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    • Day 14

      The Manav Kalyan Trust

      January 9, 2023 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      We have wanted to somehow make this trip more purposeful than for our own personal satisfaction since we started planning it all.

      The Adventurists require a donation to be made to an organization called Cool Earth that is funding reforestation projects in the Amazon. That is one of the participation requirements, which is cool.

      However, given that we are guests in India, and there is so much need here, we started our journey believing that along the way we’d find a meaningful cause. Or that it would find us.

      And so it did, in the loveliest way possible. We drove through the hill country from Surat to Nashik a few days ago. On the way we stopped to buy some pompoms for the rickshaw at a roadside craft stand. Two of the people working there were blind and one was unable to walk.

      It turns out the stand provides a small revenue stream for a very impressive school for blind and disabled children from the surrounding hill tribes. The lack of water and nutritional food in the area results in women bearing children who have a higher than normal rate of birth defects.

      The Manav Kalyan Trust was started in June 1970 by Shri Maheshbhai Kothari in the memory of his elder brother Pravinchandra Savjibhai Kothari at Dandi Road in Navsari. That town was one of the stops Gandhi made on the Dandi March. The foundation stone of the school was laid by the President of India, Shri V. V. Giri of the time, in June of 1971. So, what a noble start to a school that has helped thousands of needy children since it started.

      The organization runs several schools in and around Navsari focused on providing free education and vocational training for children who are blind or disabled. After they finish high school they have several years of on site vocational training to ensure they can somehow earn a living and be as independent as possible.

      As someone who evaluates and makes funding decisions for charities on behalf of my company, my mind was ticking the “quality organization” boxes as the Principal and two teachers gave us a tour of the school. Solid track record. Check. Board of Trustees. Check. Measuring results. Other foreign donors. Check. Check. Girls and boys. Check. Really nice clean building. Check. Happy kids. Source of income. Sustainability pledge. Check. Check. Check.

      So our cause found us. If you would like to join us in supporting our quest to leave India a bit better than we found it, please donate to the Mavan Kalyan Trust using the GoFundMe link below. Our goal is $1000, which will help ensure that the 160 kids in the school can have healthy nutritious breakfasts every day for the next several years. Something that most of us never have to worry about.

      We are grateful that we have found a way to help others in our short time in this beautiful country.
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