While we were in Chennai earlier this year, I spent some time teaching the girls how to take their own photos. I developed the film this week in Berlin, turns out they're pretty talented!
Updates from us
Staff and residents at KKSS are taking their new hygiene measures very seriously, with strict rules on masks, hand washing and distancing when possible. Sathyam was able to provide needed funds to cover the costs of the medical supplies as well as they have increased doctor visits especially to monitor their extremely vulnerable elderly community.
COVID is not just about the virus. The ripple effect across the lower socio-economic parts of society, especially in India, is catastrophic. In the past month alone, KKSS is operating on 70% less money per month - because of the lockdown, donations from the community and from businesses have been cut. On top of this decreased funding, they are receiving many more admissions: here are more babies, more pregnant teens and more children being admitted through the doors to be card for, fed, given medical assistance and shelter. And of course KKSS is taking them in even though they are dangerously low on funds.
Sathyam has provided a small amount of money to pay for medical supplies to protect themselves, some of the most vulnerable people in society. We provided masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, isolation planning within their campus and a series of workshops with staff, elders and children.
However the impact that COVID has had on KKSS is much larger. There are 9 newborn babies. There's a pregnant mother with 3 children whose husband committed suicide due to loss of income. There a new children being left every week. And this will continue.
What can we do? We're preparing a support plan for KKSS that we'll release in the next week or so. Stay tuned!
Working with Pradhumna and Mridhula of Raw Architecture, despite the situation of designing and finalising this project remotely, we are making great progress! We have been able to design the classroom/centre, the landscaping, the simple accommodation and the construction plan remotely. We are in great hands and hope to start construction within the following months.
Even during the lockdown in India, our girls are keeping up with their studies from their residential campus. As we navigate this challenging time, KKSS have taken a stand not to forget the importance of education in these girls lives and that they are fighting for a real future.
I am thrilled to say that together, all 244 of us, smashed the fundraiser. We raised a total of €23,453, which minus the platform + card processing fees is €21,489.7 - which is quite unbelievable. I had created this fundraiser because I had a last minute cancellation from a larger donor, and I dreaded asking for money. I dreaded to think how I could try to convey the importance of this facility in India to my friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and not only that - for people to connect with it so deeply that they took it upon themselves to reach out to their friends, family, work colleagues and acquaintances.
But you all did. And it was totally worth it. Why? Because now we’re building it together. We’re connected in this journey and everyone’s role - whether small or large - is part of a bigger whole.
Construction will begin once the lockdown is lifted. We'll begin designing our first women's projects during this time. We’ll be iterating and validating fast, making sure we keep our women at the centre of the program evolution. Of course, I will keep you updated along the way!
For some of these energetic little humans, KKSS is the first home they've had. But due to lack of funds, it's hard to provide everything from the beginning. So for the kids age 3-5, they didn't have proper beds. So in the days during the fundraiser, we decided to solve this immediate problem. Jannis was with us, and as a furniture designer and trained carpenter, we were in good hands! So we gave ourselves a budget of €500 and 4 days and to my astonishment, we actually pulled it off. We made deals for plywood and paint, we hired dodgy tools (that worked pretty well) and worked from the hot morning until there was no light left. After drying over the weekend, we were able to put them in yesterday and let’s just say it was all vibes - the kids loved them, the staff loved them. Jannis was even able to design much needed shelves with the leftovers so we basically had no waste. Thank you to our helpers who came and painted! Epic 4 day mission complete 🤸🏻♀️💪🏼❤️
Tamil Nadu is the 11th largest state of India and is just over 67 million people. in 2016, KKSS won the Best Institute for Women's Rights and Welfare in the whole state. This is an incredible achievement and recognises the tireless work they do to create better lives for girls and women in South India. They are pioneers in changing the narrative of women, and creating leaders of tomorrow.