Dec 3, 2018

Creating Solutions

Exam Time
Exam Time

Summer is over, the cool weather is moving in and the kids are back in school. Always a bittersweet time of year. The long hours playing cricket or an afternoon game of chess are done. Time for 6 days a week of school – half day on Saturday – and evening tutors to help everyone keep up. Personal fun time is reserved for Sundays.

Our kids work hard to do well in school. You have heard me say it many times, but the truth is most of our kids did not attend school before coming to us. That means they have to make up many years of schooling to be in a class with kids their own age. It has been a struggle, a huge challenge for some. Imagine sitting in a 5th grade class at the age of 16 – not the best self esteem booster. 

This year we decided to form an open 10th class for those kids that have not yet caught up to their peers. We hired a full-time teacher. We have our own school to facilitate an environment where they are comfortable and can take the time they need to catch up.

It is early in the morning, before dawn, the shades are drawn and the fans are on low, moving the air into a comfortable balmy warmth. Our free-range rooster calling the kids to arms. Time to get up, get ready for school and tackle the daily lesson plan. Under the watchful eye of Mr. Prakash, the students are fully engaged and eager to get as far as they can. After a full morning session, a lunch break and then back to the books.

For the rest of the kids, on the bus after breakfast and home at 4:00 pm. They have an hour before dinner, followed by an evening of tutoring to go over homework.

India has a difficult and often times stressful educational system. How well a child does on exams throughout the year determines their future. A score dictates where and if they can go on to the next level of education. If the score is not enough, the door closes to higher education-period.

Our experiment is working. Our open 10th class have made significant strides, most getting through a year worth of curriculum in a couple of months. They all plan to take their 10th class exams in March of 2019. Those who score well enough will move forward in their education. For those who don’t, they can take another year in our open 10th class and try again in 2020.

When asked how they like the new arrangement, smiles from ear to ear and a loud and confident, “Yes!”

 After a long day, an evening lesson and a strong cup of tea, we sit in a circle and dream about what our futures could be – a doctor, a teacher, a research scientist, an artist, a chef. Their earnest words and determined eyes fill the air with the power of possibility.

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Sep 4, 2018

Creating New Opportunities

Anitha learning how to do Muggam work.
Anitha learning how to do Muggam work.

Summer vacation was filled with many learning opportunities this year. Many of the children have been asking to learn some of the traditional Indian handicraft skills. There are so many interesting, historical and creative kinds of arts and crafts that the Indian people have been engaged with for hundreds of years. 

We all deicided to learn Muggam work, which is a particular type of embroidery using thread, beads, sequins and semi -precious stones. It takes a long time to become proficient enough to earn a living, but once the skills are learned and perfected this type of handi work can create opportunity for a stable income.

Over the summer holiday a professional in the field set up shop in our library and taught more than a dozen of our kids how to do this beautiful work. A large loom was set up and every child who wanted to participate had their own section. The kids worked for 2 hours a day for 8 weeks. This kind of handicraft is traditionally done by both boys and girls and we had both boys and girls participating.

Hope Now is consistently creating new opportunities for our kids to learn, not just so they can create a life beyond our walls, but also to enrich their daily lives and learn about their history and culture. India is a region of the world that has celebrated the arts for thousands of years. It has been a wonderful summer of learning more about where we live, how to create new skills and just have fun.

Fine detail work used in ceremony garments.
Fine detail work used in ceremony garments.
Learning new skills and creating new things.
Learning new skills and creating new things.

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Jun 4, 2018

Back to School

Anitha
Anitha

It is back to school time. This week is the first week of our new school year for all of our kids. For those in grade school and middle school it is back to Word & Deed Campus. For our 11 college kids - a few more weeks of break and then the 2018/2019 year begins.

There are several kids making the transition from Junior College - which would be considered the US version of 11th and 12th grade - to the first year in University. This is a big jump for these kids and takes a tremendous amount of studying for entrace exams that determine where they will go to University. 

Anitha just graduated from Loyola Junior College and wants to be an opthamologist. She is currently applying to several different Universities in the city of Hyderabad and will find out in the next couple of weeks where she will spend the next many years of her college career. 

Anitha is a shy, smart girl, with big goals. When she started going to school after coming to Hope Now she did not speak English at all. She had not been attending school regularly due to her parents struggle with AIDS. After her parents died, she came to live with us. She is a shining example of what is possible when a child is given the opportunity to attend a good school with a solid support network. 

We are a family first, a home, a loving place where all our kids are given the support, love, and a solid education needed to succeed in life. 

We are so proud of all our kids and their willingness to commit to their studies and each other. Our doors have been open for nearly 13 years now. As we go into the next school year, we are committed to each child we care for and ensuring they have what they need to succeed.

Join us in making dreams come true. Become a partner with Hope Now and commit to a monthly gift that will keep our kids in a good school and our college kids in University. We cannot do this alone. We need partners to help us fulfill our promise to care for and educate all our kids.

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