In the summer of 2012, I visited Punjab for the first time and witnessed poverty like I had never seen before. I saw families living in plastic huts and hungry children motioning for food outside my car window and knew I needed to help.
Simply giving supplies wouldn’t provide long-term relief. The relief needed to come from the community itself. But that was exactly the problem. The community wasn’t giving back because they didn’t know how. This kind of poverty has been so common, they simply don’t know any better than to ignore it.
From this came Project Uttam.
Project Uttam aims to care for the needy, teach community service, and, above all else, spread compassion.
We focus on relief efforts in Said Kheri and Rajpura, Punjab. We are partnered with Sarkari (Government) Primary School Said Kheri and provide relief to the needy communities throughout Said Kheri (village) and Rajpura (city). The project has 3 main focuses:
1) Providing Relief to the Needy
Project Uttam provides immediate relief to the at-risk impoverished communities. Most of these people are living in huts made with plastic and cloth sheets. They lack basic supplies, clothing, and shoes.
We deliver care packages, hut by hut, to the needy in Said Kheri. All supplies are bought from local small businesses in Rajpura. Our team of volunteers include young adults raised in the local community.
In November 2017, we delivered 200 care packages containing thick blankets for the family and a book and pencil, to encourage the children to attend the local village school (where tuition and uniforms are provided).
In March 2018, we delivered 200 care packages containing sheets and two pairs of sandals, for both children and adults.
We are now raising funds to buy and distribute more supplies, including dry food and basic toiletries, for our February 2019 trip.
2) Spreading Compassion & Selfless Service
Project Uttam works to teach the importance of giving back. We involve the school children at the Sarkari Primary School Said Kheri in all our service projects. With every project, we inspire the next generation to believe in the power of service.
In both the November 2017 and March 2018 projects, all packages delivered to the needy in Said Kheri were prepared by the 4th and 5th class schoolchildren. Each package contained a handwritten note from the student that tied it together. All future care packages will be created with the school children.
3) Developing Sarkari Primary School Said Kheri
Project Uttam works to build the local village school and encourage education for the 321 1st to 5th class children. We hope to teach the value of an education in making an impact on the world within and beyond this small village, especially for young girls.
In our first visit in August 2012, we provided desks for every student in every classroom, where they had previously been sitting on hard floors.
In November 2017, we
-Rebuilt the bathrooms to make them more sanitary and easier for the children to use
-Supplied the small school library with 50 new reading books
-Provided each student with school supplies for the school year
In March 2018, we rebuilt the school library:
-We fixed the broken walls and windows, repainted the room, and put in new flooring over the cement.
-We built new library furniture (tables, chairs, benches, bookshelves)
-Filled the library with brand new books in Punjabi, Hindi, and English and learning resources
In February 2019, we plan to:
-Build an outdoor canopy/shed which would provide a place for the children to eat and gather outside, protected from extreme heat and rain
-Repair chipped pain and broken walls on the exterior of the school
Project Uttam is also developing its Sarbjit Singh Scholarship Fund. Charanpreet Kaur is 10 year old 5th class student who is being raised by her elderly grandfather alone. Though tuition and uniform are provided by the government until 10th class, she still struggles to buy other supplies, like stationery, school shoes, a backpack, etc. We hope to stick with Charanpreet as she continues her education as a mentor and pay her 11th and 12th class fees, so she can complete her education.
Project Uttam has an incredible opportunity to help people with our immediate relief and inspire change throughout an entire community. All funds will be used directly on the supplies and materials to provide to the needy and develop the village school.
Any contribution you can make will be deeply appreciated! Thank you so much for your support!
Please Note: The funds raised are being used directly for Project Uttam relief and development projects. All funds are being withdrawn into a bank account in my name, Primala Parmar, set aside specifically for Project Uttam. All financial records are available upon request.
- Sharon Shergill
- Taran Kaur
- Harmin Kaur
- Gerardo Landa