Sunday, May 25, 2014

Our work in India

Probably the most common question I have received lately is...

"What are you guys going to be doing over there?"

Most people assume we will be teaching since Lon is a teacher.  But no, even though we will be living on a school campus, and will interact in many ways with the children, we will not be there as full-time teachers.

Lon's official title is Director of Volunteer Programs in India.  He will be responsible for coordinating all the volunteer efforts for the year that we are there.  Rising Star Outreach has many volunteer sessions throughout the year, with a large majority scheduled in the summer.  We will arrive on campus June 7th and the first regular volunteer session arrives June 16th.  So we have exactly 9 days to become experts on what we're doing!

Rising Star Outreach has a wonderfully broad approach to helping and 
lifting those affected with leprosy.... 

The Mobile Medical Clinic goes out every day to serve one of 14 nearby colonies. 

The Community Outreach program focuses on sanitation projects and clean up for local 
colonies and villages.

The micro-grant program helps those in the colonies by allowing them to start their own small businesses and become self-sufficient and contributing members in their society.

And the Rising Star Outreach Peery Matriculation School takes in 250+ children from the leprosy colonies to give them an education and a way to break out of the cycle of poverty and stigma.

Lon will be overseeing all of these programs and also assisting Dr. Susan Hilton, the woman that runs the entire Indian operation.

Our family will have the opportunity to work in all these areas. We will go out with the medical team and work with the leprosy-affected by washing and bandaging their hands and feet.  We will work to build toilets in remote villages.  We will help tutor in the schools.  Our children will read with younger children to improve their English. Our older children might teach piano or violin and we would like to have a school choir while we are there. 

(As far as our kids' schooling goes, Camry and Liberty will have a full schedule of online courses starting in August and Cohen and Avery will be homeschooled.)

I am very excited to be the Sponsorship Coordinator.  Let me explain what that will entail...

Isn't he SO adorable?  His name is Praveenkumar...and he still needs a sponsor!

Each of the children have sponsors that support them monthly so that they may stay at the school and receive this life-changing opportunity.  My job is to help the students communicate with their sponsors with letters, emails, pictures, and video.  I will take their school pictures at the beginning of their school year. I will read them a letter from their sponsor and help them respond. I will have the opportunity to get to know them and write about them to help sponsors choose the child they would like to sponsor. 

When I explain my job, the question I always get is "What does it take to sponsor a child?'

The answer is simple....Thirty dollars a month.  Less than a dollar a day and you can help a child rise out of the poverty and stigma of a leprosy colony.  We have been sponsoring an adorable little 1st grader for the past year and it has been wonderful for our children to sacrifice to help out another child halfway across the world.  And when we started, we had no idea that we would be moving halfway across the world and get to meet her personally!

So go check it out...see the kids that need a sponsor and talk to your families about reaching out and helping others receive the opportunities that we take for granted here in the U.S.

We can do no great things, 
only small things with great love. 
--Mother Teresa

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