Send a Child to School in India for a Year

by Hope Now
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Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Send a Child to School in India for a Year
Ramesh and Nissar repairing our water cooler.
Ramesh and Nissar repairing our water cooler.

We have been on lockdown for 6 months and counting. What a strange time for all of us. As with all things, life continues. The challenges have been many. Our kids have not merely met those challenges, they have risen to a new level of confidence, determination and creativity. 

As you may know or not know, India initiated one of the most severe lockdowns in the world. Currently, they have the second fastest growing number of COVID cases globally and this is not over yet. We are adjusting on the fly, adapting to an all digital learning format and sustaining our home with no outside staff. Not an easy task when you have more than 50 kids vying for a limited number of computers and the space to sit where concentration is required. 

As we always have, for more than 15 years now, we lean on each other to get through life - as a family. With the restictions on movement our entire outside staff has been absent, which means we have to cook for ourselves, do our own laundry and make sure our space is clean and the bathrooms scrubbed. We are all learning new skills, with the kids taking on leadership roles in the kitchen, maintaining the home and grounds, and monitoring the computer room. 

Ravi - who graduated this year with a bachelor degree in Hotel Management - is our resident chef. He is running the kitchen, creating menus, grocery shopping lists and a schedule that brings each kid into the kitchen to help prep, cook and serve. it is an inspiration to see him lead and utilize what he learned in college to our small place in the city. 

Ramesh and Nissar, two of the young men who are currently enrolled in year two at Word & Deed Vocational school studying to be electricians, took it upon themselves to fix one or our aircoolers. At the height of summer, when the temperature can reach well over 100 degrees, they were able to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it. 

This is the precise reason How Now started and the reason it all works. We believe in creating a "home" for every child who comes through our doors. We believe in a solid education through trade school or college. With 4 house parents, 2 dogs and 54 kids, we are a bustling, often times loud, sometimes chaotic, but always a family working through life the only way we know how - together.

Keeping the kitchen clean
Keeping the kitchen clean
The girls cleaning their dorm
The girls cleaning their dorm

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Morning yoga
Morning yoga

Wow - how a week can change everything! We are all living in unprecedented times with a new virus plowing it's way around the globe, challenging our ability to cope with a new reality. The way we live, communicate and interact has drastically changed and, when the virus is gone, for many, life will not go back to the way it was.

You may or may not know India is in full lockdown - no one is being allowed to leave their home without direct permission for emergency situations. For us, this is a critical time of coordinating with our partners, collegues and the government to ensure we continue to recieve our daily ARTs, food and maintain access to our internet connections. Like so many places around the world, schools have been shut down. We have no cooks, no cleaning crew and no support staff. 

The kids who were living outside the home have returned to complete their year of college online. We are creating a new daily routine, class schedules and investing in creative ways to leverage this change to achieve our mission during this time of crisis. Without staff we are learning new skills like how to cook and wash bedding by hand. 

Each day starts with a yoga session lead by the kids. We have structured "class time" and everyone is working in the kitchen. What a great way to learn a life skill. Ravi - one of our college kids who has returned home - is working toward a bachelor degree in hotel management and he loves to cook. He is leading the charge in the kitchen with the help of our house parents. He is creating menus and teaching the other kids how to make new dishes. It is a site to see the boys stirring pots, chopping vegetables with Ravi shouting out orders as they fall in line under his guidance. 

We cannot predict the future and we do not know when life will return to a new normal. In the meantime, we will use this time to build resilient kids who know that we are all in this life together, we need each other to survive and most of all we need to take care of each other. 

We hope you are all well, healthy and safe. Thank you for being a part of our support system. We will reach out again when life has calmed down and let you know how life is going in India. 

Ravi made lunch.
Ravi made lunch.
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Vinod and Shruthi getting married.
Vinod and Shruthi getting married.

We have been saying for years that education changes everything. Vinod is a shining example that dreams really do come true when you work hard and stay focused on your goals.

Vinod just got married to a beautiful girl named Shruthi. This is the hoped for outcome for all our kids - to go to school, find a good job and start an adult life. Vinod had a few false starts, he went to university for a year, trying different programs and areas of study, but nothing stuck. He then decided after the first year to change course. He wanted to be an auto mechanic. He has always loved cars, anything with a motor really. So he transferred to a trade school and completed his 2-year degree in auto mechanics in July of this year. He found an entry level job working long hours for entry level pay. He came home tired but deteremined to stick it out for the 6 months required before he could move into a better position.

