Freedom Incense Project
Freedom Incense Holders
and Freedom Project Bags.
The 1st shipment of incense received generated over £10,000 which will enable a significant number children of workers to go good English medium schools and provide food and education for others.
It`s early days in the bag project but the 1st shipments of bags received has generated over £500 which is going towards English lessons for the workers in Calcutta that make these bags.
I asked how much they were paid.. 150 - 200 Rupees a day - more than twice the Indian minimum wage, but still only about £2 a day.
The ones who had some education and crucially had English language. They could get a job in a Coffee Day or MacDonald`s and move up in to the next economic league.
So if you see a pack of Freedom Incense in a shop near you be prepared to pay about 10p over the odds (will you miss it?) but rest assured that that 10p will make make a world of difference to someone. Think about it.. perhaps over a cup of coffee.
Goes to the AW freedom fund
Goes to the AW Freedom fund
The Ancient Wisdom Freedom Fund, mission in Serampore, Kolkata is going good. Our latest initiative to start teaching the children English is off to a good start, with almost full attendance and very rapid learning skills. Regular readers will know, but we adopted a small Indian orphanage about a year ago.. with the help of Mr Chatterjee our Indian agent. He has worked tirelessly to make a difference to these kids.
The other day I had a very excitable skype conversation with Mr Chatterjee, the new teacher and lots of children wanting to practice english on me all at once.
You can support the orphanage project by stocking our Freedom products..
Greetings from Ubud, where I have just arrived from Kolkata.
From Saharanpur it was back to Delhi, doing deals down in the old Central Bazar near the train station. It's a bit dodgy, real back street old Delhi with winding avenues pushy traders and hidden go-downs. Just happens to be the old export trading area, and houses some very old family companies.
This is terrible area for gangs of beggars. Sat in a taxi at the lights you will inevitably hear a tap tap tap on the window, a ragged pathetic child with pleading eyes gesturing that they need food. Passing money to them is the wrong thing to do, you just feed the evil gang members and the system that trades in these unfortunate individuals. Encourage it and and you encourage mutilations and blindings, because this increases the earning potential of these poor unfortunates, not that they see a penny more than they need to stay alive.
From there to Kolkata with Mr Chatterjee who is our main agent. After visiting some potential suppliers in town, we headed out of town over the Ganges river and up to Mr Chatterjee's home town. Serampore is fairly large town, but with almost no infrastructure to speak of. Just one small hotel and no proper restaurants. The roads are narrow and potholed the town centre is hard to discern other than a decent foot path and some newly installed LED street lighting. Apart from the new lights, I wonder if it has changed much since 1845 when the Dutch left behind some crumbling colonial villas and a neatly organised street layout.
The people however are a delight, peaceful and gentle with a sharp intellectual wit. The better off residents do the best they can to help the poor people. Regular readers will know that we do our bit to support a orphanage in the town. A delightful couple, and a lady who does the cooking (on the right with me in the picture) have given their lives to looking after around 25 young children. They go to a good school, are clean and well dressed and amazingly well behaved. Not to say talented kids.
This time they put on a small music and poetry show for me and Chatterjee. Where do these homeless children come from. Well for any number of reasons they end up on the streets, and can fall into the hands of the beggar gangs. From here to tapping on taxi windows in Delhi is not a long journey. The local police when they find a homeless child bring them here. Mr & Mrs Kundu take them in and care for them like their own children. There is zero government support, but local business people make donations of money or food to help. From the AW Freedom Fund we paid for a house renovation including a new roof. This time we fitted a decent kitchen.
We buy jute products here, and I spent four days working on new products and seeing a growing list of local handicraft workers bring their wares, hopeful of becoming suppliers. Most products generally are not suitable for our market, but with a bit of redesigning we can make some interesting things.. but it's a lot of work. Charity is good, but trade is better, because it gives people a chance to make something they can be proud of and with their own efforts improve their lot.
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