It’s hard to go against the grain. In rural India that is exactly what we are doing. CCDC values every child. We see that each child has the capacity to learn, to change to grow, to make an impact on the world. That starts with educating as many children as we can. We are pushing back against an attitude that things will always be the way they are, that there is no point in educating girls. That young boys will have no other path than in the footsteps of their fathers, footsteps that lead to a hard life of manual labor and poverty.
Meet Sheshma, a smart eleven year old little girl, loved by all her teachers in Orchid school for her humble and keen interest in studies. When asked about her life’s ambition, she says ‘I want to be a doctor to serve my community’. She is the eldest daughter of Shaik Moulali and Mastan bhai, who belong to the lowest caste among Indian Muslims called ‘Dhudekula’. Sheshma is the oldest of three, all being educated, fed and holistically cared for through CCDC.
Sheshma’s mother values educating her daughter, but her father retains the old attitudes about it. He would like to send Shesma to a madrasa (religious school) or to embroidery and sewing training which are common livelihoods for the Dhudekula tribe. According to him formal education is of little value to his caste. When presented with the chance to give his children a way out of poverty, he would rather send his eleven year old to learn a trade.
Part of what CCDC does is teach parents about the value of education. Sheshma’s father has never known anything else. He has never had the chance to dream about a better life for his children, and doesn’t even know how. We meet monthly with parents to educate them on why child labour is harmful, how education helps their families, and other social issues that our team can help them work through. Parents that had started out resistant to change are seeing the changes in their children and realizing how much impact CCDC is having.
Meet Marci. Marci recently connected with CCDC. She spent some time in Hyderabad for work, and saw the heart-wrenching poverty that abounds throughout the region. Marci was truly affected by the children she met in India and has partnered with CCDC to make a difference in the lives of the children in Southeast India. She is starting with making sure they have an amazing Christmas. She has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Christmas gifts, shoes, and Christmas parties for each center. Read Marci’s story on Generosity.com and see if you want to help her make a “A Christmas to Remember”!
“In fact, even my handwriting was very bad.” Modi said in his Mann Ki Baat radio programme. “Probably I passed exams at times because teachers were not able to read my handwriting” He joked. This was published in Indian Express on Feb 23rd, 2015. Yes, handwriting skills are declining very much in this age and soon it may become a lost art. The reason may be the rise and overdependence on digital technology in classrooms, in homes and creeping of emoticons into students’ work. Illegible handwriting may affect not only the performance in class or exam but also reflects on child’s confidence. In fact handwriting is a basic tool to be used in taking notes, taking tests and doing classroom work, laundry list, grocery list, domestic budget etc. In fact handwriting is an all encompassing effort in life.
After observing the children’s poor handwriting at our Child Development Centres, it called for some care toward this particular issue. Margaret White, a handwriting expert once said, “Lack of practice – when you aren’t using a pen and paper to take notes on a regular basis – means it’s easy to slip into bad writing habits, such as gripping the pen too tightly or applying too much pressure on the paper”. The same thought was shared with the Social workers of working on the holding of the pen in handwriting training; and for the past couple of months the social workers are engaged in teaching correct and consistent pencil hold, posture, letter formation, legibility, spacing between and within words, and speed, as children advance beyond the first few grades, so that they can write efficiently in a variety of tests and tasks.
The introduction of special handwriting classes at the CCDCs have proven to be beneficial for the children. Malleswari, one of the children at the Child Development Center has testified to this. To talk about Malleshwari’s background, she comes from a family where her father drives a second-hand auto and her mother works as a domestic servant in people’s houses. With these jobs they haven’t been able to provide fully for their three little girls. Now through CCDC, three of the girls are able to go to school and afford an education, which could only dream of earlier. Malleshwari is thrilled about going to school everyday. She does well in her studies, but she did not have a good handwriting. She was once ridiculed by her friends for her bad handwriting. But she did not give up and slowly practiced, concentrating on the formation of the letters carefully, stroke by stroke. She now says that she enjoys writing. She is extremely happy that her teachers give her extra marks for good handwriting. Malleshwari took this opportunity to not let any hurdle come in the way of her and her dream. She aspires to become a doctor. We pray that as Malleshwari has taken off on this journey, we will be able to provide for her by God’s grace, as much as she needs to fulfill her dream.
Vandanamala comes from a joint family. She is the eldest among the four children to her parents. She has two younger sisters Samarpana and Blessy, and a younger brother, Jacob. Her father, Davidu, is a mason laborer, but also works in a granite factory to earn more for the family. His job entails him lifting very heavy granite slabs to be polished in the factory. All this hard work fetches him very little money. To support her husband, Vandana’s mother goes to tend cattle. Both her grandparents live at home with the family. Providing for this large family became very tedious, although both the parents are working, the family’s income wasn’t enough for this family of eight. The children were stopped from school as they couldn’t afford paying the high school fee.
