they pull their kids out of school.”

Sushil began to introduce Dhokarjhara to the concepts of Transformational Community Development (TCD). By coming alongside the people of the village we were able to quickly find opportunities to help in several important areas.

You helped us start working with the farmers to begin savings groups to purchase seed, teach methods that would improve yields, and ways to collect and store rainwater from the Monsoon and nearby rivers to use for irrigation and start producing a second crop during the other half of the year. For example, two farmers, Rohit* and Sahil* are now growing vegetables to sell in markets. Most homes now have kitchen gardens to provide vegetables year round and families are eating healthier and more nutritious meals. 

Now that families were a little more stable, GHNI started to help the community address the need for education. Literacy is less than 20% for the Santal people and in Dhokarjhara, less than 40% of school aged children were attending the government school. One major challenge was that the community didn’t value education. Your support helped launch the Berean Public School to teach students both English and Hindi – a rare thing in rural India. The school also models the holistic value of TCD by emphasizing a child’s need for overall development. The children, before classes, line up in the courtyard for physical exercise and a few songs. Throughout the songs, one can hear the giggles and see smiles on the faces of the little ones. They are taught responsibility through daily chores to take care of their school and the neighborhood they live in. To participate, families would have to contribute about 3,600 rupees (~$100) to cover tuition and supplies for their child’s education each year.

The amazing thing about the school was how it empowered families. Because they had to pay, now families began to value education more; but because of their poverty they needed new ways to bring in extra income. As families committed to their children’s education, you helped provide loaned goats to them and subsidize 50% of education costs for the first two years. After returning the starting investment, the families now had the means to pay the full tuition. By 2018, the school had grown so much that they added two more classrooms. There are now more than 200 students enrolled at the public school.

“You can hear the giggles and see smiles on the faces of the little ones. The school has helped bring joy to the village.”

Because they have been farmers for so long, business is an unusual occupation for the Santali people. Sushil, laughing, says, “It’s not their cup of tea.”

But things are changing. As more students graduate from the school, they are looking for new ways to serve and invest in the community. Their whole mindset has been changed. They are starting everything from barber shops (once considered taboo!) to stores. 

Increasingly women are interested in expanding the animal husbandry (breeding and selling the goats or pigs) they began from the school loan. Many of them are starting businesses of their own. You have invested in empowering many of the women to help them get started.

Though Covid-19 slowed things down, the village is ready to graduate. But that isn’t the most exciting part about Dhokarjhara’’s story.

Transformational Community Development multiplies impact.

As Dhokarjhara has gradually succeeded at overcoming each of these challenges, they have inspired the surrounding villages to seek a more sustainable future. Your support has helped Dhokar Jhara transform and impacted the surrounding area.  Dhokarjhara is now a model village that others look to and say, “We can do that, and more!”

Now the TCD coaches who have been working with Dhokarjhara are helping the surrounding villages begin to transform themselves. Places like Kolabagan, Sugapahari, Bikrampur/Bikrampuir, Jojotola, and others are getting started. Sushil tells us that, “We don’t go from one village to another; we are raising up leaders from 20 villages to train and teach them to lead. Over the next three to five years, not just one community but TWENTY communities will grow and be changed through Transformational Community Development.”

Because of your support, villagers around the world are working toward ending their own extreme poverty and working hard! There is hope being restored in each villager’s heart as a result of Transformational Community Development.

 


 

As we go into 2022, we need your help to launch TCD in an additional 22 villages.

Through GHNI you are bringing supportive training and coaching, as well as material support to help these communities address the issues they face with low cost and local solutions. You make this possible!

As we approach the end of this year, would you consider making a special gift to help more model villages like Dhoker Jhara that will impact not just one community but many others as well? Even a monthly gift of $20 through The Village helps support 24 people going through TCD each year - that’s almost five families!

By giving a gift today you can sustain the work of helping villages transform their communities and write more stories of Hope. Thank you!

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