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)
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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This is indeed a difficult time across the globe, we are so grateful for the amazing support that we have received over these last few months. Rather than write a long report we would rather share this short video that gives a good look into just what a few days here on The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission looks like. Check out our latest video One Week On The Farm.

The truth is, the pandemic has hit us hard. Our school fees (which we rely on heavily to pay our staff) have not been coming in; neither do we have the heart to put pressure on parents of our students at this time. To add additional stress to it all we did not receive a power bill from our local electrical network for more than 6 months, when the bill finally came in it was around USD$15,000 - over 40% more than we expected! Thankfully some amazing people have stepped up and met this unexpected need. We cannot stress just how grateful we are to all of you for your incredible support through these difficult times.

As we now head into Christmas there are more bills to pay, presents to purchase and celebrations to be paid for. To keep costs low and avoid wastage when so many are in need, we are doing things a little differently this year. The same amount of Christmas cheer, but on a lower budget.

Wherever you are at this time we hope you are safe, happy and with those you love.

Happy Christmas from all of us here at The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission.

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The start of the Monsoon Games
The start of the Monsoon Games

Hi everyone,

We hope you are all well during this difficult time in world history. Just like many families around the globe we are mostly stuck at home - doing our best to survive and get through each day. Keeping our spirits up when shops, schools and life as we know it is closed down can be tough. Each day can feel like a bit of a grind - but it doesn’t have to be this way!

Our amazing team here came up with an idea to keep life exciting for our children, inspired by our Summer Games program (our summer camp that we used to run for our kids) we have named this new initiative Monsoon Games. The gist of it is that every day at 3:00pm our kids come together for new, exciting and often adrenaline packed games, activities and competitions. To add even more flavour to the mix the kids have been separated into four teams: Huskies, Falcon Fire, Raptors and Cougars.

We are a month into the Monsoon Games and the kids are absolutely loving it. Anything can happen at 3:00pm and we have already seen a huge range of activities, games, Minute-To-Win it style competitions, Lego construction challenges, even a terrific Talent Show. The Games have certainly done their job of bringing joy and excitement into the lives of our kids (and staff).

Wherever you are in the world, whether you are locked up at home or one of the lucky few who still get to go out and socialize, we hope you too are able to find some joy and excitement in the midst of all the struggles. If nothing else, we hope this report, these photos and the thought of 80 happy children in a tiny town in India will bring a smile to your face.

Thank you so much for your continued support, we hope you and your loved ones are safe.

"Cup" Pong challenge underway.
"Cup" Pong challenge underway.
Magic Carpet racing around the Dining Room
Magic Carpet racing around the Dining Room
Corn Hole is an old classic!
Corn Hole is an old classic!
Amoeba Challenge had the teams outside having fun.
Amoeba Challenge had the teams outside having fun.
Lined up, anxiously waiting for the challenge.
Lined up, anxiously waiting for the challenge.
Lego creations!
Lego creations!
Another day, another game to play.
Another day, another game to play.
The last baloon unpopped wins!
The last baloon unpopped wins!
The Talent Show really brought out the stars!
The Talent Show really brought out the stars!
A dance number from some of our younger ones.
A dance number from some of our younger ones.
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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
$217,386 raised of $300,000 goal
 
1,884 donations
$82,614 to go
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