Here at Joyya we’re not shy about our audacious hope for change. We want to see full and lasting change happen for all our people and our places here in West Bengal. People like Kakuli, Puja and Abhijit.
Why do we seek change for our people? Because we believe every human life is precious, but poverty has stripped many of our friends and neighbors of their rights and opportunities to make good choices.
Why do we seek change for our places? Because physical places matter too. It's hard for our people to truly thrive when they don't have decent access to clean water, safe streets, sanitation and homes that will stand up to the next passing storm.
Our hope for full and total radical change may well be ambitious, but we refuse to aim lower. Nothing less is good enough for our children and the generations to come.
How we spark good:
Good Employment Opportunities – because for people like Kakuli, a secure job doesn’t just change her life, it changes life for her whole family and that change flows out into her community.
Good Social Opportunities – As Puja’s story shows social services can make a big difference on this road to change. If you can help a child living in poverty to succeed in their education you can pretty much guarantee them a better life than their parents had. Add to that healthcare, legal assistance, vocational training, housing and some good ol’ fun and recreation and we’re really giving life a decent crack!
Good Relational Opportunities – because life is so much more than just climbing the ladder. Having woven communities, good neighbors and being connected to others is what brings real joy and richness to our lives, as Abhijit’s story illustrates.
Employment Opportunities: Joyya Goods
This is Kakuli. She was just a child when she realized her mother worked in the red light area. “From that moment I had one aim in my life – to move my family to a better place.” Kakuli came to work with us in 2010 and has been able to move her family. “Now we live a decent life. Today, my mom proudly says to my neighbors, " My daughter is the best. She is more than a son to us. From a young age, she is taking care of the family.
Kakuli has worked hard and progressed greatly during her time with us, and she now works as one of our supervisors. “I was living a life of difficulty and poverty. I received an opportunity and now not only me but my family can live a life of dignity and respect.”
Social Opportunities: Joyya Collective
This is Puja, she’s 15. She’s the only daughter in her house, so she helps with all the work. She cooks the meals, cleans the house and washes the clothes for her family every day. She is in class 10 at school. She told us “I am lucky to go to school so I study as hard as I can – I know it will be good for my future.”
Puja comes along to our extra school tuition groups to give her the best shot at succeeding with her education for that better future. She doesn’t have much time to spend with friends, but she comes to our youth clubs when she can “I love it when we can all laugh and play together – it brings joy to my life.” (It’s hard to beat the sound of kids having fun!) We think these things help to provide a better and more balanced life for Puja and the other kids in our neighborhood.
Relational Opportunities: Joyya Neighbours
Abhijit heads up our maintenance and repair team. He’s a great guy to have around the office, but he’s even better to have as a neighbor. Recently, Priya, one of his neighbors had an accident and caught on fire. Abhijit quickly rushed to the rescue to extinguish her with a blanket, undoubtably saving her life. After helping to get her to hospital, he then invited the rest of Priya’s family to eat and stay with his family while she recovered.
There is an old saying, “In times of trouble, better a neighbor nearby than a brother or sister far away” Neighbors like this make communities safe, supported and connected. We want to do everything we can to foster caring communities like this – because who wouldn’t want someone like Abhijit living next door to them!
We know that real and lasting change is only driven from within a person or a community. Ultimately, we know that these are our lives and our communities, therefore we need to be the agents of change for all our children and our neighbors. But we’d also have to be pretty naïve not to recognize some of the outside forces and choices of other people that have kept our communities down. So, just like everyone, we will need a hand sometimes and an opportunity to make the changes we want to see in our lives.
We are so thankful you are on this journey with us. Hopefully, as we journey together, all our lives will be made better!
How do we know we’re making progress?
If we are going to see this full and lasting change, (and we are), we need to stay focused. That’s why we measure everything we do. We don’t just want to do good, we want to be good, to see good, and to experience what real good feels like in this world.
Here’s a breakdown of how we do that:
We are going to slowly unpack this together. Some of these we are world class in, some we are currently mastering, and some we are still finding our way through. None of this is easily reduced to info graphics. Life just isn’t like that. But over the coming months, we’ll unpack each of these so that together we can better understand what we do and celebrate together as we triumph, in both big and small ways..
Joyya is near, come join us.
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
— Aboriginal activists group, Australia