Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)

by The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission
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Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
Help Orphans In India (GSAM General Fund)
The Summer Games Teams
The Summer Games Teams

If you have been following our weekly newsletters you probably already know that our annual Summer Games program has just wrapped up. The Summer Games is a month long event that we run for our kids during their school summer break. This was our 9th Games. Filled with games, challenges and programs designed to build our kids confidence, entertain and create memories that will last a lifetime, the Games are truly something special.

Each year the kids are split into four coloured teams, this year it was the Red Knights (red), the King Sharks (black), the Thunderbirds (blue) and the Hunters (green). Competition between the teams was fierce as they completed daily tasks, challenges, competitions and events for points. The team with the most points at the end of the Games would be crowned the Summer Games Champions and receive the covetted Summer Games Cup!

After 4 weeks of challenges and with points absolutely neck and neck, the Red Knights scraped through for final victory and were crowned the Summer Games Champions. Congratulations team!

We had an absolute blast running the games - our Summer Games Committee did an incredible job managing daily fun! We have no doubt that our children will look back positively on these games for years to come. They have all gone off to school this week – sharing stories with their classmates of the exciting (and sometimes disgusting) challenges/fun they had over the summer break.

We want to thank all of you who have supported us through the last quarter, work and life continues well here on the Mission. Our new Kindergarten construction is well underway with the foundation now being completed (just in time for the monsoon which hit last week). Our fields are going well, we have planted a large crop of sugar cane and will soon be planting our regular rice crop.

It is through your support that we are able to continue to make a positive change in the lives of our kids; we could not do this without you.

A game of kickball underway.
A game of kickball underway.
Volleyball in the pool was a new experience!
Volleyball in the pool was a new experience!
Our children made and slept in their own shelters.
Our children made and slept in their own shelters.
War paint is a great way to show team spirit.
War paint is a great way to show team spirit.
Team Shields are jealously guarded.
Team Shields are jealously guarded.
The Medallion of Power, hidden by daily riddles.
The Medallion of Power, hidden by daily riddles.
Munching Madness - fill or spill your guts!
Munching Madness - fill or spill your guts!
There were countless daily games.
There were countless daily games.
Splashternoon was a day of fun with water.
Splashternoon was a day of fun with water.
How about some messy fun in the mud?
How about some messy fun in the mud?
The monsoon made our fields the perfect playground
The monsoon made our fields the perfect playground
Congratulations Red Knights, our 2022 champions!
Congratulations Red Knights, our 2022 champions!

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Our kids and our wheat crop are gowing great!
Our kids and our wheat crop are gowing great!

When last we reported we were heading into Christmas - which is always a lovely time of the year. If you are following along with you weekly newsletters, you already know that our Christmas was a wonderful one. We had plenty of past staff and children return home to celebrate the season; there were bonfires, presents, snacks, picnics, games and everything you would expect from a GSAM Christmas.

We are now headed into summer. Blankets and sweaters are being packed away, we're spring cleaning and enjoying the warmer weather before the tormenting heat of summer sets in.

When we say "all our children are happy and healthy" this is not something we take for granted, especially in the difficult times we live in. We are indeed grateful for good health, for the food on our tables and the safety that we live in. We had a wave of the Omicron variant roll across our campus however it was quick and relatively painless - most everyone had it and recovered from it within a period of 10 days.

There has been plenty to do this last quarter, the most notable of the long list of work being:

  • We started construction on our new Kindergarten building; the next big step in our school campus vision.
  • Our mustard crop was harvested. Poor weather conditions meant the crop was not amazing, but we were luckier than most farmers in our area.
  • Our kids are now all back in our school. COVID-19 protection protocols are in place, but it's great to have them all learning in a classroom environment again!
  • We started our Northern Field Fencing Project which is also being fundraised for here on GlobalGiving.

Of course there have been hundreds of other things happening, day-to-day activities, micro-projects, repair jobs both big and small, birthdays, events and even a state election! If you would like to hear more about these types of things please do consider signing up for our weekly newsletter, you can see a sample of them here.

Looking forward, the next big job that we have ahead of us is finding sponsors and support for 8 more of our kids who are interested in persuing university degrees through our Mission University program. It's a massive job, but we've already seen the incredible difference a degree from a good university can have through Our First Graduate.

