Nov 18, 2019

College Memories

Clifford performing "Perfect" as the girls swooned
Clifford performing "Perfect" as the girls swooned

College for our kids is in full swing and midtterm exams are complete. Many of our Mission: University students even took their first holiday home, traveling by bus for ten hours or more, leaving campus and enjoying a little break with old friends and family. Here' are a fewupdates on the program and the amazing work your donations are accomplishing.

After a delayed launch, Basanti is finally enrolled at Swastik Nursing School, preparing for a three year degree program in a highly-competitive field. According to a recent article in Business Today, India has only 0.7 doctors and 1.7 nurses available per thousand people…which all but guarantees Basanti a bright future.

But the work will be challenging. Without much science background, she knows what she’s up against. “I sometimes worry: will I be able to study science after studying art?” Basanti wonders. “But now I believe that I can do it and I would like you all to pray for me to be able to do it please.”

Clifford is now two months into his BioTechnology degree at Uttranchal University and things are going well. In his most difficult subject, Biochemistry, he earned 25 out of 30 marks on his first exam, which was the 2nd highest in the class.

But by his own account, college life didn’t start off so great.

“I cannot describe the feeling when I first stepped into college,” Clifford says. “Everything was new to me and for some time I felt alone. At the start, the days seemed longer than usual and boring too. The amount of stress and pressure that bumped into me each and every day got me thinking of how easy it would be to just quit. Somehow hours passed, days passed, weeks passed and here we are two months later. I feel so much more comfortable and relaxed than before.”

At a recent school-wide talent show, Clifford sang an Ed Sheeran song and played the guitar, eliciting screams of approval from the young ladies in attendance. The fact that he won the “Best in Show” was one of those college experiences he will never forget. 

One common theme we hear from our recent Mission: University students is a sense of excitement at just being in the wider world. Kamal is pursuing his Physical Education degree while making his own posse of friends. But he’s also exploring, taking in new experiences, making memories as well as striving for good marks in his courses.

“The most amazing things that happens in college,” Kamal says, “is that we get the chance to go out and see the other side of the world and that helps us to know what else is in it. I am really thankful for the sponsors who are working so hard to make our careers shine. THANK YOU SO MUCH.”

Sonia and Reeva are roommates at Himgiri Zee University, recently voted the best private college in Dehradun. Studying Social Work and Travel & Tourism Management respectively, these girls are getting their first taste of life in the world, making friends and learning new things.

“Before life was so different,” Reeva says. “I lived with people I knew and it was a simple and easy life. But staying here has helped me learn lots about what life really is…how to adjust and how to be independent.”

Sonia is adjusting to the new freedom as well, while enjoying her new course work. “I'm learning so many great things,” she says, “like how to understand the inner feelings and emotions of people.” After just two months she can already sense the profound impact this experience is having on her. “College will change my life,” she believes, “by teaching me to be a great social worker and to help others with the problems they are facing. College will make me a better person.”

Sunny’s architecture school is going well, with lots of field trips as a class to the Taj Mahal and next to Jaipur. Architecture is considered by many to be the most difficult major available. One report concluding: “On average those studying [architecture] work the most hours during the week, pull the most all-nighters, have the highest GPA, nap the least and are stressed out more than any other degree.” Luckily our Sunny is up for the challenge.

“What I love about college is when I sit in class and do projects and sketches,” Sunny says. “My classmates are so talented, they bring such beautiful artwork. Hanging out with them is fun. My dream is to be a well-known architect and design beautiful buildings. I want to be part of an organization to help people and create a beautiful environment.”

What we're discovering is: Like all kids, our kids need support. They need to know that they belong and that someone believes in them. As I remind them all often, they CAN do this, they DO belong and LOTS of people believe. Thank you all for not only supporting our kids financially, but in being a part of the wider support team that helps them all know they are worth it.

