How we started
Generate Love came into being when the English novelist, Anna Mendham, was renting a house as a writer’s retreat high in the hills of the Kullu Valley, India.
Some of the local children, curious about the foreigner in their remote village, would turn up on her doorstep eager to play games, bake cakes and, as they got older, for English tuition.
While running bi-weekly evening classes, Anna became impressed by how intelligent- as well as sweet, funny and mischievous- these youngsters were. Not only would they remember the words and phrases that she taught them but they would perfectly replicate her accent as well.
Most of them lived in tumbledown shacks with no running water or indoor cooking facilities (an outdoor tap serving as both shower and kitchen sink) yet still they were well turned out when they attended the local government school, diligently did their homework (often by candlelight) and managed to pass their exams with flying colors.
Their parent/s work six days a week doing back-breaking labor to keep their children in school. But even if their daughters and sons excelled in their studies, university or technical college was way beyond their financial reach. Even the most prodigious students were leaving school at eighteen (at best) and joining a road gang.
Not wishing to see these teenagers hard work and potential go to waste, Anna began fundraising on their behalf. She petitioned tourists to put something back into the area. She also encouraged gap year student to come and stay in her village and pass on their various skills.
The response was heartening and realizing that there was scope to extend the opportunities beyond the vicinity of her tiny village, Anna handed over the reins of Generate Love to Pushpa Lama who is now running the project as a full-time initiative throughout the Kullu Valley.