Through it all we are grateful for the incredible support we have seen from each of you as well as from GlobalGiving themselves. We're confident that this next quarter is going to be just as active, fun filled and adventurous as ever and look forward to partnering with you through it.

Christmas Day brunch with our big family.
Christmas Day brunch with our big family.
Our Kindergarten construction site from above.
Our Kindergarten construction site from above.
Our mustard crop is now completed.
Our mustard crop is now completed.
Posts being fabricated for our fencing project.
Posts being fabricated for our fencing project.
1200m of 6 ft high chain link fence is ready.
1200m of 6 ft high chain link fence is ready.
We're back to school finally!
We're back to school finally!
The junior room of our library is a lovely space.
The junior room of our library is a lovely space.
Love from us to you!
Love from us to you!
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Happy to share that all are safe and well.
Happy to share that all are safe and well.

With Christmas only a few short weeks away it felt like a great time to share an update on things here. If you are getting our weekly newsletter updates you will know that, while COVID-19 cases are extremely low in our area, there has been an increase in cases of Dengue Fever. While we have not had any cases within our campus, the virus (and mosquitoes) are still of high concern to us.

In light and in spite of this, we are happy to report that all of our children (and staff) are healthy and well. We've passed through the humid monsoon and are now in the fleeting but beautiful Indian autumn weather; winter will soon be upon us. This period of year is the perfect time to play outside, enjoy the sunshine and just generally hang out with friends: We've dragged a big stump out into the yard with plans to set a bonfire in the first half of December. Our girls went for a camping trip to the jungle. Our boys are currently training for an upcoming cricket tournament in our local community. Fun is certainly in the air!

In November we celebrated Children’s Day with a bucket load of games, activities and treats for the kids. It was so much fun that we continued the games the following day! We put together a short video which helps to paint a picture of all the joy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BoFxWMuQtU

A big highlight for us recently was when one of our hostel children, Parwat, was selected to participate in a National Geographic Photography Camp online. Post camp Parwat was selected as one of the strongest participants of the 30+ students. Some of his photos and an interview will soon be shared in National Geographics publications. A very proud moment for us as an organization indeed.

While keeping in line with COVID-19 restrictions in our area we were able to have an in-person Annual General Meeting of our managing body. It was a great chance for our members and those who love our organization to discuss, share and celebrate the good work and progress through the last year.

In spite of some terrible weather conditions, including some major flooding in our area, our rice paddy crop has been completed. The final yield of the crop was not as good as we would have hoped at the start of the season, but given the conditions we were happy to get what we got. We will keep what we need for our own consumption and sell the balance to raise money for our day-to-day needs.

Finally we want to thank you, our amazing supporters. You guys have made this all possible. Come rain, come shine -through all the sesons! Your financial support as well as messages of encouragement really do make a difference in the lives of these amazing kids. Thank you for being a part of this journey.

Seasons greetings to you all!

~ Clifton.

Fun and activities on Children's Day.
Fun and activities on Children's Day.
Parwat taking part in a National Geographic Camp.
Parwat taking part in a National Geographic Camp.
Annual General Meeting.
Annual General Meeting.
Our rice paddy harvest underway.
Our rice paddy harvest underway.
Sitting out on the big stump, Rampal plays guitar.
Sitting out on the big stump, Rampal plays guitar.

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A monsoon storm breaks over our playground.
A monsoon storm breaks over our playground.

Last time we wrote a report here on GlobalGiving we were heading into our summer season and now we are nearing the end of the monsoon! Dry ground is now soaked with rain. Our rice paddy crop is in, we've planted dozens of new fruit trees across our campus and we are engaged in the daily task of removing weeds, grass & unwanted plants. The monsoon weather is like steroids for anything green!

While we love what the weather does for our gardens, the downside is that the playground and outside spaces become a muddy, slippery mess; essentially all play is now under the cover of our tin awnings. Another big downside is the snakes! This season we have already had far more of these slippery reptiles than normal. Thankfully we are experienced in catching them and releasing them deep in the jungle where they can do no harm. Last count was 16 snakes and that doesn’t include the dozens of harmless grass snakes that we don’t even bother to catch!