As days went by, Davidu was losing hope of being able to provide for a good future for his children. At about the same time, a Covenant Child Development Center was established in the village of Thimmanapalem. Davidu heard about CCDC and approached the social worker. He requested us to support his children’s education. Without any hesitation, Vandana and her younger sister, Samarpana were taken into CCDC. Through CCDC’s help, they have now been able to resume school. Both the sisters were thrilled to get back to school to study and play along with their friends.
After school, they come to CCDC for evening tuition, learn various life skills, songs and have a good meal before going home. Vandana is a brilliant kid and wants to become a doctor when she grows up. We hope that CCDC will be a catalyst to make these little dreams come true.
Cheerful little Annangi Praisey loves to sing on her way to school. She has a lot to be thankful for now that she is a CCDC student. Praisey’s days are filled with lessons, laughter, friends, songs and dance. It is very different from what she knew before CCDC.
Praisey lives in a little house in Thimmanapalem with her parents and grandparents. Her father works for a farmer and helps tend the cattle, for which he is paid Rs. 200 (less than $3) a day. With this income, he barely provides food for his family. Living on less than $3 a day means that there are no extras, no frills, and no money to invest in education. Praisey was stuck in the cycle of poverty with no end in sight.
When Covenant Child Development Center opened in Thimmanapalem, they heard about this family’s struggles. They offered to include Praisey in the program to the surprise and delight of her father.
Praisy was admitted in a reputed English medium school, that will prepare her for college. She loves going to school and studying. Right now Praisey wants to become an engineer, and because of the intervention of CCDC, she will be able to. After school, Praisey comes to the center, where she is taught Bible stories and memory verses. After she is finished receiving tutoring, Praisey gets to sing songs and play with her friends. Before heading home for the day, she is served a nutritious meal that will ensure that bright and cheery Praisey doesn’t go a day without eating anymore.
Praisey’s interaction with CCDC has brought her ever closer to the Lord and she is very active in Sunday school. She uses her love of dance to express the love of her Saviour at church dance performances. Praisey’s life and the lives of those around her will never be the same. The cycle of poverty in her family will end with her.
Anita is a sweet first grader who loves riding the bus to school and eating chicken curry. Her bright smile hides the tremendous hardship she has known in her short life. Her father and sister passed away, leaving her mother and fourteen year old brother to work the fields to support her family. When having enough food to eat is uncertain, financing an education is unimaginable. In the midst of this despair, Anita was brought into a Covenant Child Development Center and has new enthusiasm for life. She is counting on us to return to school this year!
Please consider making a donation to send Anita and the other CCDC students back to school this year.
This one time donation will go to cover the school fees for a child in a rural village in Andra Pradesh. This education is the difference between a life of hope and freedom and a life of hardship and poverty.
For $30 a month a child in a rural village in Andra Pradesh will get to go to a high quality English medium school, receive a meal each day, and have a safe place to go before and after school, where he will have access to a tutor, and enrichment activities, as well as counseling and help for the whole family. This opportunity protects children from becoming victims of abuse, child labor, or trafficking, and gives them a future of hope!
Harshini and Hasini live in a village called Singarayakonda, with their parents, grandparents, and younger brother in small thatched roofed hut. Their father, Brahmaiah, whenhe can find work, is a brick layer and their mother tends the home. Every morning, he stands at the Singarayakonda junction, waiting for contractors to come and choose labourers for the day’s work at construction sites. As the only money earning member of the family, if he is not chosen for work that day, he will go home empty handed to his hungry family. This means that his family knows what it feels like go to bed with empty stomachs and wake up to empty bowls. When basic necessities like food are out of reach, going to school is some distant dream. Harshini and Hasini never expected the chance to go to school. They spent their days at home or on the streets.
Compounding the issues that Harshini and Hasini were facing, their father, Brahmaiah, was an alcoholic, spending any little he earned on alcohol and dragging his family, who had nothing to begin with, into debt. The pastor of Covenant Church in Bitragunta, saw the need this family was facing. He has worked with Brahmaiah and helped him understand his role as a husband and father. After establishing this relationship, the pastor recommended sending Harshini and Hasini to CCDC. Harshini and Hasini now attend a well reputed English medium school, so they will be prepared for any future they want. Although school is a completely new way of life, they are now accustomed to it and love going! After school, they go by school bus to the center, where they get free evening tutoring, learn Bible stories, sing songs, recite memory verses, play with their friends, and they get a good meal in their stomachs EVERY day before heading home.
