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.
Meet the local team
Sunil, Javari, Vikram, Deepak and Deelip work in The Blue House. These five young men belong to the SC-ST caste and are siblings of some of our students. They grew up in absolute poverty and play drum for a living. Sunil, Vikram and Deepak make food for the students and manage the project when Sona is in The Netherlands. Deelip and Javari are the project's drivers. They drive the Tuktuk and schools, dropping the children in school.