Photo: Orphans at our girls and boys homes are thankful for nutritious meals made with fresh, organic ingredients grown on our local farmland enterprise.
We are happy to report that we harvested over 9 tons of rice this month at our rice farm. This harvest amount will provide a nourishing ingredient to our children’s meals for 4 months, realizing a savings of about $6,000 we would have spent to buy the same amount of rice in the market. Though our rice farm covers 5 acres of land, we were only able to cultivate 4 acres of rice due to a lack of rain this season. However, it was still a successful harvest, and we are thankful since rice is a great source of sustainability in India. The average Indian consumes about 14 lbs. of rice monthly, or about half a pound of rice a day, and the children at our Hope Center and at our orphan homes consume close to 18,000 lbs. of rice in their diets annually. The rice has to dry after harvest for 2 months, so we will start consuming the rice in April. Rice combined with lentils, another staple in the Indian diet, offers a nutritious source of complete protein, fiber, iron, and other essential minerals as well as Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, vitamin B6, and Pantothenic Acid.
In other good news, thanks to your support, next week we will be able to finalize the purchase of 1.32 acres of land adjacent to our main campus where we will build an athletic field and a locker room, which are both requirements for our new high school to gain accreditation. These new acres will triple our existing land area on the main campus, so our other plan for this bountiful space is to grow a vegetable garden, which will expand our existing on-campus ground level gardens and rooftop box gardens. The land expansion will allow us to officially open the school for tuition-paying day students since there is not a local high school in the area, while also allowing our own resident high school students to stay on campus vs. being bussed off campus. Both the vegetable garden and high school will contribute toward our goals for sustainability in our India programs.
Photo inset: (Top-left): The upcoming land purchase will give our India team additional space for a vegetable garden, in addition to the existing on-campus ground level gardens and rooftop box gardens. (Top-right): Our new rice harvest will provide enough rice to feed orphans in our girls and boys homes for 4 months. (Bottom-left): A higher education is important for girls in rural India; our team is excited about our upcoming on-campus high school. (Bottom-right): Children at our girls and boys homes are excited about the new land purchase, which will provide more space for games and athletics.
While our India campus is home to an accredited elementary school, we decided to also start a high school on our campus because our children have to travel very far to attend higher classes, and our children are bullied because they come from families below the standard poverty line — they are Dalits (outside of the caste system, “untouchables”). It’s our desire to provide them with an accredited high school free of discrimination, a safe place for us to cultivate their talent and intelligence, knowing that love and education are the keys to overcoming this dangerous stereotype.
Our high school will also greatly benefit the girls in rural India, who rarely have the opportunity to attend upper level academic classes and graduate. If these girls do not receive a higher education, they are likely to be enslaved in child labor in the fields, or forced into arranged marriages at very young ages. But if these girls attend our high school, we will give them awareness about the rights of girls and women in their society in the hopes of protecting them from the dangerous situations that some Indian women live through. We will give them a quality education including computer instruction and useful skills such as sewing, thus equipping them with the ability to find good work and support themselves after they graduate. Our high school will encourage the girls immensely, giving them great hope for their future and safety.
We are extremely grateful for your prayers and for your faithful support, and we look forward to reporting back with our progress in improving the lives of our children through the blessing of a high school education. In the words of our field director: “Give all the glory to God. All of our children are happy and enjoying Peace City, and they are giving thanks to the Lord for every benefit they are getting. Thank you so much for your great love towards our children.”
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