Changing a Generation

Give a Gift of Hope to a girl in India

By Brian Campbell, creative services director

Bangalore, India – Traditional music blasts out of a makeshift shrine to Ganesha – a deity worshiped in the Hindu religion. It’s festival season here in India and people from all over have traveled to Bangalore to be with family and participate in the celebration. Families have scraped together their meager wages and purchased idols and treats for the elephant god – the Hindu god of success.

On this particular day, however, individuals moved by a different God step out of their cars and follow VCT Director Mary Paul into the depths of the Bangalore slum.

The guys from NewSong and a group of school-aged girls in Vathsalya Charitable Trust’s (VCT) child sponsorship program – a program that keeps young girls in school when families cannot afford their education –make their way through the rough alleys. Today, these girls will invite NewSong into their humble homes.

One girl, *Seveta, momentarily pauses to observe the half-clothed children running through the alley and women washing clothes in pans filled with dingy water. The alley smells of waste.

“I’m ashamed to show these men my home,” says Seveta to Mary Paul. “It’s much too small for them.” Mary Paul just smiles and encourages Seveta to carry on, but only if she is comfortable. Seveta rocks her head from side to side – a common gesture of agreement in India.

Arriving at her home, Seveta disappears through the small, dark doorway and, without hesitation, Eddie, Russ, Billy and Matt follow Mary Paul inside. Measuring about 7 feet by 10 feet, this tiny, one-room home – shared by Seveta, her parents and sister – is tidy and clean.

Seveta’s sister attends college, but her parents could not afford Seveta’s education. Her father suffered from alcoholism, and her mother became the principle provider for the family. With Holt’s help, VCT provided Seveta with books, paper, a uniform and other supplies needed to attend school.

The guys are impressed with Seveta’s story and her willingness to work so hard.

“There are still so many more we could serve in just this area,” says Mary Paul, exiting the house with NewSong and signaling to the other girls in the alley.  “By helping these girls stay in school, we can change an entire generation.”

As the group leaves the alley, Russ momentarily looks back and observes Seveta standing in front of her home – her neat school uniform in sharp contrast to her meager surroundings.

“It’s almost like she doesn’t belong there,” says Russ. “When she finishes her education, she won’t. She will have so much more than this.”

“This is what we do,” says Mary Paul in reply. “God gives us the will and courage to do this work one child at a time.”

Almost on cue, the celebration music in the background comes to an abrupt stop. A smile curls the corners of Russ’ mouth.

“Let’s make it more than one at a time if we can,” says Russ, with fierce determination.

Give a Gift of Hope today!  Over half of all girls in India don’t finish primary school, most because they lack money for fees, books, uniforms and supplies. Help one girl in Holt’s India programs achieve her goals—support one year of her education!  Click here

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