May 23, 2021

The Challenge Continues

In quarantine
In quarantine

COVID has turned the world upside down. As many of you may know, India has been especially hard hit over the past many weeks and months. We have not been spared and many of our kids are battling the virus as you read this. As you can imagine, it has been a very difficult year and the past few weeks continue to challenge us in ways we have not faced in the past. 

Now, more than ever, our family bonds keep us pushing forward together. Nearly half of the kids and one house parent are in quarentine and fighting the virus. The rest of the kids and house parents are doing everything they can to help, working in the kitchen, doing laundry and all the while keeping up with their studies, which even now 15 months later is still a distance learning format. 

It is in these times of challenge where great opportunity also arises. We have spent many, many years meeting the challenges of living with HIV in a culture where they are not accepted as equal. In spite of these facts, we continue to succeed and thrive, which is the result of many years of teaching our kids they are equal, they are worthy and they can do whatever they set their mind to.

In celebration of the hard work and persistence, we congratulate 5 more of our kids who graduated from college this year. Roja and Yasheshwani moved out into their own flat earlier this year. David, Linga and Ravi are all engaged in a summer internship that will lead to full-time employment by years end. 

We are so proud of all our graduates and will continue to support them as they go out on their own. We will welcome them home for a Sunday dinner and provide the stability a family can as they build a life. 

As most nonprofits do, we rely on all of you to keep us afloat. We have many more kids to get through school, college or a vocational school. We have had many unexpected expenses throughout the COVID pandemic and continue to rely on our supporters to see us through. Please consider an extra gift if you are able. We recognize that all of us have faced huge challenges this past year. Only together can we come out on the other side of this journey with the hope we need to continue on life's journey.

Thank you.

Ravi taking charge in the kitchen
Ravi taking charge in the kitchen
Roja and Yasheshwani after graduation
Roja and Yasheshwani after graduation

Links:

Jan 21, 2021

Twelve Months and Counting

Painting Competition focused on Climate Change
Painting Competition focused on Climate Change

Twelve months and counting. What a daunting, challenging, exhausting year it has been. A year of lock down, distance learning and figuring out how to engage 58 children day in and day out all within the confines of our home, with no support staff.

 

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes we are learning how to be resilient in the face of hardship, diligent in a time of uncertainty and most importantly, how to lean on each other for what life demands of us to stay on course and continue to reach for our dreams – even in the middle of a world-wide pandemic.

 

Nothing happens by accident when you are caring for a home filled with teenagers, young adults, four dogs, chickens and a garden that needs tending no matter what else is happening. Once again, our staff and kids deserve the credit for staying positive, taking care of the home and themselves and finding ways to bring joy, laughter and hope to these difficult days.

 

Last week the kids celebrated the Pongal holidays. A ten-day break from school where most of the kids usually travel to their home village to visit with extended family such as aunts and uncles or grandparents. This year was different, as it has been for so many of us around the world. It was impossible for the children to go out to dozens of different villages and be with large groups of people and return home. The risk is too high for us, so for the first time, everyone stayed home.

 

To ease the sadness and burden of a continued sense of limits on life, the staff put together a series of fun-filled competitions to engage the kids in art, sport and other creative outlets to encourage the kids to look forward and build on a year-long endeavor to see exactly what we can do, no matter the circumstance. Each area of competition had a theme, such as climate change, sustainability, education and the importance of staying fit. 

 

There were baking competitions, drawing, painting, volley ball and cricket matches. The kids had a glorious time and proved once again, that anything is possible if you only try. 

 

We look forward to the kids going back to school at some point during this new year and life going back to some sense of normal, friendships renewed and new college adventures. Until then, we will do what we do best – be a family that loves and supports each other.

We have many talented artists.
We have many talented artists.
Girls competing in Rangoli, a colorful chalk art
Girls competing in Rangoli, a colorful chalk art
Always learning.
Always learning.

Links:

Sep 23, 2020

Life Continues

Ramesh and Nissar repairing our water cooler.
Ramesh and Nissar repairing our water cooler.

We have been on lockdown for 6 months and counting. What a strange time for all of us. As with all things, life continues. The challenges have been many. Our kids have not merely met those challenges, they have risen to a new level of confidence, determination and creativity. 

As you may know or not know, India initiated one of the most severe lockdowns in the world. Currently, they have the second fastest growing number of COVID cases globally and this is not over yet. We are adjusting on the fly, adapting to an all digital learning format and sustaining our home with no outside staff. Not an easy task when you have more than 50 kids vying for a limited number of computers and the space to sit where concentration is required. 

As we always have, for more than 15 years now, we lean on each other to get through life - as a family. With the restictions on movement our entire outside staff has been absent, which means we have to cook for ourselves, do our own laundry and make sure our space is clean and the bathrooms scrubbed. We are all learning new skills, with the kids taking on leadership roles in the kitchen, maintaining the home and grounds, and monitoring the computer room. 

Ravi - who graduated this year with a bachelor degree in Hotel Management - is our resident chef. He is running the kitchen, creating menus, grocery shopping lists and a schedule that brings each kid into the kitchen to help prep, cook and serve. it is an inspiration to see him lead and utilize what he learned in college to our small place in the city. 

Ramesh and Nissar, two of the young men who are currently enrolled in year two at Word & Deed Vocational school studying to be electricians, took it upon themselves to fix one or our aircoolers. At the height of summer, when the temperature can reach well over 100 degrees, they were able to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it. 

This is the precise reason How Now started and the reason it all works. We believe in creating a "home" for every child who comes through our doors. We believe in a solid education through trade school or college. With 4 house parents, 2 dogs and 54 kids, we are a bustling, often times loud, sometimes chaotic, but always a family working through life the only way we know how - together.

Keeping the kitchen clean
Keeping the kitchen clean
The girls cleaning their dorm
The girls cleaning their dorm

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