Children are now back at school, university students have settled into their new term. But what is the role of education for the children that are supported by The Pendsey Trust?
Some children, such as Ruchita, are receiving sponsorship; this provides her with medical supplies and relieves some of the financial burden type 1 brings to families in India. The families Pendsey works with already live in poverty, some live in mud huts or shanty towns, others cannot afford electricity to keep insulin chilled, and many struggle to afford food. Families cannot afford to purchase the healthcare and medical supplies that is required for management of type 1 diabetes.
Sadly, it is not known how many families need our support but never get as far as a diagnosis because they cannot afford to visit a Doctor; in these cases the inevitable happens. In developing nations, insulin can cost up to 70% of the household income; some children are expected to contribute to the family income by working, even though their condition is likely to prevent them from being employed or remaining in employment, this is due to the stigma still associated with type 1 diabetes in these countries. Other children may get married, especially the females; but finding a husband to support them can also be difficult due to the financial burden. Poverty becomes a vicious cycle; a cycle that becomes difficult to break. Sponsorship is great, this solves the short term problem, but how do children and young people break the cycle of poverty and become less reliant on charitable care?
Think of the old proverb:
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Academics have long established that education is the best way to reduce poverty. Children who remain in education can continue having a childhood whilst acquiring the skills needed in order to be self sufficient with their medical care. Education is a right for everyone, but it is still a distant dream for many children and young people in India; disadvantaged children are excluded, including those with type 1 diabetes. The Pendsey Trust provide grants and educational scholarships to children and young people to enable them to go to school or university, which means they can get a job, or provides the support and education to help them run a small business. In turn, they can then afford to cover their medical expenses, thus breaking the cycle of poverty. Both of these outcomes involve education and help from the trust.
In August 2014, The Pendsey Trust’s founder, Lucy Laycock, travelled to India and met some of the young people who have received grants. Firstly, Lucy met a young woman who buys spices in bulk and then sells them for profit within her neighbourhood. However, Lucy recalls:
“Perhaps most memorably we met a 28 year old woman who just a few months ago had come to the DREAM Trust in a terrible state, being very depressed as nobody wished to marry her because of her condition, but is now flourishing as she has been supported to set up her own sari selling business which is growing rapidly. Both myself and my sister were delighted to see her looking so healthy and happy, and could not resist buying some beautiful saris ourselves!”
In both these examples, the young people involved could receive the support and education they needed, whilst having the security that their medical costs were covered until they became established. In both these examples, the young people involved could not achieve without the support of The Pendsey Trust. If you would like to know more about child sponsorship, click here