By Tammy Phan
Care & Share, a community based nonprofit operating in the slums of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, India, characterizes its humanitarian work as a ‘drop in the ocean’ of poverty and destitution.
Vijaywada is one of the largest rail and road junctions in India. But illiteracy, poor diets and limited economic opportunities are the norm for much of the population in this city of 1.2 million people. Some 30% of Vijayawadans live in slums below the poverty line; more than 40% of children under the age of five are malnourished. The increased flow of commerce brings with it widespread prostitution and HIV/AIDS.
Enter a student community at Anglo Chinese Junior College that’s determined to Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty. Some 800 ACJC students participated in Stand Up 2011, but in addition to raising awareness about the global poverty crisis and adding their voices to the movement to the Make Poverty History, student organisers like Yustynn Panicker and Joy Lim also wanted to support a project in a low-income community that has the power to change children’s lives.
Yustyn and his schoolmates sold ONE (SINGAPORE) Make Poverty History t-shirts and whitebands to support Care & Share. Their sales campaign raised S$424 for ONE (SINGAPORE)’s MDG Fund, which supports initiatives in Singapore and overseas that promote the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals. Together, ONE (SINGAPORE) and ACJC selected Care & Share as the MDG Fund beneficiary and ONE (SINGAPORE) topped up the amount to be donated to S$800.
Care & Share has a number of health and education programmes in Vijaywada, but the one which caught the eye of ONE (SINGAPORE)’s MDG Fund team is an initiative that distributes milk to primary school students to offset the disastrous effects of malnutrition that is prevalent in the slums.
“We support and educate 5000 children, including 1200 orphans who have lost their parents to AIDS or other diseases,” says Care & Share founder Carol Faison. “Our main focus is finding ways to support them, because our sponsorship fees do not cover their full yearly cost. So, in the last few years, we have been receiving less funds for the milk project.”
Eight hundred dollars may not sound like a lot, but at a cost of less than S$1 per litre, this donation will purchase nearly 5300 cups of milk for primary school children at the Kandrika and Rajarajeswari Literacy Centres, which are located in Vijayawada slums. That’s enough to provide 220 children with a nutritious glass almost every day in February (for 24 days).
“Care & Share is a valuable partner in the fight against extreme poverty and hunger as well as promotion of university primary education. Providing school children with a glass of milk every day is a simple concept that can effectively improve their nutrition and ability to learn,” says Michael Switow, co-founder of ONE (SINGAPORE).
“The help ONE (SINGAPORE) has extended to us is more than precious to extend this vital food addition to the diet of these kids,” adds Carol. “The nutrition children receive (at a young age) has a great impact on their total growth.”
This contribution is the second time that ONE (SINGAPORE) has supported Care & Share’s milk programme. Following the 2008 Stand Up Take Action campaign, ONE (SINGAPORE) donated S$2520, enough at that time to fund the programme for four weeks and purchase 28,000 cups of milk. To date, ONE (SINGAPORE), with the help of ACJC and corporate partners, has provided 33,280 cups of milk to Care & Share’s children.
Every ONE drop of kindness matters.
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Photos: Care & Share 2012 (Azea)| Care & Share 2012 | Care & Share 2008 | ACJC Stand Up 2011