In November 2002, three Patel brothers namely, Arun & Mayoor (both from London) and Shrish (from the US) came to spend a week at SKSN. Arun Patel, polio affected himself, first met the SKSN students in London following a newspaper article he read on the boys' accomplishments in the 2002 Mini Games.
Whilst with us, the brothers spent time looking around the school, getting to know the kids and doing their due diligence on SKSN. By the end of the week, they left SKSN by putting the 'Milk and Ghee Program' in place for the oncoming winter period. This project had an enormous impact on the SKSN student population in that it dramatically reduced the number of sick for that season, and instead many of the kids actually put on weight. So the benefits were great, but since it was un-affordable to carry on buying milk from the market, this gave birth to the 'Our Dairy' project.
The in-house dairy produces a regular supply of milk, ghee (clarified butter) and fresh yoghurt which provides the children with an excellent source of calcium, critical for healthy bone development. Phase 4 of the project is now underway which involves the purchase of 15 cows and the building of cowsheds with the objective of making 'Our Dairy' a self sustaining project.
Girls Hostel Project
After the initial trial period of admitting 29 physically challenged girls into SKSN, Polio Children were instrumental in helping to not only keep the 29 girls in school, but also allowing us to expand this number to 146. Polio Children supported SKSN in an innovative scheme to provide separate boarding facilities just for the girls on the school campus.
The new girls' hostel was completed in 2004 and provided an opportunity of a lifetime to girls who were desperately waiting to enrol at the school. Previously, many of the girls were hidden away as their parents were ashamed and embarrassed. Many were also physically and mentally abused by their families and communities.
Tube-Well and Generator
As SKSN is located on the fringes of the Great Thar desert the area receives virtually no rain. In 2003, it was officially declared as a drought-hit area by the State Government of Rajasthan. With water being a very scarce commodity, the children could only bathe 3 times a week and only wash their clothes once a week.
Once again, Polio Children came to the rescue by providing funds for boring a tube well and constructing a water storage tank, thereby ensuring a regular and a reliable supply (not drinking water) of this most basic of human needs. Having got the tube-well, SKSN now needed power to pump the water up from the well which was duly done by Polio Children.
In 2003, Polio Children put in place an education foundation which provides graduating SKSN students the opportunity to attend university, and carry on with further studies. The importance of such a program is that armed with a university degree, these young adults will be able to enter mainstream society by securing decent jobs and hence achieve independence. The Patel brothers' father had one and only motto in life...'education at any cost'. This University Program is definitely fulfilling his goal.
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