Thursday, February 3, 2011

Children of India: Sponsorship!

I know a lot of you don't have time or money to volunteer in India with Risingstar outreach. Even those of you who would love nothing more, but there IS something you can do to help. Each child that attends Rising Star Outreach's school can't do so for free. We rely on volunteers to sponsor children to attend the school. So as a sponsor, what are you paying for?
Many children of leprosy-afflicted parents living within a colony do not
actually have Leprosy themselves. As a family unit, however, they are rejected from society due to a lingering stigma around the disease. Thus, they are often unable to acquire adequate employment as adults and the vicious cycle of begging is perpetuated. Within a Leprosy colony conditions are often dire; children face challenges of limited fresh water and healthy food, inadequate medical care, and terrible hygiene. Sometimes they are taken out and used as beggars on the streets. As a result, the children grow up living lives of filthiness, sickness, and deprivation, with little reason to hope for anything better in their futures.

Rising Star offers a life-altering opportunity to these children. At their parent's request, a child is placed within a Rising Star home where they receive the life necessities that they would otherwise go without. This placement greatly increases the chances of not contracting leprosy and allows us to help create a promising future for each child.

A glimpse into a Rising Star home reveals a clean and cheerful sanctuary, staffed by loving caregivers and volunteers committed to the well-being and growth of the children. The children are provided daily educational activities, developmental activities, and the opportunity to simply "play"-a rare luxury for a child of the Leprosy colonies. They are also afforded an opportunity to learn personal and group responsibility. Most importantly, they are hugged and encouraged, giving them a new sense of self-worth. 

It goes without saying that most of these children arrive at Rising Star severely malnourished. We provide healthy meals three times daily, as well as nutritious snacks, as outlined by a professional dietician. The quality and abundance of the food makes a huge difference in the well-being of each child, both physically and emotionally.
Rising Star Outreach provides for all the children's medical and dental care, including vaccinations and bi yearly check ups. In addition, we teach the children hygiene skills that greatly improve their overall health. Most of the children have never received basic vaccinations and typically arrive already in developing stages of several different debilitating diseases. For example, in one of our toddler homes (housing 30 children), several had the beginning stages of leprosy and several more had TB. Almost all had parasites, scabies, lice, and various skin diseases. Catching these diseases in their initial stages and providing treatment early saves much suffering, deformities, and in some cases, their lives.

Education elevates a Leprosy Colony child from mere survival to being able to create opportunities for both himself and others. The Rising Star school recognizes that many of these children crave learning but have been denied the opportunity. While public schooling in India is a possibility, most colony children are not in a position to take full advantage of it. Some are even taken out daily to beg. When they do attend school, they often drop out early due to the disrespect and disdain received from both teachers and students.
The Rising Star school provides a warm, inviting environment where curiosity is encouraged. Within the school, a child is taught among other things, English. English is the chosen language of businesses within India and is a great stepping-stone to attaining a good job when the child is grown. Knowing English can mean a 400-500% difference in salary for the average Indian. Computer literacy and skills are also taught. A child leaves Rising Star well equipped to survive and excel in India's fast-growing economy.

As a part of a small "family", as well as the larger Rising Star home community, the children are guided in developing relationships. Instead of sitting on a corner as a beggar, or being shunned by a stigma they can't understand, they learn to develop friendships and self-respect. They learn to work together for the good of society and to contribute their special talents to that end. They work individually at times, but more often in groups. Thus, they are able to experience achievement on a group level and consistently learn about their own intrinsic worth and potential.
While Rising Star Outreach is not affiliated with any specific religion, each child is taught that they were created by a loving God who loves them and cares about them. They are taught to pray and develop their characters in accordance with principles of kindness, honesty, and service. The children are taught also to respect all religions.
Me with Mohan Kumar, the little boy I sponsor!
He's so little here! I can't wait to go back and see him!
As one of our Rising Star Outreach sponsors, you agree to support this child as he or she grows up. In so doing, you contribute financially to their care, education and development. You also agree to support them emotionally and to continually encourage them through quarterly communication. In turn, the child you sponsor will keep you updated on their lives through quarterly communication as well.
While your child is very young, it will be difficult for them to understand the concept of a sponsor. However, as they grow up they will be taught about the family or families who are making it possible for them to be at Rising Star. By the time they reach the age of 18, when your sponsorship finishes, they will know you well and understand the great opportunity you have provided for them to rise above the colonies.
You and your family will slowly become known to your child, and they to you, as the child grows up. As they do, it will be with an awareness of the kindness of strangers. From your example they will learn a sense of responsibility for taking care of others that will hopefully be perpetuated as they go out into the world and attempt to make a difference in the lives of others who need it.
Sponsoring a child in India will have an impact on you and on your own family as well. We encourage you to place a photo of the child you sponsor in a prominent place in your home, and make sure that your own children know and understand the decision your family has made to help this Indian child. You will find that the blessings that come from your kindness will have far-reaching effects in the lives of those you love.
We invite you to participate with two other caring families to help give a child the opportunity to come to the children's homes and attend the Peery School. Unlike most charities that provide schooling alone for needy children, Rising Star Outreach provides complete care of the child - in addition to their schooling needs. This is necessary because of the unusual circumstances of children in leprosy colonies. The monthly costs for each child are much higher than most other charities. We wish this opportunity to be available to all interested people; therefore, we combine sponsors to equal the needed monthly amount for each child.
The cost to sponsor a child at Rising Star Outreach is $30 per month. This can be paid on a monthly, semi-annual, and annual basis. 
You can visit rising star's website to set up a payment plan for sponsorship! It also gives information on how to contact your child and keep in touch with them! I hope you take this into your heart and think about it!


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