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PUSHPA Projects

Since PUSHPA's inception, the PUSHPA projects have been many and varied. We have learned a great deal from both our successful projects and from our less successful ones, leading us to areas where we can have the greatest positive impact for the future of each community. We invite you to follow the journey through our historical milestones below. 

Water Buffalo Project: 2001

One of the first projects for Franklin and Shirley provided a female water buffalo to families who demonstrated the need and the responsibility to care for an animal. To qualify, the recipients agreed to give to the program their buffalo's first offspring.

The concept was sound, but convincing each family to give up their first offspring proved to be difficult, so the project was abandoned.

PUSHPA Clinics: 2002-04

In 2002, PUSHPA began operating free medical clinics in each village primarily to monitor the health of the children but also to address health issues encurred by the adults. Dr. Vinay Varvhan volunteered his services for this mission, providing health care to those for whom it had long been lacking during migrancy. 


The clinic was discontinued when local health centers became available to serve the needs of the villages in a more comprehensive manner.

Micro Loans:  2005-06

During the first years of their work in India, Franklin and Shirley offered a small loan to individuals exhibiting initiative to start a business. A few of the loan recipients are pictured in the accompanying photos.


The funds were distributed through each community's leadership group, who recommended qualified recipients for the loans. As each business became profitable the loans were repaid to the fund, creating a legacy for funding additional businesses.


Although based on a classic micro-loan concept, monitoring loan repayment plans became a distraction from PUSHPA's primary mission. With an occasional exception, PUSHPA now defers micro-loan activity to organizations offering loans as their only mission. The initial loan endowment remains in circulation in each village, monitored by each community's leadership group.      

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PUSHPA Evening Schools: 2005-present
PUSHPA opened its first evening school in the village of Ganapavaram in 2005. By the year 2012, PUSHPA was operating schools in twelve villages in the Guntur region (go to "Project Sites" for information about present schools).
The PUSHPA schools supplement the education of tribal children whose attendance in school had been irregular prior to their settlement in the village. The evening schools also compensate for lingering caste prejudice remaining in the school system.

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Community Centers
Community Centers: 2005-present

A community center in India is typically an open-air pavillion having a roof for protection from the monsoon rains and from the intense sun of the dry season.  A community center becomes an essential unifying element within the village providing a space for organizational meetings, social events, and for the PUSHPA evening school. PUSHPA helped build its first community center in 2005 in Ganapavaram, and has participated with the construction of four more centers in other communities in the Guntur region (Go to "Project Sites" for present community center locations).    ​

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Rajupalem Sewing Center
PUSHPA's First Sewing Center: 2009

PUSHPA's first sewing center was established near the town of Rajupalem in a building shared by the PADA organization (People's Action for Development Alternatives).

First sewing school graduation class.
Sewing Center Moves to Rajupalem: 2013

PUSHPA opens an office in Rajupalem which also houses an expanded sewing center.​ Funding for the project was generously provided by First Lutheran Church of Columbia Heights, Minnesota, USA.

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Board of Directors
PUSHPA Board of Directors in India: Established in 2014

Our Board of Directors in India consists of four members chosen from the community leadership councils of each village, four volunteers from the Guntur community, and Franklin Gummadi, a founder of PUSHPA. Pictured below are members of our first PUSHPA Board in 2014. Board members meet regularly to discuss the progress of the PUSHPA mission, often visiting a village or school to observe the proceedings.   

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Amaravati Sewing Center
Sewing Center Opens in Amaravathi: 2019

PUSHPA collaborated wih the Rotary Club of Arden Hills/Shoreview, Minnesota, and the Rotary Club of Vuyyuru, India to establish a new sewing center in Amaravathi, India. The sewing teacher not only teaches sewing skills but also offers financial knowledge for students having entrepenurial interests. The teachers of each PUSHPA sewing school meet regularly to share ideas for improving both programs.

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Vision 2031
PUSHPA Vision 2031
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In 2021, PUSHPA embarked on a new education initiative known as:


PUSHPA Vision 2031

Part 1 of this initiative is to prepare the elementary school students for admission into gifted and talented programs offered by private area schools. Tuition and expenses are paid by the government for students who qualify for this program.​

Part 2 of the initiative is to help prepare high school students for success in college. The ultimate goal is to have at least thirty students employed in sustainable careers by 2031.  ​
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