“To Care, To Share, To Make a Difference.”
Soundharya and all Christel House India (CHI) students have recited this mantra for many years, and in February Soundharya was part of a group of CHI graduates who put these words into action.
Soundharya began attending Christel House India in 2003. Her father was a construction worker and her mother worked as a sales clerk – both barely making ends meet. Fighting the odds, Soundharya went on to graduate from Christel House India and after high school was hired on for a 2 year apprenticeship training program at The Taj Hotel, a prestigious hotel in Bangalore. Despite finding the apprenticeship program extremely difficult, she persisted and was even offered a full time job at The Taj Hotel on MG Road, one of their most prestigious properties. Soundharya‘s salary is a great support to her family and, because of it, her younger sister can now go to college.
Supporting her family was not enough for Soundharya, however, she wanted to do more. In February, Soundharya and a group of her former classmates pooled their resources and presented a check to Founder, Christel DeHaan as a donation to Christel House. The students presented their donation during the school’s 2013 graduation ceremony to set an example for their younger classmates. The check was worth 24,700 Rupees – about $450 USD – a huge sum for these students.
When Founder, Christel DeHaan received the check, she was brought to tears by the student’s generosity and spirit of giving. She had seen the model of Christel House come full circle – students who had broken the cycle of poverty and were now giving back to help the next generation.
Thank you for your support in making this possible - you are chaning lives.
Your generosity to the children of Christel House Mexico has made a significant difference in many lives. I’d like to take a moment to tell you how.
A few weeks ago, I stepped off a plane into the summer air of Mexico City to see the incredible work accomplished by our 450 students there. Testimonials and videos from afar pale in comparison to what I witnessed in person: students with bright smiles genuinely eager to learn, asking and answering questions with enthusiasm.
Later in my trip, I visited the neighborhood slums that our children call home, and realized just how difficult life is for these students. But, at Christel House, I was surrounded by inspiration. It was hope that I felt.
One student in particular, Azul, captured my attention. She is a shy sixth grader whose parents sell balloons to support the family, earning about $270 per month.
Azul climbs 150 steps each morning before she jumps on a public bus for an hour-long journey to Christel House. It is easy to see the pride she takes in her schoolwork. I learned about her dream to become a chef and take care of her parents, two younger sisters, a cousin, aunt, and grandmother—all of whom live under the same roof. Here was a child who had so little yet wanted to give to others.
For 15 years, Christel House Mexico has been providing kids with more than an education. We’ve offered a safe haven for children determined to escape the poverty that overwhelms their families. These students run toward the school each day with dreams and goals, determined to make a better life.
I’d like to ask you to please share Azul’s story with your friends and family so that they too will know that there is a child, living in difficult circumstances—working to change their future. Above is a photo of Azul and her sister Akira. The image reminds me to do what I can to lift others up. Please join me in doing the same.
Many thanks in advance for your help,
Your generosity to the students of Christel House South Africa has made a significant difference in many lives. I’d like to introduce you to one of those students.
Taariq is a 17 year old student at Christel House South Africa (CHSA). In December, Taariq will enter his final year at CHSA - his school home since 1st grade.
Taariq lives with his mother, father and brother in Hanover Park, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. Hanover Park is known to be one of the most poverty stricken areas of Cape Town. It has a reputation for being a violent and crime ridden area, with gang violence being particularly rampant. Taariq has seen this violence in his neighborhood, and often has to stay locked in his home when he is not at school for safety.
Taariq is very grateful for the opportunities Christel House has given him. Without Christel House, he believes that he would have been sucked into the violent culture that surrounds him. Instead, Taariq is a student with a very bright future. He is top of his class, one of the best trumpet players at his school and has aspirations to attend the University of Cape Town and study law. One day, Taariq wants to return to Hanover Park to mentor young boys and show them that they too can have a brighter future.
Your support is helping impoverished students, like Taariq, transition to higher education and fulfill their goals and dreams. Thank you for believing in the mission and children of Christel House - you are changing lives.