We at this thisvillage are extremely happy to say that we have accomplished what we set out to do. We have been able to work with small communities to help provide what was needed most.
This is why we created thisvillage, and so we can say with complete satisfaction that we will now be winding down operations.
It has been an awesome journey – from our first trip to India to seeing wells be built. And now that even more has been built and accomplished, we are happy to wind things down. Whether it was providing access to clean water or giving counselling to widows, this work will pay dividends long into the future. Thanks to everyone who has helped make this happen.
On Friday, March 15th, we held our first major fundraising event at Orange Art Gallery. The event featured wine and cheese, Somerset Combo–a local jazz trio–a silent auction and a guest address from Joe Gunn, the Executive Director of Citizens for Public Justice.
At the fundraiser, we also officially announced the village our fundraising efforts will be going towards: Bandanpally, which is located in Andhra Pradesh. Stories about the people of Andhra Pradesh, and the projects we’ll be implementing, will be available on our website in the near future.
Sincere thanks to everyone who attended the fundraiser to show their support, and to all those who helped us behind the scenes with event planning and implementation.
A quick note about the Calgary fundraiser: Unfortunately, this event had to be rescheduled, but will still be happening in the near future. Keep your eye on our Facebook page for updates.
— Christie Esau
Part of the reason I dedicated myself to working in India was hearing stories about small-scale farmers. Parts of my childhood were spent in fields, at grain sales and sitting in tractors on my grandpa’s knee. So, when I first traveled to Andhra Pradesh in 2011, I was shocked to learn that the state has one of the highest farmer suicide rates in India. This, of course, was not something I expected to learn but it became something that has stayed with me.
An article written by Andrew Malone of GlobalResearch puts the number of farmer suicides at 125,000. One Indian agriculture department reports that suicides among farmers are up to 1,000 per month. Suicide levels have skyrocketed because of rising debt, which are caused by increased seed prices, increased operational costs and worst of all, failed GM (genetically modified) crops. A common method of suicide is ironically swallowing the same pesticides that drive farmers into such deep debt in the first place.
Most farmers are switching to GM seeds because of the promises made by seed salesmen; promises that crops will be immune to diseases and pests, and promises of incredible yields. Unfortunately, the cost for GM seeds is about ten times the cost of traditional seeds, and many farmers never see the promised results. Their debt soon becomes insurmountable and suicide is the “solution” for far too many. One farmer was noted to have about 80,000 rupees ($1,500 Canadian) in debt. For a Westerner, $1,500 in debt can be difficult; for an Indian farmer, it’s a death sentence.
After returning from our 2012 trip to India, we knew that thisvillage could be a part of the solution to the pain caused by these levels of debt and suicide. As we work in some of these villages, we realize the need to attack the root problems. Women–who are left widowed and without income or social protection–will be taught to read and find employment. Orphans–who struggle to find food security, proper education and safety–will be put through school, fed and nurtured. Farmers–who are without solutions to their debt–will be taught organic farming methods, debt-fighting strategies and any other assistance needed.
This is a layered, complex, difficult subject but there are solutions and we hope to be apart of it. The numbers emerging from these stories are too shocking and too unjust to ignore.
— Ryan Mulligan
2013 is an exciting year for thisvillage! Not only are we about to launch our new website (designed by the wonderful Zach Bulick), but we’re also hosting our first major fundraising event on Friday, March 15th at Orange Art Gallery in Ottawa*. The event will feature wine and cheese, live music and a silent auction. 100% of the proceeds from this event will go toward poverty alleviation projects in rural India.
If you would like to purchase tickets to the wine and cheese, you can do so via the following link:
thisvillage Wine and Cheese Fundraiser
One of the biggest reasons to attend the fundraiser (aside from the obvious helping to alleviate poverty) is to join in the official launch of our first village. We’ll feature projects we’ll be fundraising for, and stories about the people those projects will assist. This is the fun part where your contributions start helping real people in need.
Feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more information!
* thisvillage will also have an event on Saturday, March 16th in Calgary, Alberta. Details to come! If you’ll be in Alberta in mid-March, plan for a thisvillage event on the 16th!