Diwa Newsletter 3

Hereby you receive the third newsletter of Stichting Diwa. With this newsletter we want to keep you up-to-date with the activities of Stichting Diwa.

Ongoing issues and events

by Jan Dirk Schouten

This year Stichting Diwa has achieved much. We are very happy to announce that beginning of March 10 Diwa schools have started on locations of Brick Kilns near Gujranwala, Pakistan. At this moment about 415 children, boys and girls, are getting education in these schools. We are very thankful to our donors for the financial support of this project.
Summer night concert

We are getting very positive response from people and organisations in the Netherlands. Avanta Reizen, a travel agency, this year collected about 1800 Euros for the Brick Kiln Workers Education Project during their tours around the world. We not only ask donations from our donors, but would like to give them something back as well. In this regard, this summer we organized a Diwa summer night concert in the beautiful garden of Swedish Church in Rotterdam. Swedish Church offered us to organize this concert in their garden, free of cost. It was a very nice event with bansuri (bamboo flute) music.

We are also considered as a mission project by Scots International Church Rotterdam. In the month of June we have given a presentation about our work during the service. With about 15 Pakistani friends we sang Pakistani songs, together with the church community. Later on we participated in a picnic in the Euromast Park organised by church.

With the opening of a new season, we presented our work in the Lutheran Church Rotterdam. There we served Pakistani drinks and snacks for the church members in the garden of the Church. It was a beautiful day and people really enjoyed it. The service collection was donated to the Brick Kiln Workers Education Project and the amount was doubled by the church in favour of the project.

In this newsletter you will find an article about the actual activities of the project in Pakistan , about the Diwa Summer Night Concert and an article about the action of Avanta Reizen. In “faces behind Diwa” Jaco Groenwoud, one of our board member and accounts manager talks about himself and his experiences with Diwa. Furthermore an announcement of our first Indian Cooking Course and the coming Pre X-mas Party.

Brick Kiln Workers Education Project

by Shahlla Gill

Stichting Diwa this year started 10 primary schools in Gujranwala, Pakistan. These schools are located on different locations of brick kilns in the rural area of Gujranwala. The majority of schools (6) are established in the Rahwali area, where more than 100 Brick Kilns exist. This is a hub of Brick Kilns in Gujranwala.

There is much interest and the reactions of the parents and the children are very enthusiastic. At this moment there are about 415, boys and girls, about 35-45 children per school, enrolled in these schools. Here the children will get the primary certificate in three en half years and will be able to read and write. Through reading and writing children will get self-esteem and get better chances of work.

These schools are established nearby Brick Kilns so that children can have easy access to the schools and after school time keep helping their parents in work or in household. Stichting Diwa support these schools by providing books, uniforms, furniture, and teachers salaries.

The positive aspect of this project is that Brick Kiln owners are also contributing to this project by providing a space for the schools. The implementation of this project is done by our local partner organization PSTA. They have had meetings with Brick Kiln owners and made a setup of the schools. Now they are busy in the forming of parents committees, so that parents are more involved and get responsibility to send their children to schools regularly. Stichting Diwa is also supporting the capacity building of teachers. Teachers are getting regular trainings organized by PSTA.

Initially Stichting Diwa planned to support this project for one year, but we would like to continue the support of this project for the coming years till the schools become sustainable. This can be done by mobilising people to contribute a small amount every month in terms of tuition fees and by getting support from the local government.

We are very happy that Wilde Ganzen is supporting our project. Meanwhile we collected €15.000,- for the establishment of the schools and the costs of first year. Furthermore, we need € 9.000,- every year to continue this project. This amount will be used for buying new books, uniforms, and teachers salaries. We would also like to organise extra activities for the schools in the coming years, such as educational trips for the children and whitewashing of the class rooms.

Diwa Summer Night Concert

by Jos Smeets

In the fairy-like garden of the Swedish Church in Rotterdam The Diwa Summer Night Concert was held on 12 August. Three musicians (2 on bansuri - Indian flute -, and 1 on tabla) created a musical evening in an intimate and cosy atmosphere for the present guests.

Before the concert there was a short introduction about Diwa, as well as to the music we were about to hear. There were also tasty Pakistani snacks and drinks available.

After the concert there was an opportunity for everyone to chat in the garden, lit with candles and torches. Everyone agreed that the music and the surroundings in which it was heard went together very well.

This second concert with Pakistani-Indian music apears to be the start of a nice tradition for Diwa.

Action Avanta

by Karin Kreijkes

In this newsletter we also would like to mention that Stichting Diwa received a contribution of travelers who traveled around the world this summer with Avanta Reizen (Avanta Reizen is a dutch travel agent, www.avantareizen.nl). Tour guides and travelers collected during trips and reunions the beautiful amount 0f 1800 euro. Thank you very much for this! Except a financial contribution, Diwa could in this way also extend its name. We hope in this way we were also able to build long lasting friendships.

The face behind Diwa (2)

My name is Jaco Groenewoud, I am treasurer of Stichting Diwa. I am married to Lydia, and soon we expect our first baby.

Not just with Diwa, but also professionally I am occupied with the financial side of things. I work at the ministry of Finance. Next to that I am superintendent for a number of pension funds. Nice and interesting work, especially now, during the European financial crisis. I think I am one of the few Dutch who now has more work because of the crisis.

In my spare time I enjoy going to the film house or visiting a (classical) concert. Mahler by the Concertgebou orchestra or Bruckner by the Rotterdam Philharmonic: you have to have heard that once. I the Summer I like walk in the mountains. Until now I have not come any further than the European mountains, but who knows once I will walk between the Pakistani summits.

As a treasurer of Diwa I pay attention that the money you donate ends up right. I think that till now this goes very well. As Diwa works with volunteers only, there are few costs. The biggest part of the donations can be spent on the objectives of the foundations. In the first year we already managed to collect enough money - with the help of Wilde Ganzen and in cooperation with partner organisation PSTA - to start the first project.

It is fantastic that at this moment already about 400 children receive primary education. For these people learning to read and to write is the instrument to break out of the vicious circle of dependence and exploitation. A good financial policy also involves a clear justification. Shortly you can therefore expect the annual report 2010 on the Diwa website. Then you can investigate exactly how your gifts were spent. I hope that in the future you will (stay) contributing to the work of Diwa, so that we can set up new projects in Pakistan.

Indian Cooking Course

On Saturday, 19 November there will be an Indian Cooking Course at the house of family Schouten, Hoofdveld 41, 4266 EC Eethen.

This course will be led by an experienced Indian lady who will tell us about the backgrounds of the Indian Kitchen and demonstrate us several Indian dishes. After that there will be a dinner, together with the participants.

There is only room for 10 people, so be quick if you want to attend this course. Send an email to info@stichtingdiwa.nl or call 06 412 846 89. This course costs 45 euro per person and the amount (except the costs of the ingredients) will be donated to Stichting Diwa.

Pre X-mas Party

A date for the Pre X-mas party has also been set. You can put 16 December in your diaries. The party will be in Scots International Church in Rotterdam. More information will follow.