Tag Archives: India

A New Kitchen for the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel in India

In many developing countries, food is often cooked over open fires in poorly ventilated kitchens. It is estimated that 3 billion people worldwide cook over an open flame, which releases toxic smoke that is dangerous to health and safety.

The new kitchen is safer for both children and staff members.

At one of our affiliated project, the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel in India, the cooks prepared meals for the students in a small, dark one-room kitchen with only one small window that was continuously filled with thick smoke. The kitchen was badly in need of updating, but the administration did not have the necessary funds.

Thanks to our donors – just like you – Children Incorporated was able to renovate Lou Ann Long’s kitchen. New gas stoves with proper ventilation systems were installed, and modern sinks and updated windows and floors now provide more space, a cleaner environment, and natural light for the kitchen staff.

Thank you for all that you do to support projects like this in India and around the world!

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How do I sponsor a child in India?

You can sponsor a child in India in one of three ways – call our office and speak with one of our sponsorship specialists at 1-800-538-5381, email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org, or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in India that is available for sponsorship.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT CHILDREN INCORPORATED’S WORK IN INDIA?

From snowcapped Himalayans to tropical beaches, India is truly a nation of contrasts. It boasts a rich history spanning tens of thousands of years; the earliest known civilization in South Asia once called its fertile Indus Valley home. Today, with the world’s second-largest population, India comprises a staggering variety of ethnicities, languages, religions, and cultures. India’s wealth of natural resources and vibrant culture, however, belie the abject poverty in which so many of its citizens live.

HOW LONG CAN I SPONSOR A CHILD IN INDIA?

We hope that you will assist your sponsored child until he or she leaves our program. This may occur when a child graduates from high school, moves out of our service area, or for a variety of other reasons. Due to the transient state of many families and the difficult circumstances of the regions where they reside, we cannot predict or guarantee how long a child will remain enrolled in the Children Incorporated sponsorship program, although we make every effort to provide services to children for as long as possible.

Thank you for all that you do to support projects like this in India and around the world!

When a child leaves our program, it is our policy to select another, equally needy child for you to sponsor, in the hope that you will accept sponsorship of the new child and continue to partner with us in changing lives. Unfortunately, we usually lose contact with children once they leave the sponsorship program (as we do not maintain personal addresses or contact information for any of the children). Even so, the positive impact of your generosity – both upon the individual child and upon his or her community – endures!

WILL I RECEIVE UPDATED INFORMATION FROM MY SPONSORED CHILD IN INDIA?

Yes. We will send you updated information and an updated photo about once a year, although the frequency may vary depending upon the child’s location. The typical progress report includes information about the child’s grade level in school, hobbies, and interests.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Our Mosquito Net Fund

In countries where Children Incorporated works, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and India, children need mosquito nets to protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue, so that they will be healthy enough to attend school.

Malaria infects around 250 million people worldwide each year – most of whom are children in Africa.

What is a mosquito net?

 A mosquito net is a mesh curtain that is draped over a bed or a sleeping area to offer protection against bites and stings from mosquitos, flies, and other pest insects, and the diseases they carry. Examples of such preventable insect-borne diseases include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika virus and West Nile virus. Research has shown mosquito nets to be an extremely effective method of malaria prevention, averting approximately 663 million cases of malaria over the period 2000–2015.

To be effective, the mesh of the mosquito’s net must be fine enough to prevent insects from entering while still allowing visibility and ventilation. Mosquito netting can be hung over beds from the ceiling or a frame, built into tents, or installed in windows and doors. When hung over beds, however, rectangular nets provide more room for sleeping without the danger of the netting contacting skin, and allowing mosquitos to bite through the netting.

To further protect against mosquito bites, many nets, including those that Children Incorporated provides to children in our program, are pretreated with an appropriate insecticide or insect repellent. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been proven to reduce illness, severe complications, and death due to malaria.

Facts about Mosquito-borne illnesses:

– Malaria infects around 250 million people worldwide each year – most of whom are children in Africa.

– Malaria and dengue can result in death, unless detected and treated promptly.

– The most effective means of preventing malaria is to sleep under a mosquito net.

