In the beginning (April 2009) when I considered what I thought DWP should be about and what I thought I could accomplish, I didn’t have any experience or guidance, just a small amount of funds and a desire to do something instead of nothing, which would make lives lived in poverty more comfortable. A few years and working trips later, I discovered just how naive I was and that discovery was exciting. I have realized that I can do so much more than I ever thought possible or manageable.
With the accumulated knowledge and experience I gained, DWP has been able to build long lasting projects such as the school in the Saki Naka slum community and the garden and slum beautification project completed in March 2011.
This is a never-ending journey to help poor communities with medical needs, school fees and to build projects that will benefit the communities for years to come. We ask what locals need and then employ them to help us get it done. They inspire us and help us understand cultural differences. Together we are resourceful and adaptable which enables us to work in unusual circumstances and less than ideal conditions. Besides serious stuff like school fees and medical needs, we also fund good times such as the purchase of swings for the garden area, taking kids to a movie, and making sure birthdays are celebrated with a cake and a small gift.
The Dirty Wall Project has no overhead and no salaries to pay except to the locals we employ who benefit from a job. We are volunteers in every sense of the word. Our time, travel costs, and living expenses are our donation to DWP. Every dollar donated to this project is spent entirely on filling the needs of communities in India.
The Dirty Wall Project Foundation is incorporated under the Society Act, issued at Victoria, British Columbia, on April 27, 2010. (Number: S-56630)
What is the Dirty Wall Project?
Todd Ryan - Director
Digging into his well-worn pockets for a calculator and the bank card keeps Todd busy in Mumbai. He is the voice of reason when it comes to spending donors' money despite his penchant for easy tears. He is a human totem pole for kids to climb on and the ‘heavy-lifting’ guy both emotionally and physically when things get too tough for the rest of us. Todd requires a daily sense of purpose, and the Dirty Wall Project, whether we are in Canada or Mumbai, gives him a reason to get up in the morning.
Indu Kewat - Manager
Wearing her heart on her sleeve coupled with an intense desire to be helpful to her friends and neighbours, Indu is our guide to the community. Her astute observations about her own culture, our place in it and her place alongside us has allowed us unfettered access to homes, hospitals, schools and the lane ways of the Saki Naka pipeline community. She is tenacious, bold, and always ready to accompany us anywhere in Mumbai with her beautiful baby Agya on her hip. She speaks English and is our Hindi tutor and our translator; our very personal guide to the culture. Her opinions are valued and important to the running of the Dirty Wall Project. We value and love her attitude and her outspoken, fearless nature. She helps us get things done and we couldn’t manage without her.
Kane Ryan - Founder
Jumping into the world of non-profit heart first, head second, has given Kane the sense of amazement that one person can bring comfort to many people. In 2009, after years of travelling the world, he started the Dirty Wall Project with $4000 that he managed to scavenge through his initial fundraising activities. Wide-eyed and anxious to get started, he was given the best advice from Jaimala Gupta, who along with her husband, Hitesh Gupta, is the founder of Vatsalya, (an orphanage and school in Jaipur). ”You will never be able to help everyone and you have to accept that or you will never last.” With Jaimala’s advice in mind, Kane stands knee-deep in impoverished communities and asks how he can help. His mandate to “see a need and fill it” is closely followed by “I can’t help everyone, but I can help someone”.
Cindy Ryan - Director
It’s hard to look away now. That’s my reply to those who ask why I dislodge myself from a comfortable life in Canada and keep going back to India to spend months in the Saki Naka slum community. I am useful here and grateful and humbled to be able to contribute my time and energy to provide comfort and relief from the grind of poverty. I am hopeful that I will (soon) be able to speak Hindi in complete sentences and add another layer of depth to my time spent in Mumbai with the amazing and resilient men, women and children in this community, who give my days meaning and purpose.