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01 June 2006     Vadodra, Gujarat

Avtar Singh lives in Gujarat with his mother and siblings. Avtar Singh and his family are Sikligar Sikhs, who have a rich history of polishing and manufacturing swords as well as other weapons during Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s time. They are now a marginalized group in India, with most people working in hard labour. Avtar’s older brother also works as a labourer and he makes about 4,000 rupees a month – $80. Avtar’s mother is a widow and she works as a seamstress, but she only makes about 1,500 rupees each month – that is only $30. Avtar, his mother, his older brother and his wife, and the rest of his siblings all live in a single room. Avtar’s mother wants a better life for her family, but she has very little hope for the future.

Avtar is from a Sikligar community in Gujarat that has a very high dropout rate among the children. Most of the children attend a government school that does not charge any fees, but also provides a very low quality education. There is no accountability for teachers or students, and absenteeism is prevalent. As a result, by the time the children reach high school and are made to write exams, they usually fail and dropout of school for good. The boys find whatever work they can and the girls are usually married off at 14 to 16 years old. SAF CANADA will be taking on the responsibility of educating Avtar and other children from this area. They will begin attending a private school with a much higher quality education. Furthermore, since many students are behind in their learning due to attending the government school for so many years, we will also be opening up a Tution Centre (after-school tutoring centre) in Gujarat. If you sponsor Avtar Singh today, you will be supporting SAF CANADA’s efforts to address some of the root causes of poor education and poverty in India. Sponsor Avtar today and ensure that his future and the future of his entire community is much brighter than their present circumstances.

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