 

$10 provides a mosquito net for one child.

What we do

Each year, we purchase thousands of nets which we distribute to our sponsored and unsponsored children and their families, thanks to donations to our Mosquito Net Fund.

How to help

It is simple and very inexpensive to provide a child and his or her family members with life-saving mosquito nets. For as little as $10, you can purchase a mosquito net that will protect an impoverished child from mosquito-borne illnesses.

How can I donate to the Mosquito Net Fund?

You can contribute to our Mosquito Net Fund in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and donate to our Mosquito Net Fund.

MOSQUITO NET FUND

 

Involving Parents in Education in India

From snowcapped Himalayans to tropical beaches, India is truly a nation of contrasts. It boasts a rich history spanning tens of thousands of years. In fact, the earliest known civilization in South Asia once called India’s fertile Indus Valley home. Today, with the world’s second-largest population, India comprises a staggering variety of ethnicities, languages, religions, and cultures. India’s wealth of natural resources and vibrant cultures, however, belie the abject poverty in which so many of its citizens live.

We are very proud of the teachers, administrators, parents, and students at the Auxilium School, as well as of all of our affiliated projects that prioritize parental involvement.

About the Auxilium School

The city of Guntur in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is no exception to these maladies. Within this rice-producing region, susceptible to crop-destroying flooding and droughts, thousands of field laborers earn very low wages.  Due to widespread poverty, few parents are able to send their children to school.  For these reasons, the Auxilium School, located in the outskirts of the city of Guntur, is critical in offering children an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.

Founded in 1981 and run by members of the Salesian Sisters of Saint John Bosco, the Auxilium School provides the poorest children of the Guntur slums – as well as children from the surrounding rural areas – with shelter, nutrition, and an education. In addition to equipping young children there with a well-rounded curriculum, our volunteer coordinator and the school’s administration also host parent meetings at the beginning of each school year. This way, parents and guardians have an opportunity to meet teachers and ask any questions they may have about the upcoming academic year, which the school feels is a critical element in student achievement.

Many reasons to participate

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes parental involvement as “parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents. Parent engagement in schools is a shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage parents in meaningful ways, and parents are committed to actively supporting their children’s and adolescents’ learning and development. This relationship between schools and parents cuts across and reinforces children’s health and learning in multiple settings – at home, in school, in out-of-school programs, and in the community.”

Why is it important for parents to become and stay actively involved in their children’s schooling? According to the National Education Association (NEA), family engagement in school improves achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents’ confidence in their children’s academics. Parental involvement is also linked to better student behavior and enhanced social skills, while also making it more likely that children will avoid unhealthy behaviors such as using tobacco, abusing alcohol or drugs, or resorting to violence.

We are very proud of the teachers, administrators, parents, and students at the Auxilium School, as well as of all of our affiliated projects that prioritize parental involvement. Along with help from our sponsorship program, we feel confident that impoverished children in India are being uplifted through the support they receive from sponsors and their parents, giving them the best possible chance to have bright futures.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN INDIA?

You can sponsor a child in India in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in India who is available for sponsorship.

A Decade of Sponsorship – Half a Century of Gratitude

The children in our program not only have the opportunity to obtain an education and experience the hope that lies therein – they also witness firsthand the transformative impact of giving in their lives. This culture of benevolence often perpetuates itself, and those who have received give back when they are able. Such is the case of a humble and sincere gentleman who visited the Children Incorporated headquarters in North Chesterfield, Virginia over the summer to tell us his story.

Reverend Solomon belonged to the first generation of Children Incorporated kids at our affiliated project the J. Calvitt Clarke Home, named after our founder’s father, in Dornakal, Telangana in India. From 1967 to 1976, Reverend Solomon’s sponsor – an individual to whom he attributes the enriched life he leads today – helped to support his education. He went on to graduate from high school and college, and returned to the same organization that manages the home that offered him invaluable assistance throughout his childhood, working as an accountant from 1980 to 1982. Dedicating his studies to theology, he became a pastor about a decade later, and started working with Word and Deed India, an organization that provides rehabilitation and treatment to those suffering from leprosy, as well as runs schools and hostels for underprivileged children.