With love,

John

Basanti getting dropped off at her nursing hostel
Basanti getting dropped off at her nursing hostel
Kamal (in red) plays on his school's cricket team
Kamal (in red) plays on his school's cricket team
Sunny (front left) on a trip to the Taj Mahal
Sunny (front left) on a trip to the Taj Mahal
Reeva (blue) and Sonia (black) with new friends
Reeva (blue) and Sonia (black) with new friends
Aug 27, 2019

Annual Report 2018-19

Running an NGO like ours comes with a lot of responsibility. A responsibility we don't take lightly. Next to the quality of care that we provide our children, probably one of the most important jobs we have is ensuring our accountability with you our supporters. Our weekly newsletters play a big part in that but so too does individual emails, content on our website, Instagram and Facebook.

At the end of each financial year we painstakingly create a Annual Report of the year and publish it on our website along with our Audited Report. Though creating the Annual Report is actually a requirement by law, we go above and beyond to create something we are proud of, a piece of history we look forward to looking back on years in the future.

This week we are excited to release our Annual Report for 2018-19. We think it is our best one yet. It is filled with photos and stories from the whole year as well as detailed information about our finances, expenses and income sources.

Although you can view the report online, we will also be printing copies in the coming week. If you would like to order a copy for yourself please reply to this PL and let us know. We would ask that you make a donation of $8.00 or more to Global Giving campaign to cover postage and printing costs. The final printed report makes a spectacular addition to any coffee table!

Links:

Aug 22, 2019

School is in Session

Jessica rolling into town in Dehradun
Jessica rolling into town in Dehradun

Hello to all our Mission: Univeristy supporters.

Well, it's college time in India, and we have 7 of our 8 eligible students safely tucked into their dorms. As a quick update, I'm including a few pictures of the kids at school as well as some thoughts from them about leaving the orphanage and beginning life as a college student. For many of them, it was hard to go. For others, it's a dream come true. All of them are sorting through mixed emotions and finding their place far from the only home they've ever known. 

Here's what they have to say:

"I reached the college on the third and was really scared of the new place. But as I settled down and talked to a few boys, I made some friends. Now it feels much better. I'm really excited to start my classes in the next few weeks and I'm so thankful to all of you who have supported me to come here. I promise I will do my best in my studies."

Sunny - Dev Bhoomi School of Architecture

"Sitting in class today and being lectured by the teacher...looking out the wondow and seeing the view, and knowing that only 10% of [Indian] students go to college after their 11th and 12th...I felt so lucky. Being independent and learning to live your own life, just flying out there. Trying new things. It's just awesome! And you know it just feels free. And that gives me a sense of peace. And I just want to use these next three years in the best possible way I can. Thank you so much!"

Jessica - Graphic Era School of Journalism

"For me getting to go to college was one of the biggest things because going to a college like the one I am in at the moment is expensive and most families cannot afford it. It's been 6 days since I started my first year in biotechnology. The campus here is huge with almost every field of study and also heaps of sports and cultural activities. I still feel a little insecure but I am sure time will heal that. Apart form that I am just so thankful to the people who have wished to give me this chance and I promise to work hard."

Clifford - Uttranchal University School of BioTechnology

"On my first day I really felt so nervous because everyone was new to me. It is a big change. On the second day I was so sad and I cried and cried. I really missed my friends at the farm. But now I'm slowly starting to get through all this and making new friends.The college is really good and the teachers are so nice and understanding. Classes are also interesting. It's getting much better than before."

Sonia - Himgiri Zee School of Social Work

Day by day, they are learning and growing, not just as students but as people. And it hasn't all be easy. Job recently developed kidney stones and missed a week of school. There have been plenty of tears and self-doubt and home sickness. But I just want to thank everyone who has cared enough about these young people to step up and help sponsor their education. From the smallest to the largest donation, any contribution is an affirmation that these kids matter and are worth fighting for. I really appreciate it and I know they do as well. 

Love,

John

Leaving the farm was very emotional for Kamal.
Leaving the farm was very emotional for Kamal.
Reeva and Sonia are roommates in their new hostel!
Reeva and Sonia are roommates in their new hostel!
Sunny looking off his new private balcony.
Sunny looking off his new private balcony.
 
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