How Canadians Sharing Locally and Globally Was Inspired

Improving The Environment and Health Outcomes in India

canadians sharing locally & globally

How it all began...

We took inspiration for our charitable work and the establishment of Canadians Sharing Locally and Globally from the progressive social development we saw when we first visited India in the winter of 2000.  It all started with an unexpected invitation from friends in Canada in the fall of 1999 to visit an impoverished rural area in South India.  They invited us to visit and see some important humanitarian initiatives that were being undertaken by some quickly growing local organizations that were creating great changes in the very poor rural countryside.

We accepted their invitation and after thirty hours of travel from Canada we arrived in Chennai, formerly known as Madras, a little after midnight. It took us another four hours to make our way through small, sleeping villages to arrive in the early morning light.  We arrived in Thirumalaikodi, a small rural village near Vellore in Tamil Nadu, South India, and were warmly greeted by our hosts.

Once there, we settled into a room in a brand new and unfinished building. We were quite surprised by the lack of many common amenities such as toilets, telephones, or Internet access.  We met a handful of other Canadian and international travelers who were also visiting Thirumalaikodi with an interest in supporting humanitarian assistance. Once we overcame our jet lag, we excitedly toured the immediate village and eventually the countryside.

From what we saw, we felt the basic needs of the rural population were very great and were not being met well.  The unmet needs  were always related to living in the cycle of poverty and lack of health and educational opportunity to break that cycle.  Much of the land was very arid and many people were getting by with barely enough food for their daily needs.  The nearest hospital was the famed Christian Medical College in Vellore, but getting there was difficult for the villagers who needed medical assistance.  People did not have the necessary funds to pay even the transit fare, or the medical fees.  Villagers were also suspicious of a modern hospital with practices and procedures many people could not understand.  In the village the lack of basic amenities such as clean water, medicine and sanitation created serious health risks for the poor.  We began to understand the extent of the difficulties local people faced.  We also realized the tremendous importance the local group’s humanitarian initiatives held for the future of people in Thirumalaikodi and the surrounding areas.  With these gradual realizations, we happily got involved in all of the charitable programs we could find.

CANADIANS SHARING LOCALLY & GLOBALLY

One of the charitable programs we saw provided full-course, traditional South Indian meals that were served hot to approximately 200 poor people every day. For many of the recipients, their circumstances were such that it was their only substantial meal that day. We assisted with serving  the food, which was much like volunteering at a North American soup kitchen, except that the food was served on banana leaves and eaten by hand.  We decided to support the nutritional programs by helping to serve the hot meals whenever we could.

We saw other charitable programs at the nearby orphanages for children who were there sometimes simply because their parents were unable to take care of their daily needs and provide basic necessities.   We excitedly decided to support this program as well.  We provided the children with gifts, entertainment and brought lunch whenever we could.

One of our favorite programs was the nursery school which was located in a home in the center of the village.  At the time of our first visit, the Thirumalaikodi Nursery School provided early education for about thirty five preschoolers.  The nursery school was an important undertaking because parents were able to continue working as their children learned.  These children were all first generation learners and the first in their family’s history to receive a formal education. We felt that early education would surely break the cycle of poverty for these children by educating them for a better future.

Another humanitarian program offered vocational training to men and women. New work skills such as carpentry, landscaping, sewing, office administration, computer training and teaching were taught.  The skills acquired from these training programs allowed participants to supplement their income and improve on their subsistence life style.

Despite the feeling that we were roughing it, we enjoyed our adventure in this small community with its different sights, sounds and cultural experiences.  Most of the people we met spoke Tamil or Telugu with a bit of Hindi as well.  Linguistic challenges aside, we felt very welcome and a lot like celebrities. 

We spent time hiking in the arid hills nearby and learnt about plans for a large scale and much needed reforestation project. Reforestation would restore ancient native forests which were cut down to provide firewood for warmth and cooking.  As a result, the main crop on the hills was grass which provided feed for ranging livestock.  Reforestation would also stabilize the severe erosion of the soil and lower local  temperatures.

The opportunity to serve others in need

We travelled throughout South India and visited many notable cultural sites.  We continued to meet many kind and helpful people who offered us their warmest hospitality. Too soon it felt, we made the trip back to Chennai and boarded the plane for the return journey home.  Once we returned to Canada, we found ourselves reflecting on our travels in India.  We recounted our experiences with other Canadians who had also taken an interest in the area. We laughed about the culture shocks we experienced, noting how our friends and family responded to the stories we relayed.  We also realized the incredible opportunity that this work presented to us, the opportunity to serve others in need. New friends, new stories, new ideas, new hope for rural Indian communities. The next thing we knew, we were planning another trip to India!

