Susan Cox, Holt’s vice president of policy and external affairs, is currently in India visiting Holt’s programs and partner agencies. On Wednesday, October 10th, she will help with a special event in celebration of a $100,000 grant recently awarded to one of our partners. MoneyGram awarded the grant to help 300 girls from underprivileged families who are at risk of dropping out of school. Holt began an educational sponsorship program in India in 2008 to empower girls and promote gender equality. The MoneyGram grant will effectively double the number of girls sponsored through our partner in Bangalore, providing assistance with school tuition as well as books and school uniforms.
Today, while visiting one of our partner agencies in India, we were joined by a young, enthusiastic group of volunteers – all employees at Thomson Reuters, a business data company headquartered in New York. They prepared a western lunch for the children, including chicken nuggets, smiley face potatoes, sandwiches and fruit and ice cream. It was great watching them play and interact with the children, and later you could hear the kids laughing and squealing while they played outside.
Hosting corporate volunteers is a good opportunity for the outside community to learn of the important service our partner agencies provide children in India.
About 20 of the children visiting today live with foster families, but come each day to the care center to eat lunch with the staff. This is convenient and inexpensive for the staff, but also ensures the quality of the food because the children and staff eat the same meal. The children and staff all know each other from this daily check-in, and it is another method of monitoring the care of the children in the foster care program.
There are about a dozen children who live directly in the care of our partner agency. They are children with special needs and require more than a foster family could provide. Today, a physical therapist worked with several of the children and it was clear the children enjoyed it. Some of the children have adoptive families waiting for them. For those children, the picture of their new family is hanging on the wall above their crib or bed.
It is always a gratifying experience to spend time with staff in our overseas programs. They are the ones on the ground in the trenches every day. To directly see the spirit, compassion and tenacity they bring to their work each day is inspiring. At the partner agency I visited today, the staff is primarily made up of social workers. In listening to them discuss cases and processes, the passion they have for what they do is evident. They expressed grave concern that the adoption process now takes so long. This particular agency has more than 50 Indian families who are waiting for a child!
The agency’s executive director and her staff have smart, sensible ideas about what could and should be done. Being here and meeting with them puts a face to the policies and procedures that need reform. It makes me more determined that we have to do what we can to help the staff, but most of all, to help the children…