Every story has a beginning…
Hi my name is Frances and this is how Rise the Community was born.
Flashback to 2008, I had my nursing degree and I was on that first trip I met the Bandhu’s. Dr Vishy and Kranti, the incredibly busy, kind, generous and extremely humble couple who are now the Rise Community Project Managers
Initially, I found a volunteering opportunity through one of the many “volunteering companies” online who charge thousands $$$! It wasn't long before I realized how useless I was in these situations, even as a qualified nurse. There are so many differences to overcome before you can be of any use as a volunteer. Not just language, but culture too. This was definitely some of the worst of Voluntourism, but I didn't even know “Voluntourism” was a thing back then. I couldn't believe that all the money I had paid hadn't gone to any of the projects. I was just paying a company for their "admin fees" and they were making an income off other people's poverty. If it hadn’t been for that company though, I would never have met the Bandhu’s, my wonderful host family.
I spent three months with them. Constantly in awe of their work ethic. I’d meant to stay a year, but I knew I could make a bigger difference if I worked as a nurse in Australia and sent my wages over to Vishy and Kranti who knew this community far better than I ever could. Money could do more for the projects than my two hands. The Bandhu’s really are the backbone of this project, the ones on the ground who do so much of the hard work.
I hosted a few fundraisers back home and raised $3000 which built a laundry in the orphanage the Bandhu’s were setting up. After my third trip, I told Vishy I wanted to come back every year and he said “Well you need your own project then” and that’s when Rise (previously SCIP) was born.
I had no idea where to begin, the over-crowded Faridabad Slums are home to approximately 1.7 million people who struggle daily to access basic needs such as shelter, nutrition, water, income, medical care, sanitation and education. Women face gender-based and societal challenges such as a lower literacy rate or lack of employment opportunities that further restrict their ability to develop and function to their potential and I could hardly speak the language let alone be of any help!
Vishy knew of an area in the slum, with lots of children that needed some basic and much needed assistance. WDrove around a while and Vishy spoke to a few landlords while I sat drinking Chai and nervously listening to the agreements, then that afternoon we had a little plot of land in the middle of the Sector 4 slum. Vishy put an ad in the paper saying a slum school would be opening in two weeks. One large tarpaulin, a rope, a very large stick later, and we had a school. A young lady, who was a high school graduate, from sector four who was looking for employment, became our first teacher.
It grew slowly, but steadily. In the first year it was a little crumbly building covered by a tarp, with 35 students and one classroom. Now we have a two story building with 7 classes, over 200 kids attending, all in school uniform. Each year we’re able to send 10 - 15 children on a scholarship to a local school. Sonali, one of our first kids to receive a scholarship and was just accepted into Delhi University. She also works part-time as a kindy teacher at the Rise slum school. The Rise Clinic also grew to have two appointment rooms, a pathology lab and a dispensary, with both a male and a female doctor (who also offer family planning).
And on top of that, the Womens Empowerment group sprang into existence.
This is the part that I am most proud of and am busting to accomplish. On one of those early trips, I witnessed a young girl teaching her grandmother how to read in Hindi. Her grandmother had been illiterate her whole life, and yet, she was so enthusiastic to learn to read in her own language, and thanks to the school, her granddaughter could teach her. It was visions like this, that gave rise to the Womens Empowerment group. Initially it offered literacy skills, but once the women had learnt to read and write they wanted to keep learning, to help themselves and their families. And so we kept teaching, from first aid training to the sewing skills they requested in 2015.
After starting a family myself, my frequent visits to the Rise projects slowed to a 4 year stop, but recently in 2019 I returned and finally given the opportunity, I am more than grateful to say that this whole community is positively THRIVING. It feels hard to still call it a slum. It’s now a thriving village, with a working toilet, several water pumps attached to a clean water supply easily accessible for everyone. The government has even noticed the difference and thanks to these projects have taken a more active role in the area.
The whole place is buzzing with activity and energy. Kranti moves through the projects laughing at inside jokes with all the people she encounters and points out all the changes with pride.
It took time, patience, and practice, but even more than that it took offering opportunities to those who’d been denied it for far too long, it gave rise to this community- Rise the Community
And Now it is no longer about saving children in poverty but a community rising- hence the name change ;)
The Womens Empowerment Group are ready to take over, now they are equipped with their new skills they are are more determine than ever to secure these their community projects. No longer do they want the threat of “not enough donations” to jepridise their community, they want to ensure these projects are self-sustainable . Using the profits of their garments, these women plan to fund Rise the Community themselves.
Rise the Label is a fundraising initiative that will ensure Rise the Community no longer relies on donations but Self-Sustaining Hard work and your generous support.
Please, be a conscious shopper purchase from Rise the Label shop, this is 100% NOT ANOTHER FASHION BRAND this is an opportunity for sustainability and a Human Movement towards Human Rights
It is my PROMISE that all donations will be donated to honest charitable projects in the most ethical and prosperous way.
SCIP is on a mission to provide education, healthcare, and the environment for growth so that every one can live up to their full potential. Our social non-profit projects help us to live by our mission.
SCIP's vision is inclusive such that every child has access to basic necessities like healthcare, education, and other everyday needs. We dream of a future in which no child sleeps hungry or is illiterate. And we are working towards it!