Education  India Project #39535

Mission: University

by The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission
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Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Mission: University
Pinky: Ready to Study Design
Pinky: Ready to Study Design

Hey everyone,

It’s hard to believe but six of our original 8 students will be graduating this spring. Sonia, Job, Kamal, Clifford, Basanti and Jessica. Statistically, 50% of Indian college students drop out before completing their degree, but so far, with hard work and dedication, 100% of our students are on track to graduate. Great job, everyone.

Three years into this program, we have 18 students funded and enrolled in top private universities. And in the coming year, we’ll add 7 more, bringing our total to 25! In no particular order, here is next year’s class.

Pinky is an incredible artist who has an unlimited amount of potential. All the images in the photo above were created by her! Her goal is to study interior design or some type of design, allowing her to put her creativity to work. 

Lisa hopes to study nursing like her big sister Basanti. Basanti will graduate this October after an incredible program that had her doing rounds in a local hospital during the Covid crisis. The most amazing thing is: Basanti’s sponsor has decided to sponsor Lisa as well, so this girl is all set! With an estimated shortage of 4 million nurses in India, this is a smart path with a bright future.

For years, Shane has been interested in cooking, often helping out in the kitchen and preparing meals for the boys. Now he’s hoping to get his BHM (Bachelor of Hotel Management) to advance his career. “Five years after graduation, I see myself in a well-known restaurant as the Executive Chef,” he says. Dream big, Shane. And watch those fingers.

Like many young women, Kushbu has the dream to become a flight attendant for an airline. This competitive field requires a Bachelor’s degree, so Kushbu is considering a BBA in Airport Management, allowing her to learn about the business of air travel and opening many more doors in the process. Spread your wings, Kushbu. It’s time to fly!

Sareena is another artist who plans to study graphic design in college. Her long-time sponsor has already offered to support this girl’s dream and so Sareena is now just looking for the best program to sharpen her already keen sense of style. Quit lying around, Sareena. It’s time to bounce into the future.

At the moment, Dhiraj is debating between earning a business degree or an educational degree. We can say, he’d make an excellent teacher or captain of industry, wherever he decides to apply himself. “I never thought of me being in college,” Dhiraj says, “so yes, this opportunity means a lot to me.” We believe in you, buddy!

Anthea is the kind of powerful young woman who can do whatever she puts her mind to. At the moment she is still undecided but interested in business and/or travel. Does everyone have their career path all mapped out before they turn 20? No doubt, in the end, she'll make us all proud. 

HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

If you’d like to sponsor one of these students, please reach out to me at john@johnmarshall.com and I’ll give you all the details.

If you’d like to make an additional donation or a monthy donation, you can visit the Mission: University page right here on GlobalGiving. Thanks so much for your support of these kids. You are having an amazing impact and we'll let you know all about graduation soon. 

All the best,
John

Lisa: Bound for Nursing School
Lisa: Bound for Nursing School
Shane: Chef in Training
Shane: Chef in Training
Kushbu: Hoping to Fly
Kushbu: Hoping to Fly
Dhiraj: Maybe Teaching, Maybe Business
Dhiraj: Maybe Teaching, Maybe Business
Sareena: Graphic Design
Sareena: Graphic Design
Anthea: Still Deciding
Anthea: Still Deciding
The Heavenly Seven
The Heavenly Seven
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Eddu on left with her two sisters, Ellie & Angel.
Eddu on left with her two sisters, Ellie & Angel.

For anyone wondering if this program will actually make a difference in the lives of these students, here’s our first graduate to help put things in perspective.

The year before Mission: University was founded, there was one student at the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission who dreamed of attending college. Her name is Eddu and she was hoping to study business.

Without much fanfare, following a low-key appeal, supporters were found, money was raised, applications were submitted and Eddu was enrolled in Graphic Era Hill University in Haldwani.

Now, three years later, after a lot of hard work, Eddu has completed her BA in Marketing with a Human Resources minor, graduating ranked #1 in her class! The Valedictorian is called the “topper” in India and it’s a big deal, not just for the student but for the university as well. All schools print and hang gigantic gaudy banners with the topper’s face blown up big, advertising their achievements to all prospective students who pass by. This is especially true when a graduate receives any large placement offers, as Eddu did.

