In 2009 the SQ Foundation granted funding to Hands of Hope, a coalition of Irish people dedicated to helping alleviate poverty by helping the people in a very poor village in India, Panahahalli. Their homes were in a dilapidated state and needed repair or rebuilding, and they were in need of electricity, for their children to be able to study at night. The grant also made available 3rd Level education for 31 students of this village, and provided medical programs and eye camps for the people in the village.
Support during the project was handled by Father Trevor of the Franciscan Order in Bangalore. All 31 students have completed their education. The housing repairs were completed for 17 houses in the village, and an architect has been brought in to see what can be done for the village of Cobblers that has 30 houses that need renovation as well. Two Medical and Eye Camps have been held to help the villagers and the students.
The SQ Foundation contribution has been of enormous benefit and the biggest factor in the uplifting of the villages is the education of the young people there. It has had a huge impact on the families. In the past there was no academic history there, just field workers who were often bonded laborers. The graduates are now getting involved in their villages with fresh ideas and enthusiasm and the whole place has been revitalized. And more and more children are going to leave Cert Level and get meaningful employment in the cities.
A previous project Hands of Hope completed was to build a school on the grounds of the Benedictine Monastery in Bangalore. Starting with just 150 children, they expanded it to 850 children and many have since graduated from the College there. Thankfully due to the economic boom, the monks who continue to support this project were able to sell some land and continue to maintain and expand the educational programs for the children.