Reverend Solomon in Dornakal as young man

Through the years, Reverend Solomon has thought of his sponsor often, and continues to do so to this very day. He treasures what a gift his sponsorship was, as it meant better lives for him and his family – and ultimately, better lives for so many more children in India. Reverend Solomon went on to found the nonprofit organization Oikonomos Ministries India with his wife Naomi in his home state in 2001. It began with 63 kids, and currently serves 610 orphaned and impoverished kids in the area.

“I didn’t hear from my sponsor, but I knew they were there for me,” Reverend Solomon told us. He is there for the Oikonomos children in the same way his sponsor was there for him, ensuring they receive basic necessities. He also pastors at Beth-EL Baptist Church and ministers locally, offering spiritual care and counseling as well as career guidance to the young adults of Oikonomos who are pursuing university studies.

“You must make use of this opportunity”

On this, his first trip to the United States for a pastoral training conference, Reverend Solomon made it a priority to stop by the Children Incorporated headquarters to tell us – and you – how sponsorship positioned him and seven other kids from his village on a marked path to success. “I remember hearing in school that Children Incorporated was in Richmond, Virginia,” he said. So when he discovered that he would be traveling to Virginia, he made the decision to pay us a visit.

Through the years, Reverend Solomon has thought of his sponsor often, and continues to do so to this very day.

Reverend Solomon proudly showed us photographs of other former sponsored children who had become bank managers, top-ranking police officers, and other successful professionals. “Poverty drove us to study well,” he said. “We thought, ‘You must make use of this opportunity and succeed in life.’” He told us of the extreme poverty from which his family suffered greatly, and he recounted to us an incredibly touching story:

When he would leave for the J. Calvitt Clarke Home as a boy, his family would give him enough money to travel to and from the home – and if they had it, a bit more for spending money while he was away. On one occasion, upon arriving to his house from the home, Reverend Solomon found that his mother was not there. When he asked his father where she was, he was told that she had gone out looking for some change for rice, because she wanted to be able to feed her child while he was visiting from school. Reverend Solomon felt awful about this, and upon his mother’s return, gave her the money she had given him months before; he had managed to save it, because his sponsorship covered all of his needs while he was away. His family was able to eat that night.

Years later, married with two daughters, and the executive director of a nonprofit organization, Reverend Solomon finished his story with tears in his eyes, and with such a grace that can only reverberate from raw gratitude. The cracking of his voice as he became emotional and the earnest air about him revealed the kindness that resides in his heart as a result of the compassion shown to him as a little boy.

Our common mission comes full circle

Reverend Solomon closed his visit by telling us about a question he had asked himself on his way here: “What can I do for Children Incorporated, because Children Incorporated has done so much for me?” Both our work and his is made possible by sponsors and donors. So it didn’t take him long to come to the conclusion that he would thank us by sponsoring a child in India himself. While his organization transforms hundreds of young lives there, he wishes to transform the life of a child through the same organization that linked his sponsor to him so many years ago.

From one sponsor having made a difference in the life of just one child, hundreds of people – children and communities alike – are now benefitting. Reverend Solomon takes great pride is how instrumental his own life has been in lifting up his village, as he is a living example of what its people’s lives can become when they are presented with possibility. Little could Reverend Solomon’s sponsor ever have imagined: the support that began fifty years ago and lasted for a decade is now a driving force pushing an entire community forward in Telangana, India.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN INDIA?

You can sponsor a child in India in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in India that is available for sponsorship.

How Do I Sponsor a Child in Asia?

We work in India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and the Philippines. We affiliate with twelve projects in India, five in Sri Lanka, three in the Philippines, and seventeen in South Korea. Your support of children in these countries helps to provide them with food, clothing, school supplies, and hygiene items. We also fund feeding programs, the construction of schools and dormitories, as well as help children through our Higher Education Fund; and we support unsponsored children through our Shared Hope Fund.

Information about the countries in Asia where we work

Asia is full of beauty, but it also has its fair share of political, social, and economic issues that are keeping children from obtaining the basic needs they deserve, and from receiving a good education. As such, we want to highlight information about each of the Asian countries in which we work, to show you not only what the countries have to offer with regard to culture, landscape, and a rich history, but also what they lack in infrastructure – the reasons for which we affiliate with projects in each of these nations, in order to support their children in need.

