MoneyGram presents girls in India with Hope for their Future

MoneyGram Foundation Launch Celebration

Oct 11, 2012 — Susan Cox, Holt’s vice president of policy and external affairs, is currently in India visiting Holt’s programs and partner agencies. Yesterday she helped 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.

The Following is Susan’s account of the joyful MoneyGram celebration:

Susan Cox with girls who will receive educational support through MoneyGram’s generous $100,000 grant.

Bangalore, India — The first girls to arrive for the special event wore blue school uniforms, their hair in long braids, tied with blue ribbons. The teachers led them to their chairs, and they filed in quietly and sat patiently, waiting for the program to begin. Another school arrived later. These girls wore white uniforms with red ties in their hair. Behind the girls, their mothers sat quietly. Behind the mothers were several rows of fathers.

As the program began, Harsh Lambah, regional director for MoneyGram, spoke to the girls and expressed MoneyGram’s commitment to their education, urging them to study hard and make the most of their opportunities. He then presented a check for $100,000 to our partner agency for a 3-year project sponsoring the education of 300 girls in India. The girls and their families are all part of Holt’s family preservation program in India. Each girl also received a 10-dollar voucher for school books.

MoneyGram had produced a video highlighting several of the girls and their mothers talking about what it means to them to have the opportunity to attend school. As the girls appeared on screen, the girls in the audience giggled as each of their classmates appeared.

As I sat on the stage, looking out at all of the girls, I couldn’t help but think of the others girls I had seen during my time in Bangalore.  Girls working beside their mothers and fathers on the street, selling fruits and vegetables, sorting garbage or watching their younger brothers and sisters play in the dirt by the side of the road. The girls in the audience with bright blue and crisp white uniforms will have the opportunity to elevate their lives through education. The parents sitting proudly behind their girls were clearly pleased for this future – a future filled with endless possibilities for their daughters. Continue reading “MoneyGram presents girls in India with Hope for their Future”

With Spirit, Compassion and Tenacity…

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.

The executive director of the partner agency Susan visited today in India.
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.

One of our partner's many wonderful caregivers.

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…

Click here to learn more about our work in India.