Life in the Jungle:
Life for the Kani is very difficult. The Jungle is very dangerous - many families choose to build their homes high in the trees in order to escape the wild elephants, boars, dogs, and snakes that live in the jungle. Disease is rampant - Kani children often die of diarrhea, strep throat, and other illnesses that are rare and minor for most Americans. Food is scarce - the terrain does not permit adequate farming and most tribal people subsist off of small amounts of rice that they can barely afford. According to one ayurvedic doctor who has worked with the Kani, the anemia rate is over 90% Housing is inadequate - most homes are made of dried palm leaves and bamboo that must quickly rot and must be replaced. There is no electricity, no plumbing, and water is collected from streams or rainfall. The floors consist of dirt and most homes have no furniture. But worst of all, without outside help there is little chance for a better future - hospitals and schools are either too far away or the walk to school is too dangerous. Without outside help, there is little reason to believe that future generations will be any better off than current ones.
Above: Kani children attending one of Namaste India's tuition centers sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".
Life in One of Namaste America's Family Houses:
Living in one of Namaste America's family houses allows the children to live in a safe environment, go to school, receive regular medical attention, eat regularly, and, most importantly, have the opportunity for a brighter future.
The children attend school Monday-Saturday and spend three hours each day after school learning from teachers that Namaste hires to provide extra lessons. Sundays are their only day without formal schooling and usually involve visiting with their families, performing chores, and enjoying their favorite activity: dancing along with the bollywood music videos that air constantly on so many Indian television channels.
One of the most inspiring and saddening attributes of the Kani children is their awareness of the pressure, beginning at a very young age, to do well in school and get a good job so that they may provide for and honor their families. Due to the impoverishment of their community, they are seldom able to live the carefree lives that so many American children are able to. In fact, none of the children currently living at Namaste America's family house have ever owned a toy.
The main goal of Namaste America is to lead the children to a self-sufficient future. Rather than make them dependent on foreign donations throughout their lives, the children are provided with the tools to earn an independent living when they are older. India's sordid racial history actually provides a rare opportunity for the Kani, who have been reserved a regular quota of seats in Indian universities and government organizations. Unfortunately, because of the extreme impoverishment of the Kani, most are unable to pass the basic entrance exams and these quotas remain unfulfilled. Namaste America is dedicated to providing the Kani with the knowledge and abilities necessary for the children to eventually gain admittance to these often lucrative careers.
To learn how you can help one of these children, CLICK HERE.