We are always looking forward to the annual project visit, to meet with our friends in Ahead in Kolkata and to be in the villages and the schools and see ideas transform into reality. This year’s visit was as much a fantastic and positive experience as previous years. Things are moving forward successfully – here are some impressions from the visit.
The current phase of the Food Security Project has taken off successfully and the Indian District authorities, having allocated ressources close to 40 mio DKK, are very positive. As the Ahead staff mentioned, the authorities come to us now where we would previously knock on their doors all the time. They realize that the efforts of Ahead make a difference.
We feel that the same is happening in the Education Project, where the responsible authorities demonstrate great interest in the teaching that Ahead is introducing in close to 70 schools. The ‘After School’ element is also gaining momentum. It is constantly evolving in the sense that vocational training is no longer given only to the ‘drop outs’ (young people not having finished 10 grade) but to all people in the village regardless of age and background with an ambition to move ahead. We would like to see the village school become a center for learning and culture (did anyone say Grundtvig?).
In Darjeeling all the Ahead staff and all members of the different organizations involved in the projects were gathered for a one day conference with many happy reunions and stories about experiences and learnings from the field work. Se the picture.
After the project visit Bodil, Gitte and Katrine went on to the weaver’s village Tantipara to find out about the development in the Handicraft project and to offer their ‘handholding’ with new ideas, designs and practical teaching. The work is based on silk from wild caterpillars, natural dyes and other sustainable methods, proving that textile handicraft not necessarily has a negative impact on the environment, which on the contrary is typical for the modern fashion industry. The women from the village demonstrate great enthusiasm and are eager to develop their new skills.