Mar 8, 2019

Our Girls Are Thriving

Sanjana wearing the dress she made.
Sanjana wearing the dress she made.

It is an amazing thing to watch a young girl realize her potential and gleam with pride when she accomplishes a new goal.

Four of our girls are enrolled in a two-year tailoring program at Word & Deed Trade School. They go to school each morning, ready to tackle a new challenge, a new task and new assignments as thier skills improve. We have three sewing machines at the home so they can practice their stiching in the evenings after dinner. For the first time, we have an electric machine on site. The other machines are powered by a pedal - the old school way.

For the first time, the girls have stiched their own clothing. They are so proud and happy to be creating their own designs, patterns and projects outside of school. Equally important, they are learning a trade that will support them into their adult lives. They will find a job and be able to support themselves and settle into a community when the time is right.

Hope Now pays 100% of all their tuition and expenses. We are committed to every one of our kids and will remain a part of their family long into their adult lives.

As the girls model their own creations, it is a profoundly moving moment to see them smile with pride. We are all so proud of each of them for their continued commitment to their studies, their future and each other.

Thank you for being a part of our story. We can only do what we do because of you.

Bheemama showcasing her work.
Bheemama showcasing her work.

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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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