School days

When children come to us, they've often led lives of deprivation and despair. They're usually not ready to start "regular" school due to serious educational, nutritional and social delays. Staff in each Asia's Hope country have to give these children special care and work with educators to create tailored solutions that meet their unique needs.

In India, we have a large number of young children who, prior to coming into our care, have never had any sort of education at all. Rather than trying to mainstream them immediately, we've begun home schooling them. By default -- due to the numbers -- our home school is becoming larger, and more complex. In fact, it's run very much like the one-room schoolhouses that once formed the backbone of the American education system. 

Unfortunately, we don't have a separate stream of funding for our little schoolhouse in India (nor do we have full funding for our large, k-6 Christian school in Cambodia). So if any of you reading would like to help us raise funds specifically for early childhood education, please contact me! 

At any rate, we got up this morning, braved the dense fog that blanketed Kalimpong city and we grabbed a quick breakfast before heading out with Nandu to a local sporting goods store -- a tiny wooden stall on a busy street, not the Dick's Sporting Goods you may be imagining -- and bought some basketballs, soccer balls and volleyballs for the kids at the school. We then headed to our mini-campus, which houses homes 1 and 2 and the schoolhouse.  

We passed out the balls to the most of the kids' delight. Some of the newer kids are shellshocked, and don't quite get what to do with toys, or with people giving them things, for that matter. The playground was absolute chaos for about 45 minutes. Then we divided some of the older kids into teams and played a few rounds of Steal the Bacon (Steal the Chicken here, since no one knows what bacon is in this part of the world).

Afterwards, we shared a delicious lunch of rice, dal (curried lentils) and beef. We left afterwards so the kids could practice a performance they've put together to welcome the soon-to-arrive teams from North Church and Scarlet City Church in Columbus, Ohio.

I love these kids. It's so interesting to see the difference between the ones who have just arrived, those who have been with us for a year, and those who have been together for much longer. They're all in different places developmentally and relationally, but they're all so precious. 

I have a special place in my heart for the kids I know the best, but all of them are great. Please pray for more sponsoring churches. We are in urgent need of two sponsoring churches in India and one in Cambodia. Having spent time with these kids, and having seen the impact on churches who partner with us, I can't imagine why anyone would not want to jump in with both feet. But we're trusting God. He continues to provide for us, and we know that he has given us these kids for a reason.

As you look at these pictures, will you pray for permanent supporting churches for the kids from Kalimpong 3 -- and for those who will be Kalimpong 4. May God bless us all as we work hard for these wonderful children. 

John McCollum1 Comment