NUTRITION outreach

On our second visit in 2001, we were astonished at the extent of the changes that had taken place:

•    Free meals were being provided to larger numbers of people in need.
•    The reforestation program was underway and the formerly barren hills we had hiked over were now covered with small native trees and bushes.
•    Small shops and buildings were sprouting up in the neighborhoods to support visitors.
•    A two-room medical clinic which provided medical help to women was inaugurated.  The clinic allowed local women with medical help to deliver their babies. At the time of our first visit, most births occurred in the home or the field.  

  • We also noticed that more children were enrolled in the nursery school and a small grade-school was established for first-generation learning children.
  • Programs were created to provide financial support to children going to schools. School facilities were expanding rapidly.
  • There were programs offering safe vocational training for women with no skills or family support.
  • There was financial support for young couples to cover the cost of getting married. 
  • There were programs to help raise the income of families living below the poverty line.

Seeing change and communities helping themselves - A Hundred Year Vision!

The expanded charitable outreach we saw in just a year meant to us that more and more people were receiving improved nutrition, better medical services, better education and a better environment. Those changes created opportunities for better health, better employment and greater self-reliance. The new opportunities created positive changes for men, women, and children, as well as their extended families and communities. We started to see the Hundred Year Vision of the humanitarian development plan that was being established in India.

We were so impressed with the extent of the changes that had taken place in such a relatively short time that it motivated us to become actively involved. We wanted to help build on the successes of these programs which were so critical in helping to improve the lives of the people in India.   The whole experience was a new awakening for us.  We joined the Hundred Year Vision and made the decision to become actively involved and contribute to the humanitarian development plan we could clearly see that was underway.  Sharing our experiences in India with people in North America nurtured our desire to return regularly to the communities that Opened Our Hearts and Minds in India.

We have continued to be involved and engaged in the sharing experience ever since and continued to champion the Hundred Year Vision that allows communities to identify their needs and help themselves.

Join thousands of caring people

Are you passionate about relieving the effects of poverty and inequality by improving nutrition, education,  health care and our environment in India?  Would you like to contribute to humanitatarian relief in disaster struck areas around the world?

Canadians Sharing Locally and Globally has solutions that Open Hearts and Minds towards disenfranchised people all over our world!

India stole our heart...

We have returned almost every year since 2000.  Through each visit we were amazed at the extent of the social change taking place. We saw and participated in the expansion of nutritional programs; the construction of new schools and hospitals; the establishment and expansion of Rural Community Health Clinics and the restoration of a healthier environment.

Our experiences in India and the Hundred Year Vision inspired us to support the charitable programs we saw through the establishment of Canadians Sharing Locally and Globally.  What makes our involvement in India so special is the mutual sharing that takes place.  While we assist in providing better opportunities for current and future generations, our charitable involvement also changes us.  Our Hearts and Minds have opened to the plight of disadvantaged people all over the world and an army of dedicated volunteers and donors has rallied to the important cause of giving people everywhere the tools required to change their lives for the better.

environmental, nutritional, medical and health outreach

Our Hearts and Minds Have Opened as we see the significant impact our charitable work has made.  Sharing these experiences worldwide and engaging others in sharing their time, talent and resources has built momentum to assist with social development in India and disaster relief worldwide.

We believe that sharing by bringing communities together can do great things supporting a Hundred Year Vision for development. We believe that we can work together to help others in need, grow personally, and have satisfaction and fun while we’re at it!

We are rapidly expanding our sharing networks as people from all over the world have been drawn to share with us.      Canadians Sharing Locally and Globally embodies a concept of sharing that pledges to remove the social inequalities we see around us.

We have expanded on our nine Indian humanitarian and one international disaster relief programs with the donations received to date. What we find really remarkable as we became engaged in these programs, is the outpouring of love, gratitude and hope that is being generated from both donors and recipients.

It is through love and hope that Canadians Sharing continues to create impact through dedicated volunteers and solid donor support.  Through Canadians Sharing Locally and Globally, we are helping to build better lives for us all, especially to provide better health and opportunities for those in less fortunate circumstances.

We believe our charitable work will relieve the cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity and create lasting equitable change. All of us at Canadians Sharing extend our heartfelt invitation to  come share with us.  Together we can reach out and offer more support and hope to those in need.

open your hearts with
  CANADIANS SHARING LOCALLY & GLOBALLY

    Canadians Sharing Locally + Globally provides medical, nutritional, educational and environmental outreach in India. As an entirely volunteer-orientated organization with no employees, every donation is invested efficiently and directly into our impactful humanitarian programs.