Just recently, 36-year-old Father James had a pair of shoes for the first time in his life.
Until now, shoes have been an unnecessary luxury to him.
Father James is the head of a technical school which gives some of the poorest boys in India a chance to get an education. Education is a way out of poverty for these boys, and the Grundfos water supply improves the boys’ state of health. As an extra bonus, the water supply allows the school to grow crops more intensively.
A way out
The school is situated in the city of Chetpet some 130 kilometres southwest of the metropolis Chennai in southeast India. More than half of the approx. 500,000 people, who live in the district, live below the official Indian poverty limit, which is 10 rupees per day, just over 0.25 US dollars.
- The students come from some of the poorest families in this area – they make some 200-400 dollars per year. In some families, both parents are working. This school is the only place that poor people can receive technical training. With an education, they can look forward to a life as respected and appreciated members of society, says Father James.
Recognised and respected
The school has been approved by the authorities, and despite great financial problems, it is recognised as being one of the best schools in southern India.
- Employers are eager to hire the newly-graduated students, and all the boys are certain to get a job once they complete their training. We are constantly working to improve the conditions at the school. And when we needed a safe and reliable water supply, we received great support from Grundfos India. Clean water is an important milestone to us. Clean water stops waterborne diseases and helps us grow more vegetables, which improves our hard-pressed economy, says Father James.
Journey with shoes
In November, Father James and Project Coordinator Jerome Selva Raj from the school visited Denmark and also got to visit Grundfos in Bjerringbro to see the company that has manufactured the pumps in the water supply.
- There is a great sense of gratitude in India towards Grundfos. And I find it difficult to understand that I have been given a chance to visit Denmark and Grundfos – wearing a new pair of shoes, says Father James with a big smile.