My name is Jaira Sona Chin. I founded the Blue House Project in the summer of 2016 when I was 21. I live in Amsterdam, where I am studying International Studies, specialising in the development of South and South East Asia. When I was travelling in India for the first time, I met four boys who were begging on the streets in Pushkar. The boys lived in an underprivileged community in self made tents in the desert. None of the adults ever went to school and they all lacked income and basic life needs. Shortly after I went back to Holland, I felt the urge to make a change.
The idea to start the Blue House Project was initiated by four boys who I met on my first day in Pushkar. I met Javari and Vikram when they asked us to buy food for their families and invited us to eat at their home. The boys are like my brothers and we do everything together. Without them, the project would not exist and definitely not have been of this extent. In four years time, I visit Pushkar twenty times and spent almost as much time with the families in Pushkar as in Amsterdam.
My project emphasizes a labor centred approach to development, that is undertaken by 'the poor' themselves. I don't work with a team of foreigners, but I closely work with locals from Pushkar and people from the community itself. I don't want this NGO to come across as a 'western enlightened actor' that carries out actions for the poor. The way that the poor are portrayed in development discourse is as the 'disempowered' who need to be empowered by foreign intervention. The goal is to make this community develop as a whole, with as little interference and dependance as possible.
My name is Javari Bhat and I am 19 years old. I met Sona when I was 15, during her first Pushkar visit. My caste is playing drum for a living and we have lived in tents in the Pushkar desert for generations. I manage the project when Sona is in Holland and look after the school children. I make lunch for the school children, make sure that the children go to school regularly and buy uniforms. I also welcome and guide volunteers who visit the Blue House. When Sona is in Pushkar, we do everything together. When she is in Holland, we are in contact all day. I am grateful that she came into my life. Thanks to her, my life has changed and I have hope for a different future. The first child we sent to school was my brother Pawan. I did not have the opportunity to go to school growing up, because my family lives in extreme poverty. I am happy to give children a good future and change their life. My dream is to live in a house with my family, on our own land.
My name is Sunil Bhat, better known as Boss, and I am 19 years old. I met Sona when Javari and my brother Vikram brought her to the camp where my caste lives. Sona built my house and changed my life. In Pushkar, Sona, Javari and me manage the project together. We are in contact with the families of the school children, buy uniforms and make sure that the project runs smoothly. I take care of the silver jewellery and handmade product orders. My younger brother Rohit goes to our project's school. I went to school for a few years, when Sona enrolled me in a private school in 2017. Because I was too old to start in school, I did not finish my education. I will make sure that my younger family members finish their education, because they have the opportunity to change their live.