When we think of India, we think of the Ganges River, yoga, curry, beautiful saris, Bollywood films and more. These, however, are only parts of India that we are seeing. In July, about 10 sponsors travelled to India where they experienced warm hospitality, learned more about poverty while also witnessing some exhilarating transformation.
Child marriage and child labour are common issues in India. Like many traditional customs, they are heavily embedded in the cultural beliefs of the locals. For the well-being of children and community, World Vision organised talks and advocacy activities in the community to spread the message of children's rights to development, protection and education. During the sponsor visit, children and mothers showed their understanding and support of children's rights through drawings and drama performance.
Two sponsored children introducing themselves to each other by showing their adoption certificates.
Villagers believe sponsors are blessed people, and wished to receive blessings by holding the hands or just by touching the clothes of the sponsors.
One of the projects of the Area Development Programme is to build and promote usage of latrines in the community. Different from ordinary latrines, this latrine could quickly decompose waste to keep good hygiene in the community.
In the slums, houses are only inches apart and alleys are only wide enough for one person to pass by. According to World Vision local staff, a lot of slums were built illegally without proper management and infrastructures. World Vision began its advocacy work on improving the living conditions of the people, and parents were taught to grow simple healthy food for children and learned methods to prevent diarrhoea and water-borne diseases.
Self-reliance Built upon Confidence
Indian women have lower social status due to factors like early marriage and various traditional beliefs. However, members of the women Self-Help Group would proactively express their opinions and thoughts. When asked how they would design an ideal community, the ladies had a very lively discussion. Their passion to take part in community development was a good reflection of the achievement of women's knowledge and capacity building through the Area Development Programme.
Sponsors also visited a vulnerable family where the father lost his job as a chef due to illness. He later received some assistance and working tools from World Vision which allowed him to sell chicken on the street, earning HK$20 a day. Though barely enough to provide for his family, his radiant smile tells us how fulfilling it is to be self-reliant.
Villagers believe sponsors are blessed people, and wished to receive blessings by holding the hands or just by touching the clothes of the sponsors. But in fact, they are the ones who could improve their lives through their own effort. May all villagers have the courage to face challenges on the way to transformation!