Feb 11, 2020

Welcome to the New Year

Christmas presents being delivered in the morning
Christmas presents being delivered in the morning

Welcome to the New Year! It’s hard to believe almost 3 months has gone by since our last report. Of course, as we look back on all the happenings here on the mission it is easy to see how time has just flown by in a flurry of projects, activities and fun!

We had an amazing Christmas here on the farm with loads of past mission children returning home for the holidays. Our days were mostly spent gathered around little fires across the mission; each hearth alive with laughter, stories and games. Christmas morning was especially exciting -every one of our children received two separate presents (one upon waking up and the other at our family brunch). For the first time in many years we didn’t feel overwhelmed by Christmas, but rather were able to enjoy the company of so many loved ones.

We are happy to report that other than your run-of-the-mill winter coughs and colds most of our children are all in excellent health. The exception to that statement is little Niyati who, while playing with her sister and some friends, managed to fall off a stool and fracture her leg (for the second time in under a year). A few weeks in a cast and she will be right as rain.

At school the kids are currently undergoing what we call Formative Assessments, as a precursor to their final examinations these serve to assess how each student is doing with their various subjects. Our Year 10 students are undergoing their last day of classroom-based learning today and will now only return for their end of year finals. The grades that a student receives in Year 10 is the most important factor in deciding which school they can get admission for to study Year 12. Year 12 is the defining factor as to what University they can study in -so as you can see, good results in Year 10 have significant value!

On our farm our wheat crop is growing strong and will be ready for harvest sometime around April, our mustard crop is just a couple of weeks away from it’s harvest. Our fruit trees in our orchards, though under constant assault by monkeys, are starting to bud -and will be ripe with fruits come summer.

We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us over the last 3 months. We are happy to report that the issues we were facing with getting GlobalGiving funds to the ground here have now been sorted and everything is running as it should be. We thank you for your patience during that time.

Regards,

Clifton Shipway
Deputy Director

Deck the halls with boughs of holly!
Deck the halls with boughs of holly!
No Christmas Eve is complete without a Dance Party
No Christmas Eve is complete without a Dance Party
New Year's Eve dinner was a blast!
New Year's Eve dinner was a blast!
Students at our school lined up for assembly!
Students at our school lined up for assembly!
Little Niyati, nursing her fractured leg.
Little Niyati, nursing her fractured leg.
Fun on the playground.
Fun on the playground.
Dinner preparation underway.
Dinner preparation underway.
Feb 7, 2020

First Semester Report

Home for the holidays with one semester complete!
Home for the holidays with one semester complete!

One down...five to go.

Most college in India is six semesters, so our little Mission: University team is on it's way. For most of our kids, the semester break coincided with the Christmas holiday, so nearly everyone was home at the same time. Sunny (3rd from left) is in the architecture program and didn't wrap things up until just before New Years; he's also in a five year program so he has a bit longer to go. But still, all eight students did overlap for long enough to pose for the attached picture. The first complete and official Misison: University pilot program participant's portrait!

The first semester marks are not in for everyone, but we do have a few highlights to report. In his BioTech program at Uttranchal University, Clifford (4th from left) received the 2nd highest marks in the class! And in her Social Work program at Himgiri Zee University, Sonia (5th from left) topped them all, finishing first! And while grade certainly are not everything, we are extremely proud of the hard work these kids are putting in.

In the coming weeks, we'll be preparing college applications for at least three more students. For those who know the farm kids, Rosie, Jackie and Coreena have all expressed interest in pursueing higher education. Coreena and Rosie already have sponsors...but if you or someone you know might be interested in sponsoring Jackie, let me know. He's a great kid, interested in potentially pursueing business. No hard numbers exist for Jackie's program just yet, but in general we've found college costs around $2000 - $2500 per year.

And so Semester 2 starts up and our Mission: University students are back at it. For everyone who helped make this possible, please know what a profound impact you are having in the lives of these children. None of them ever dreamed of going to college but thanks to your support, it's happening!

With deep appreciation,

John

Nov 22, 2019

This Great Big Adventure

Hey everyone,

As one season rolls into another, as one crop is harvested and another is planted, life here at the mission continues its beautiful, challenging perfectly imperfect unfolding. This time of year, the weather begins to cool, evening mist returns to shoud us all in a bit of mystery, and Christmas preparations are already underway. Throwing a party for 150 is no small task.

As we appraoch the end of the year, we would like to thank you all for your continued support. For our monthly donors, we can not tell you what this kind of regular contribution means to us. For our one-time or seasonal donors, your generousity is equally appreciated.

We do want to highlight one technical concern that you may or may not be aware of.

As a donor to one of our campaigns, you will have received a notice from GlobalGiving recently. They've been having difficullty tranferring money to us due to changes in Indian regulations. One line in this communication really stood out to us and perhaps it did for you as well. (The "issue" in question is the abiity to transfer money.)

GlobalGiving is working hard to address the issue, but there is a chance that we will be unable to disburse funds to this project. If we cannot disburse funds, your donation(s) may be reallocated to another organization per our terms and conditions. If this happens, we will contact you again with additional details, including the option to select an alternative project. 

We want to assure our supporters that the donations you've made and are continuing to make through Global Giving are safe and secure and will eventually reach us. There is no need to cancel sponsorships or stop donations. Until GG works things out with the Indian Government we are working to be able to divert funds to India through Health and Development Aid Abroad (HADA), a registered non-profit in Australia that we have been working with for over 11 years. HADA has helped us raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the constuction of our school and many other projects on the mission. It might take a few weeks to set up but we are confident it will allow the funds to come here safely and securely.

Until then we will have to be prayerful and careful in how we spend what little savings we have left. Work may slow down, but it will continue. Perhaps this is a good excuse for many of us to catch our breath and prepare plans for the next chapter of this incredible journey that we are on together.

We hope this information will help to soothe any worries you may have.  Should you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us. We appreciate your incredible support so much.

Kind regards,

Clifton Shipway
Deputy Director
The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission

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