In early December 2016 we were contacted by a Norwegian woman, Cathrine Bergjordet, who was looking for a reliable contact in Khajuraho to support the family of a cycle rickshaw driver, Aryan*, she had known for 14 years. Aryan lived in Tikri, a small village near Khajuraho, he had 9 children and was very poor, so Cathrine had been helping the family whenever she visited India. It was her who had bought the rickshaw so he no longer needed to rent it, and she had also helped him with maintenance later on. Aryan's sons had been trying to phone Cathrine for quite some time to inform her of their father's passing, but the communication had been too difficult and so it took her about two years to realise that he had died...

Of course, we accepted to help Cathrine to support this family. We started sponsoring Aryan's family via Cathrine in January 2017, and a few months later she founded an association to carry on this mission... Thus began our partnership with Ganpati Norway...

Ganpati à Khajuraho (mars 2018)


A few days after our first contact with Cathrine, we went to visit Aryan's family to see who they were and to figure out their living conditions.

After this we had long discussions with Cathrine to understand how she wanted to help the family, and to talk about issues when it comes to supporting an Indian, rural, and poorly educated family. The main thing is that Cathrine wants to support the family in a sustainable, constructive way, not just by sending them a sum of money and forgetting about them, but by supporting them over a long period of time, making sure the money she sends is used in an efficient way and that the family members learn to support themselves.

Indeed, there is no point in trying to help people if they don't want to help themselves, and it is useless to try and impose outsiders' wishes onto anyone without understanding their conditions and motives.

In that respect, we remain guides, give them the freedom to come up with what they want and can do to help themselves build a brighter future, and give them the means to do just that.

So we went to visit the family a first time to discuss with them the things they needed most, and to try to figure out the best ways we can help them. We returned to see them with Ghita A. Zurini and her social worker Kallu Dagor, from the Devidine Association, as they have much experience in and knowledge about supporting needy families, and they could give us some good advice.

Here is how we agreed to proceed:

  • Cathrine first sent us enough money to buy the most pressing things the family needed to invest on, such as house maintenance or acquiring a bicycle, and to buy food so that they didn't have to worry about sustenance for a while and could focus on coming up with a good plan.

  • Cathrine is now sending a monthly sum to cover food expenses, and with the family we buy monthly shopping and weekly fruits and vegetables. Whenever the family needs extra things we help them with their budget so they have enough money to purchase it.

  • The family does not have anything to do with the money Cathrine sends; she sends it to us and we manage expenses and accounts.

  • Aryan's eldest daughter Roshni* had once started a sewing course, but she dropped out after her father died, so registered her on a seing course again, and she now works on our Cloth Bag Project.

  • Education is a priority so all of Aryan's children attend our literacy classes.

  • Cathrine, along with her peers, is willing to support the family for as long as it takes - be it 1 or 5 years - but they will stop after they finally become self-sufficient.

  • Read more about their story on our blog...
    Read even more about this sponsorship on Ganpati Norway's blog!

    *Names have been changed to protect their identity.

    Cathrine & Aryan ca. 2003

    Aryan's family & neighbours (ca. 2003)

    The family in 2017


    What and where

    Since April 2017 we have been running some literacy classes in Tikri, the small village outside of Khajuraho in which we already sponsor Aryan's family. This project was initiated and is funded by our partner association Ganpati Norway.

    The classes are organised not only for Aryan's children but also for a few more children and teenager of their neighborhood. Currently 15 pupils are attending the classes. Some of them have never been to school or have dropped out early; others go to school, but as the education level is very poor they need to improve their reading and writing.

    Vijay is the responsible and teacher of this project, although sometimes he is replaced by his little brother Ravi when he visits Khajuraho. Four times a week, we teach one hour of Hindi reading and writing, and one hour of basic English.

    In this project, we engage ourselves to:

  • make the classes as fun as possible. Spending some time on “fun facts” or alternative activities is not a waste of time.

  • teach the pupils that making mistakes is essential for learning and they should not be afraid of making them. There is no learning without making mistakes.

  • focus on the students' progress to build their self-esteem and confidence.

  • report progress to Ganpati Norway every week.

  • Project development

    Progress is slow but real, and all the students are very happy with Vijay and Ravi's teaching. Both teachers take their work to heart and adapt well to the interests and needs of their students.


    Read more on our blog...

    And there is even more information on Ganpati Norway's blog!