Drum Roll Please!

Big changes!

Due to the popularity of the project, +1ndia will now become a separate project of a brand-spankin’-new organization.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored to present to you, SUM1.  SUM1 = Sanitation Uniting Mankind, 1 person, 1 family, 1 village at a time to change the world.

We are currently in the works of getting our 501(c)3 status.  As soon as we do we are then clear to march ahead with BIG plans and exciting new ideas and ways you can help.

Please stay tuned!

Here and Now

“There are so many important charities out there.  Why should I give to you?”

I hear this a lot lately.  The answer cannot be summed up in just a few words, but I will try to keep it as brief as possible.

Reason #1: Children are dying.  3.5 million children die from diarrhea and acute respiratory infection every year.  Hand washing with soap can prevent these illnesses – it could save 1.2 million of these children.

Reason #2: You can make a difference today.  This is not to raise money for research for a cure or a vaccine.  This is hygiene education.  This is not something that will take place years from now.  It can happen right now.

Reason #3: Your money makes a difference.  It’s not going into anyone’s salary or pay.  I, and everyone involved, are 100% gratis.  So all the donations go to improving the quality of life for the people of India.

Allow me to use HIV research as an example.  You have most likely given some money, let’s say $10, towards this.  Your $10 paid a researcher’s salary for part of an hour.  Don’t get me wrong – what they are doing is important, like many other research foundations.  But they all require a lot of money for progress to be made – billions of dollars over several years.

Diarrhea kills more children under the age of five than AIDS, TB, and malaria combined. And today – right now – you can save 5 lives, 537 school days, and give 150 years of life to the village of Saraiya for $1.74 a person.  I assure you, these are conservative numbers.  If I add in the assistance we will be getting from other organizations like Eco Femme, you can now allow 12 girls to remain in school and empower 537 women for $3.73 a person.  Think about the ripple effect of this – countless numbers will be helped and saved.

Think about the last $10 or $20 you spent, perhaps at Starbucks or Subway.  You didn’t buy anything that made a real impact in anyone’s life.  $1.74 to change the world, today.

Giving to +1ndia you help 1 person, 1 family, 1 village at a time to transform India…and the world.  Look at that – I guess I was able to put it into a few words.

Please contact us via email to learn how you can donate.

Souvenirs from India

Growing up my family owned a successful business.  Although there were lots of upsides to this, one of the major downsides was that it meant that we couldn’t travel.  My annual summer activity with my parents was staying at a hotel downtown to watch the parade every July, which I looked forward to very much.  My oldest sister, however, was (and still is) a more restless sort.  She would travel to this place and that, and always brought back gifts for me and my other sister.  With each pencil, eraser, t-shirt, or miniature license plate there was always a story of where it came from.  I would imagine my sister in those places and listen to her experiences and create my own memories of a place I had never been.  I cherished those trinkets because I cherished the memories that they represented.

I still love to receive gifts from others travels.  Some, naturally, mean more to me than others.  I recently received some of the best I have ever had with Dr. Mohammad’s return from his recent trip to India and Saraiya.  Stories, news, pictures, and goals – all bright and shiny, laid out on that conference room table for us all to share.

Much of this was concerning the Community Center, of which construction was completed in December 2011.  The all-important road was also recently finished.

People have already started moving into the area. Note the cot on the right side of the photo.

Here is the new road leading to the SCC. Notice the cow on the left side.


You may be asking yourself “Why in the world is this community center so important?  Why not put the money into water sanitation or vocational education?”  So glad you asked!

The Saraiya Community Center (SCC) is a first step towards both of those goals, among others.   There are toilets, which is a BIG deal.  Indians leave an estimated 100,000 tons of excrement each day in the fields of food, along the roads which are jammed with trucks, scooters and pedestrians, and in the rivers used for bathing and drinking.  100,000 tons – I can’t even imagine a number that size.  So after doing a little math, it turns out that is more than 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools every single day.  Women walking up to a half a mile, even in the rain, just to find a relatively safe place to relieve themselves.  For girls, the crisis is especially acute: Many drop out of school once they reach puberty because of inadequate lavatories, depriving the country of a generation of possible leaders.  Due to the higher burden placed on women regarding this issue the decision was made to, for the next 6 months, have the toilets be “women-only” facilities.  This includes small children.  After 6 months, the issue as to whether or not to allow the men access will be revisited.  As you can see, this was also a step towards empowerment of women in the area.

Here is Dr. Mohammad's mother handing the keys to the village chief at the official gifting to the village.

Speaking of empowerment, the presence of the SCC will be a center for vocational training.  5 computers have been gifted to the center and are soon to be installed. There will also be Chikan embroidery training, where the workers will keep 80% of the funds.

The committee for administration the of the SCC are the village chief, Sanjay, and one other. The woman on the right wished to also be considered. She will probably be added to the group upon the next visit to India. This group will check-in weekly to ensure that the SCC is used only for events and gatherings that benefit the entire community. No religious or political gathers are allowed.

1-day health camps are also soon to be conducted.  The children’s camp will consist of 3-4 doctors seeing 150-200 children.

The Saraiya Community Center makes so many things possible for this area.  It is the largest community meeting place within 100 miles, covering 50,000-100,000 people.  That’s a lot of hope and possibilities for just one little building.

Location of the SCC.