The girls still can’t believe that this is their new life. The family is happy that their girls can now experience the luxury of school; something they couldn’t have enjoyed if not for CCDC. Brahmaiah has an easier time getting work without the burden of alcoholism on his back, which has benefited the entire family. There is the hope of God in this home now!
Like Harshini and Hasini, many other kids have had their environments transformed around them; from abusive, lacking, and demoralizing, to uplifting, encouraging, and transformative. With the help of our donors, Harshini and Hasini will never go back to spending their days aimless on the streets. Let’s nurture the next generation out of poverty together.
In contrast to the life in the villages, city life is fast, flashy, and expensive. In the villages, one generally takes up agriculture, fishing, animal farming, labour work, constructions and many other menial jobs that do not fetch them a lot of money. The lifestyle in the villages is not too expensive, because of which, the families that do not have a lot of income too are able to survive. Most of them in the villages only hear stories of the big flashy life in the cities, where people are known to earn huge amounts of money and jobs that are able to pay big money. Most people are lured by the offer, not knowing what awaits them.
Anjaiah and Anjamma were also one among them. They were construction workers, who used to earn money from small contracts they were a part off. Not satisfied by their life, they gave in to the stories they heard about the city. When they heard that a group of masons are going to nearby city called Hyderabad, on a contract from a construction company, they shifted to the city with their three children. But after moving, they found the realities of city life, with the meagre daily wages, maintaining the expenses of a rented house, which is much higher when compared to what they paid in the village. Their daily commute was expensive. Children’s schooling fees was unimaginable. They found a huge contrast to their simple life in their village. It became very cumbersome for Anjaiah and Anjamma to live in the city. They realized the reality that although they earned more than what they did at home, they had to shell out equal amounts of money. This reality had taken a toll on this little family.
Anjaiah and Anjamma were only able to work hard day after day, only to get enough food for their family of five. They even could not afford their children’s school. After struggling financially for a little while, Anjaiah’s mother convinced him to let one of the daughters, Roopa, stay with her in the village. Though Roopa hated the idea of moving away from her parents, she had to budge, as this was for their best. Roopa was now staying with her grandmother to ease the burden on the family. Roopa’s grandmother came to know of Covenant Child Development Centers and the good work that is happening at the center. She requested for help and CCDC did not hesitate. Roopa was joined into CCDC and given admission into reputed English medium school in the village. Roopa had completed her 3rd grade in an English medium school in the city. As her performance was great, she was directly given admission into the 4th grade. She took time to get adjusted to this new environment, teachers and students, but being the brave soul that she is, she quickly started loving her new place. After school she comes to CCDC, where she gets free evening tuition. The tutors at the centre help the kids complete their homework, study and also cope with their studies. Roopa, along with her CCDC buddies also enjoys some games after studying, they learn several songs stories and also get a delicious nutritious meal at the center.
Roopa was very reluctant to come to CCDC in the beginning, but that soon changed as she slowly started making friends. She now can’t wait to come to CCDC, learn, study and play. More than anything, her parents and grandparents are overjoyed to send Roopa to CCDC. At their time of need, CCDC was more than a saving grace and eased the burden on their family. Now they can be carefree about Roopa’s life, as she is in secure hands and is building a strong foundation for her future.
Thorra Gudipadu is a village in Chimakurthi mandal in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The total population of Torra Gudipadu is 1,205. In this village, people from the two communities of Madiga and Mala live adjacent to each other on the outskirts of the village. Endogamy (same caste marriages) is strictly practiced in this village, inter-caste marriages completely prohibited. The major source of income in the village is the tobacco fields. Most of the people are employed as agricultural laborers in these fields. While the parents strive hard, the children stay at home or are sent for work. In such an environment, there is a great risk for child labor, abuse, trafficking and many such social evils that overcome the families in the community.
The CCDC in this village is between the Madiga and Mala communities which brings children from both the communities to CCDC. The children in this community are not sent to schools. When parents go to their daily work, the children wander on the streets and play in unhygienic conditions. At this juncture, the local pastor, along with social worker reached the community with the gospel so that majority of the Madiga community has accepted Christ and attend the Covenant church regularly. ICM’s Covenant church opened a CCDC in the community. 25 of the poorest of the poor children are provided English medium education, evening tuition, disaster relief awareness, extra curricular activities, taught Bible stories, worship songs, memory verses and shown the love of Jesus to put them on a path towards a life with dignity.