managed by R. Gupta
Pardada Pardadi translates directly into English as "great-grandparents". The term is used as an analogy to the ancient Indian wisdom that knowledge and education from your family contributes to the full blossoming of an individual.
Since 2000, Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES) has been improving the lives of girls in rural India. Its mission is to uplift and empower girls from the poorest section of society by providing free education and vocational training—creating a new generation of self-reliant and educated girls who will break the cycle of poverty in the region.
PPES is based in the village of Anupshahar, in the Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, India. This area is one of India’s poorest. It is infamous for being crime-ridden. Moreover, it is one of the least-educated and least-literate sections of India.
PPES was founded by Virender (Sam) Singh, a retired head of DuPont South Asia. Sam grew up in Anupshahar; although he left many years ago, he moved back in 1999 to use his success for the benefit of the people he left behind.
Sam knew that to break the cycle of poverty, he had to first focus on improving the quality of life for the weakest members of this society: rural female children. Since they’re often neglected and uneducated, they’re forever dependent on male family members for their livelihood.
Lindsay Johnson volunteered with PPES since January 2009. In the one year, not only did she teach English to the girls but became such an integral part of the school and the girls’ lives that the girls just don’t want her to leave..But as the saying goes: ‘All good things come to an end’. Not only is this end most productive as the girls have become such amazing English speakers and learners but Lindsay now calls PPES her second home.One can't miss to read her experiences in her own words:"For the past year I’ve been teaching English and working in the library at Pardada Pardadi School. My girls and I have learned a lot this year. This is a school that teaches not only academics and vocational skills, but also life lessons. The students learn confidence and independence. I have seen the huge difference this school makes in the lives of its girls. The girls at PPES are self-assured, happy and proud of themselves. They are shy, but they are not afraid. I think that is more important than anything else they learn. The knowledge that they can play a part in their own futures, that they don’t have to always depend on others, that they can change their world for the better. They are eager to learn about the world around them and to find their place in it. These girls have amazed me with their enthusiasm and determination. So many of them have difficult home lives and little support from their families but they still come to school each day bright and ready to learn.I am especially proud of one of my English classes that advanced more than any other. The five girls in this class are all exceptionally smart and dedicated to learning. They formed a team and helped each other out. The girls come from different villages and different family backgrounds: one girl rides her bicycle alone 16 kilometers to and from school every day, another comes from a polygamous family, one has an older sister who was nearly sold to a money-lender to repay a debt, one has a father who is the only resident of his village to attend college and the last has a father who is an abusive alcoholic. These kinds of stories are not unusual for our students. But seeing these girls at school, watching them laugh with their friends, study for a test or play cricket, you would never know any of those things. These five girls have nearly perfect attendance and make every effort not to miss class. They have progressed more than any other class and it’s all because of their own effort and dedication.This year I’ve seen the great changes that can come about because one person cared enough to change the world. The school that Sam started nine years ago with only 45 girls has grown to house almost 900 students in three buildings. It has affected the town of Anupshahr and changed the lives of the girls for the better. My time as part of this community has been difficult and rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for anything."