We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to once again report that our children and staff are safe and well. The second wave of COVID-19 that raged through India was a truly devastating time; we lost many friends to the Delta variant. Disaster after disaster had us all feeling desperate and it was a mental battle to not give into the despair. Our beautiful big campus and the protection of our walls is not something that we take for granted, we know just how lucky we are! The virus was rampant in our local area and we were extra strict with our quarantine/protection protocols, amazingly we did not have any cases within our compound.

Our school was closed for several months but as of last Monday our gates have once again opened (at least for senior students). Many families, still recovering from the second wave, have been reluctant to send their children for classes. We too have not yet begun to send our hostel students. Hopefully as time goes on things will continue to improve.

Classes for our kids are still happening in our Dining Room. A team of our Mission University students, some staff kids and our in-house school staff run lessons each day from 11:00am to 2:00pm. It’s not quite the same as school, but something is definitely better than nothing. Youtube and Zoom have also become an essential part of the learning experience. As this report goes out, the kids are sitting having exams. It’s not super stressful though as these exams only count towards 5% of their final result.

Vaccine distribution in India, like most of the world, is slowly making progress. Within our campus everyone has had at least their first dose and second doses are scheduled for early September. All of our senior citizens have received both doses, which has brought some mental relief to us at the very least.

We are so grateful for the continued support that we have received from all of you. Through the finances that you give we are able to continue to care, support and equip these amazing kids for the future.

The monsoon will soon be over, the snakes will disappear, exams will end, even COVID-19 will eventually (hopefully) be something of the past… but the impact that YOU have had on these children will last.

Thank you once again for your support and love,

The GSAM family.

A game of soccer in the rain.
A game of soccer in the rain.
Pulling our weeds is a daily chore for everyone.
Pulling our weeds is a daily chore for everyone.
The monsoon rain means lots of snakes!
The monsoon rain means lots of snakes!
Socially distanced classes in school.
Socially distanced classes in school.
Our children studying at home in the Dining Room.
Our children studying at home in the Dining Room.
Online learning has become the new normal.
Online learning has become the new normal.
Not everyone was happy to get their vaccine!
Not everyone was happy to get their vaccine!
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Socially distancing at school.
Socially distancing at school.

Summer is fast approaching here on the Mission. Over the next week or two temperatures will begin to increase dramatically, eventually getting to as high as 52°C (or 127°F if you are from the USA). That's an unbearable temperature!

We just wanted to check in with all of you who have supported our work recently and say thank you so much. It is always humbling to us when we get notifications of new donations coming in. In the current global climate it means even more than ever to have your support!

We are both delighted and grateful to let you know that all of our children are doing well. While COVID-19 spreads like wildfire across the country we are thus far unaffected. While India itself is second only to the USA in overall cases, our state has a relatively low infection rate. We are doing our best to remind ourselves regularly of how important it is to stay vigilant and not become complacent. Many of our staff have already received the first of their vaccination shots.

School, at this stage, is still open for our kids. Those in grades 6-10 attend daily classes. Over the last week several districts have closed their schools, we expect this might happen in our district too. Our children who are attending university, at this stage, are remaining there.

At home life is pretty normal, our campus has always been somewhat cut off from the world. The biggest change that we have noticed is that our regular volunteers have not been coming: most years we have 100+ people come from around the world to help out. Our little world feels even smaller without them.

As we continue down this road of uncertainty we value the connections we have with each one of you. Your donations, support, prayers and messages empower us to keep changing the lives of our kids. Thank you for standing with us.

No masks required when you are studying at home.
No masks required when you are studying at home.
Celebrating the festival of Holi.
Celebrating the festival of Holi.
Off to the jungle to celebrate Kevin's birthday.
Off to the jungle to celebrate Kevin's birthday.
Some of our youngest ones while baking cupcakes!
Some of our youngest ones while baking cupcakes!
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Organization Information

The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission

Location: Dist Champawat, Uttarakhand - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @indianorphanage
Project Leader:
Clifton Shipway
Dist Champawat, Uttarakhand India
$268,697 raised of $500,000 goal
 
2,390 donations
$231,303 to go
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