Photo: Girls rescued from child labor are so grateful and happy to get to go to school and receive after-school care.
We are happy to report that our Children’s Hope Center in Hyderabad, India, is nearing the end of its 5th school year since we began operation in 2010. 48 children rescued from child labor were enrolled in school this year — they studied their native Telugu and Hindi languages, English, math, science, social studies, and computer education. We received new desks and computers at our Hope Center, offering the children more resources as they pursue their education. They are taking their final exams right now, and all are on track to be promoted to the next class level next year. The children really enjoyed the school year, and are looking forward to spending time with their families this summer.
Through the work of The Children’s Hope Center, we are rescuing children in this colony from child labor which is one of the leading precursors to child trafficking in India. The model of the center is that of education assistance — a scholarship program and an after-school care program. We provide the children with everything they need to enroll in a local school: uniforms, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies. Then we pick them up from school, and our teacher helps them with their homework in a classroom setting at the Hope Center where they also have access to computer education. They leave each evening after eating a fresh-cooked meal with organic ingredients from our native-led farmland and garden projects. It’s in this environment that our Children’s Hope Center is bringing just that — hope, to the children of this slum colony located on the edge of the city’s largest landfill.
In other good news, we sold our old farmland, and with the profits from the sale, we purchased 6.5 acres of new rice farmland 40 miles (65km) away from our main campus. We are irrigating the land with a local canal, preparing for our first rice harvest in March 2016. Rice has been cultivated in India for 7,400 years, and Andhra Pradesh, the state where our programs are located, produces about 14 million tons of rice annually, making up 17% of India’s rice production and is thus known as the “Rice Bowl of India.” It is well suited to the production of rice because of heavy monsoon rains and fertile low-lying coastal plains. So it is no wonder that rice is a staple ingredient for all Indians, especially those in Andhra Pradesh.
We are thankful for the ability to grow our own rice, a great source of sustainability since the average Indian consumes about 6.25 kgs (14 lbs) of rice monthly, or about half a pound of rice a day. The children at our Hope Center and at our orphan homes consume 7,800 KGs of rice in their diets annually, which should save us about $5,250 this year. 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. Rice is both a source of profit and health, blessing our children’s lives.
Take a Closer Look: view the full size of the story photo, and browse many more