As with all good schools, recruiters visited Eddu’s college campus and looked for new talent to hire. After making the rounds and completing her interviews, Eddu received three offers from top marketing firms, accepting the most lucrative one which came in at over 800,000 rupees/yr. or around $11,000.

To put this in perspective, half of India’s population lives on around $1000 per year or less than $3/day. The median household income in India is around $3100/year. Eddu’s entire three-year degree cost $7400, making it not only a good investment but a life-changing one too. We couldn't be more proud.

When I asked Eddu to make a comment for this post, she sent me long voice messages to fully express her feelings. Here is a piece of what she had to say.

“When I was in 12th class, I thought of dropping our of my studies. I never thought I’d be going to such a big university. Maybe a smalll local one, but not this. My college experience was very beautiful. I really enjoyed every piece of my college. All the time that I spent, all the friends that I made, and all the memories that I have with me still. Most of all, I want to thank each and every person who has supported me. It really was a true blessing. Thank you.”

Not every student will be a topper like Eddu. But we hope her success is an inspiration to everyone in the Mission: University program and to all remaining students thinking about college in the future. We also hope it’s an inspiration to all of you and the first proof that your donations are money well spent. 

Mission: University is not about degrees or graduates. It’s about giving these kids an opportunity and seeing what they can do with it. With six more students set to graduate next year and seven new students ready to enroll, we’re excited to see what they come up with.

Here’s hoping for many more gaudy banners to come,. 

As a final suggestion, if anyone's interested in having a larger impact on this project, please consider becoming a montly donor. Regular giving is powerful and life-changing.  Click here to get started and thanks for your continued support. 

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The entire Mission University team...mostly.
The entire Mission University team...mostly.

It began two years ago with 8 students and has grown to 19 with our latest batch of enrollments.

Nineteen kids in college at once! As you might imagine, it’s a logistic, bureaucratic, and financial challenge that requires the support and commitment of many people from many different countries.

This year, we have a few firsts in the program.

Kelly and Jimika will be the first to study law. They’ll be attending Uttranchal University, considered one of the top private law schools in India. Their program is a 5-year master’s program that is sure to challenge them both. Kelly hopes to be a child advocate attorney and Jimika has plenty of time to figure out her specialty.

Trudy will be attending Graphic Era University, studying Business while Nancy will be taking a break from teaching to earn her 2-year B.Ed teach certificate, Gordon will be studying Computer Science, and Sabithri will be working towards her BA and a teaching degree to follow. 

It was a challenging year for college students everywhere last year, with Covid restrictions and lockdowns making remote learning necessary. At the moment, it seems that the latest wave is calming down, all of our students are fully vaccinated, and we are hopeful that college life will return to “normal” for the 2021-2022 school year. Time will tell.

For the record: Clifford (Bio-Tech), Jessica (Journalism), Basanti (Nursing), Kamal (Phys. Ed.), Sonia (BA Social Work) and Job (Political Science) are all on track to graduate in one year’s time. At that time, Sunny will have 2 more years in a 5-year Architecture program and Reeva will have 1 more in a 4-year Travel & Tourism program.) Considering 50% of Indian students drop out before graduation, we are beating the odds. Great job to everyone.

We had five students join the program last year. In all, our two English students: Maya & Rosey…our two Hotel Management students: Kurena & Chandani…and our International Finance student: Jackie…all passed and are ready for year two. 

For everyone who took part in our July Bonus fundraiser, it was a huge success. As expect our $3000 in matching money didn’t last long, maxing out in only TEN MINUTES! That’s 600 seconds.

Huge thanks to our many supporters who stayed up late in Australia or woke up early in California to take part in the 9AM Eastern dash for free cash event. In the end, we raised more than $36,000 and ranked 2nd overall on the leader board out of 1406 participating organization. Incredible!

Paying for 19 students to go to college all at once is a big job, but we’re nearly there for another year. If you’d like to become a university sponsor, there is one student remaining. Just email me at john@teachher.org and I’ll give you all the details. 

This time next year, we'll have our first graduates...and 7 more students ready to enroll. Thank you all for caring enough to help these students aim higher and dream bigger. 

Sincerely,

John


Jimika and Kelly, our new law students!
Jimika and Kelly, our new law students!
The Seven Students getting ready for next year
The Seven Students getting ready for next year
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Clifford (2nd row on right) with a few classmates.
Clifford (2nd row on right) with a few classmates.