In November he moved into a better position with higher pay. After more than a year of wanting to marry Shruthi, his dream became reality. We continued to encourage him to finish school, then get married. They now live a short distance away from the home. We have welcomed Shruti into our family and celebrated their marriage recently including all our staff, the cook and his wife have always loved Vinod and they came to celebrate as well.

This is why Hope Now exists and why it is so important we educate our kids. We provide the home, family, love and support kids need to be successful. We are so very proud and happy for Vinod and his new wife. They are always welcome. We look forward to being a part of their journey as they build a life together. 

Celebrating their wedding at home.
Celebrating their wedding at home.

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Maheshwari
Maheshwari

Women produce half of the world's food and work 2/3 of the world's working hours, yet women earn only 10% of the world's income and own less than 1% of the world's property. (United Nations)

Astounding to think this is the reality for girls and women around the world. A tragic statitic with tragic consequences. If half the world's population cannot rise, then the world cannot rise. These realities highlight why we work so diligently to educate every one of our girls. 

Meet Mahashwari, she is 20 years old and wants to be a teacher. She just finished up her round of "counseling" with the Indian government and finished her college entrance exams. She will begin her college journey at the end of October where she will work toward a bachelors degree in education. 

From the start, she was determined to succeed. In India, a university posting is dependent on a score. If you do not score high enough, the government will not grant a seat. Students are allowed to take the exams each year. Last year, she did not score high enough to get into a good university. She spent a year studying, attending additional tutoring sessions and sat for the exams again this year. Her hard work has paid off and she will begin her first semester this fall.

For the past 15 years, we have continued to create opportunity for all our kids, continuously working to build up a strong sense of self, character, resolve and persistence in the face of the harsh realities of living with HIV in India, which is still an up hill battle in every area of life. As our kids get older and begin to take on more of these challenges for themselves, we work alongside them to ensure they have what they need to build a life of their own choosing.

Hope Now is a unique children's home in India. There is no other orphanage for HIV-positive kids doing what Hope Now is doing. We now have 16 kids in college, 4 in trade school and our first graduate who will find a job, save up some money and move out. A bittersweet time for all of us. We will always be home, but this is and has always been the goal, to raise them up, provide the tools and education they need to be successful and build an adult life outside our walls. 

We cannot fulfill our purpose without partners. We need support to do what we do. We need people who are willing to invest in the future and create opportunity for children who need us. Please consider becoming a monthly sponsor or give to our scholarship fund, which pays for college tuition for our kids.

Together we can make build a world where equity becomes reality.

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Anitha is a small young lady with a shy smile and a smart wit. She is a brave young woman living in a country that does not see girls as equal. She decided to move away from home to go to college - which is not typical in India - becasue she wanted to go to a good college. She studies hard and is working toward a bachelor of science degree in optometry.

Anitha starts her second year at Sveetha University in the city of Guntur on June 12th. She has been on summer holiday the past 5 weeks enjoying time with her sisters. As she begins a new year, she will be returning to her hostel, friends and a full semester of classes.

Hope Now pays 100% of Anitha's college and living fees. We believe in her and the power of an education to provide her a stable adult life when she graduates. We are constantly being told our kids "can't", but at every turn they have proven they can!

From the very beginning of this journey more than 10 years ago, we understood our kids would need an advocate to ensure they have the same opportunity as any other child. Living with HIV in India is still a difficult life. Our kids have to knock on many closed doors to be seen, heard and allowed into a society that considers them "dangerous." It is our job to educate people in our community about HIV/AIDS, how the virus is spread and how it is not. These conversations can be fraught with half truths, myths and a cultural bias that complicates the most simple daily tasks. 

We are committed to having these conversations for as long as it takes to bring our kids into the communtiy. The kids do their part every day when they get on the bus to go to school, when they sit side by side with other kids taking their year-end exams and when they continue to improve in thier studies with each passing year. We are so very proud of all of them.

As we start another year, with 11 kids currently in college and Anitha going off to another year at University, we ask for your help. We cannot meet our commitments without you. Your support keeps girls like Anitha in college and delivers on the promise we make every day to ensure our kids have a quality education and can reach their full potential.

Thank you for being part of our family. We are so grateful for your support.

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Organization Information

Hope Now

Location: Plymouth, MN - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HopeNowAsia
Project Leader:
Machelle Norling
Plymouth, MN United States
$7,482 raised of $25,000 goal
 
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