Team Raymond James Visits Our Adopted Village - Kalthana, India
After handing out 3,000 bed kits to children in the Belgaum area in India, our team traveled to Kalthana, the village Raymond James Ltd. adopted through our 2014 donation* to Free the Children.
Team RJ journeyed 20 hours from Belgaum to Kalthana to help, spending the last few days repairing and building a much needed wall.
Clark Linton, Portfolio Manager and Michael Holmes, Senior Vice President, Operations, Operations Administration.
Rose Allison, Paul Allison's wife, Jennifer Gibson, Branch Administrator, Vancouver and Kate Holmes, Michael Holmes' wife.
Warren Wagstaff, Financial Advisor, and Rose Allison, Paul Allison's wife.
Team RJ backrow left to right: Michael Holmes, Senior Vice President, Operations, Operations Administration, Kate Holmes, Mike Holmes' wife, Jennifer Gibson, Branch Administrator, Vancouver, Paul Allison, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Rose Allison, Paul Allison's wife, Diane Groot, Manager, Corporate Facilities & Sustainability, Facilities & Office Services, Clark Linton and Warren Wagstaff, Financial Advisor.
Diane Groot, Manager, Corporate Facilities & Sustainability, Facilities & Office Services, Jennifer Gibson, Branch Administrator, Vancouver, Kate Holmes, Michael Holmes' wife, Rose Allison, Paul Allison's wife.
Warren Wagstaff, Financial Advisor, Clark Linton, Portfolio Manager, and Michael Holmes, Senior Vice President, Operations, Operations Administration
Warren Wagstaff, Financial Advisor and Diane Groot, Manager, Corporate Facilities & Sustainability, Facilities & Office Services
Paul Allison, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer with Rickey the 'Me to We' facilitator from Free the Children.
Free the Children is an international charity that believes in a world where all children are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. Its Adopt a Village program focuses on five pillars to develop a sustainable economy for a community in need:
- Alternative income
- Clean water and sanitation
We are proud to be part of this community's growth and progress towards a sustainable future. Thanks again to our Raymond James colleagues, partners, and silent auction donors for their generosity. It's amazing to see how our firm continuously steps up to support great causes.
Here are some updates on how our village is doing in each section:
Agriculture and Food Security
"Now, I am hopeful because I have received good seeds from you, which will increase my harvest," said Kika Ram, a farmer with three sons. "My harvest from the improved wheat seed was very good and we were able to eat roti every morning. I was happy because I felt like I was able to feed my family properly."
Providing healthy and sufficient food for their families has been a challenge for many farmers in Kalthana. Our donation has helped Free the Children continue its research on which agricultural initiatives will be most effective for Kalthana land. Recently, farmers attended training sessions on intercropping and row planation for maize and soybeans as well as fruit tree plantation. Thanks to the agricultural programs, farmers can now increase their crop yield, which will provide more food and nutrition for their families!
Alternative Income and Livelihood
Since it is primarily a farming community, the people of Kalthana are highly vulnerable to environmental factors such as monsoons and drought. Free the Children has begun implementing animal husbandry programs to provide them alternative income. Goat rearing is the charity's primary focus; eager entrepreneurial women in Kalthana are provided with a better breed of goat, which produces more milk, more meat, and healthier offspring. So far, 27 goats have been provided!
The women also attend training sessions on how to take care of the new breed of goats and keep them healthy. In addition to goat rearing, the women are trained on business and financial literacy. Through our support, Free the Children has been able to grow the animal husbandry programs in Kalthana to provide the women with the skills, training, and livestock needed to generate income through a sustainable source.
One of the most common ailments facing Kalthana community members is acute respiratory illnesses. The traditional cooking stove used in households, or "chullah" as it is known locally, is a major contributor to these illnesses. Excess smoke from the chullah has harmful effects that cause respiratory infections and diseases like tuberculosis.
To improve health for the community, great efforts have been made to eliminate the use of the traditional chullah. Our donation has also supported awareness workshops about the harmful effects of the chullahs, and has also enabled Free the Children to replace traditional chullahs with smokeless chullahs for many community members. With the help of this initiative, they are now less susceptible to acute respiratory illnesses.
Clean Water and Sanitation
The two primary sources of water in Kalthana are wells and hand pumps; however, they are not deep enough to meet the community's needs, and as a result, only 50% of households have access to safe drinking water. Also, the practice of boiling water is not common, and over 90% of households do not have access to hygienic sanitation facilities such as toilets. The lack of clean water and sanitation facilities causes waterborne diseases such as typhoid, jaundice, skin disease, and diarrhea.
Our support has helped Free the Children provide informative workshops on health and hygiene, such as the importance of boiling water and properly washing your hands. The people of Kalthana now have improved health conditions, and students are able to attend school regularly and parents can work without disruption.
When Free the Children first started its work in this community, students were taught in poor conditions, with no desks and chairs, and under leaky roofs.
Repairing existing structures and building new schoolrooms that are safe for the students and a pride to the community became top priorities. With the help of our donation, Free the Children was able to complete construction of a new classroom in July 2014. Our support also outfitted the classroom with furniture and textbooks. Children can now comfortably focus on their studies and make the most out of their education.
*With the help of Raymond James colleagues, partners, and matching dollars from the Raymond James Canada Foundation, a total of $50,000 was raised for Free the Children's Adopt a Village program.