The uniqueness of the times continues to make this a period all of us will never forget. This is certainly true for the members of the Mission: University program. After most of a semester at home, 13 students returned to school in February, some for the first time.

New uniforms, new classes, new friends, new hope. It hasn’t been perfect; there is still too much online learning and social distancing…but there have also been plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Kurena, in her first semester of Hotel Management finished at the very top of her class. And Clifford, now halfway finished with his Bio-Technology degree, earned extremely high marks, technically second in the program, but in the high 90 percentile! He also won a trophy for a speech he gave on water sanitation, earing the “Best Scientific Presentation” award at his college.

All students passed all subjects, moving on to either their 4th semester or their 2nd. Their effort and ability are making us all proud.

Sadly, due to a renewed outbreak of Covid-19 across India, all colleges have closed once again, and students are returning to the mission as this note is being written. They’ll have to endure a strict quarantine before entering the wider mission family, but this is a routine most of us are familiar with by now.

As a side note, I’m happy to announce: The Mission: University program has inspired a larger effort called Teach Her, providing college education to orphaned girls around the world. You can learn all about Teach Her at www.teachher.org where you will find many of the Mission: University young women posing as pioneers and spokesmodels for the program.

You can also follow Teach Her on social media like Facebook and Instagram for inspirational stories and successes from the field. With our recent expansion into Nepal and partnerships forming in Zimbabwe and Uganda, the movement that began here is spreading out, changing the world one amazing young woman at a time.

Thank you all so much for your generosity and support. We’ll be welcoming 6 new students to our program in the coming months and here’s hoping the air clears in the days ahead, allowing schools to reopen and in-person learning to resume.

Stay safe and be well,

John

Kurena (on right) with her M: U roommate Chandani.
Kurena (on right) with her M: U roommate Chandani.
The Teach Her homepage featuring M:U student Maya!
The Teach Her homepage featuring M:U student Maya!
New Mission: University students ready to enroll.
New Mission: University students ready to enroll.

Links:

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Chandani looking up from an online class
Chandani looking up from an online class

After a year like 2020, we are not sad to see it coming to an end. 

For our Mission: University students, 2020 has meant remote learning as all participants saw their schools shut down, like so many students around the world. So classes were conducted on laptops or on phones, often overcoming internet connection issues, missing out on the experience of college, but moving forward none the less. 

For new students like Coreena and Chandani, missing the first semester of Hotel Management school was a disappointment as so much of their course work involves labs and hands-on activities. For Maya and Rosey, new Engilsh (Hons) students, their fisrt semester involved lots of onine presentations while remaining at the mission. The same was true for Jackie, our International FInance student who missed semester 1 at his top private institution. But all schools will be opening up again after the first of the year, as the country of India starts allowing students to return to campus.

Basanti is already back in her hostel for her 2nd year in nursing college, and Sunny is back to school as well, for year 2 of his 5 year architectural degree program. The remainder of our students will be returning to class in the first week of January, so lots of excitement lies ahead. 

One exciting development has been the purchase of new laptops for our students thanks to the generosity of so many of our sponsors. Nearly every student in the program will be returning to their classrooms with a powerful new computer to help them complete their course work. It costs about $600 US for a quality machine, a protective case and a wireless mouse, should anyone be interested in sponsoring a student's laptop. Just let us know. A fund has been set up specifically for this purpose.

And so, as we close the books on what has been one of the most challenging years on record, we look forward to the healing and opening of the world in the days ahead. And we thank everyone of you for your generosity and support. We could not do this work and they would not get this opportunity without all of you.

May we all stay healthy and safe in the new year. 

It's not the same, but classes are continuing.
It's not the same, but classes are continuing.
Jackie starting his International Finance program.
Jackie starting his International Finance program.
Coreena trying to pay attention in class.
Coreena trying to pay attention in class.
Maya and Rosey working on their English.
Maya and Rosey working on their English.
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Organization Information

The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission

Location: Dist Champawat, Uttarakhand - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @indianorphanage
Project Leader:
John Marshall
Dist Champawat, Uttarakhand India
$114,632 raised of $195,000 goal
 
320 donations
$80,368 to go
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