Your support of children in these countries helps to provide them with food, clothing, school supplies, and hygiene items.

About India

From the snowcapped Himalayas to tropical beaches, India is truly a nation of contrasts. It boasts a rich history spanning tens of thousands of years; the earliest known civilization in South Asia once called its fertile Indus Valley home. Today, with the world’s second-largest population, India comprises a staggering variety of ethnicities, languages, religions, and cultures. Its wealth of natural resources and vibrant culture, however, belie the abject poverty in which so many of its citizens live.

About Sri Lanka

The island nation of Sri Lanka is located just east of India’s southern tip. It has been known by many names over the centuries, but it fittingly derives its current name from the Sinhalese words meaning “resplendent island”. Indeed, amidst its tropical rainforests, coastal plains, and Central Highlands in the south, Sri Lanka boasts the highest biodiversity density in Asia, with roughly a quarter of its thousands of species of plant and animal life existing nowhere else on the planet. Prehistoric settlements suggest that humans have called this land home for thousands of years. Its strategic location and deep ports made it an important part of the ancient Silk Road, and it served as a significant tactical ground during World War II. Today, even in the wake of Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonization, Sri Lanka maintains its rich and ancient cultural heritage, comprising diverse ethnic groups, languages, and religions. Despite its many advancements, internal ethnic tensions remain active in Sri Lanka. In 1983, they culminated into twenty-six years of insurgencies and civil war, which, along with reports of widespread abuse of civil rights and corruption – not to mention the devastating tsunami of 2004 – left the nation reeling. Despite a recovering economy, Sri Lanka is still plagued by widespread poverty and its devastating effects.

About South Korea

Comprising the lower half of a mountainous peninsula in East Asia, South Korea is truly a nation of contrasts. Although it emerged as an autonomous country in the aftermath of World War II, its rich culture and heritage reach back thousands of years. Today, this populous nation, with a population density ten times higher than the global average, is renowned for its advancements in technology. However, more than half a century after the Korean Armistice Agreement, South Korea is still haunted by ghosts of its turbulent past. The Korean War (1950-1953) devastated South Korea, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives – both military and civilian – and leaving thousands of children orphaned.

About the Philippines

The Philippines comprise a vast island nation in Southeast Asia. This archipelago of more than 7,000 islands boasts sandy beaches, towering mountains and volcanoes, tropical rainforests, and an incredible wealth of natural resources and biodiversity. Humans have called these islands home for thousands of years, predating historic records. Today, the Philippines incorporate a staggering number of languages, ethnic groups, religions, and cultures. Despite its status as an emerging market, however, nearly half of all Filipinos still earn less than $2 a day. Adequate sanitation, access to potable water, and access to healthcare are daily challenges in this widely underdeveloped country, which is also prone to typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic activity.

Most Frequently-asked Questions About Sponsoring a Child in Asia

Here at Children Incorporated, we know that sponsoring a child in need is extraordinarily rewarding, so we want to provide you with a guide to walk you through the process.

In order to make your decision as easy as possible, here you will find the answers to sixteen of the most common questions we receive about sponsoring a child in Asia.

If you still have questions after reading the following, please feel to contact us, and we will be happy to help.

  1. What is sponsorship?

The sponsorship relationship enables an individual sponsor to help support a child in need by means of monthly contributions. Monthly sponsorship donations go towards providing basic necessities such as school supplies and tuition fees, food, clothing, and access to healthcare, among other services, so that a child living in poverty has the opportunity to overcome the barriers that keep them from attending school, getting an education, and succeeding in life.

  1. What is the role of a sponsor?

A sponsor’s friendship and encouragement are priceless to a child in such circumstances. Indeed, many children value the relationships they establish with their sponsors as much as they value the financial support they receive from them. There is an opportunity to build a relationship between sponsor and child that can be quite profound.

  1. How long can I sponsor a child in Asia?

Many children value the relationships they establish with their sponsors as much as they value the financial support they receive from them. There is an opportunity to build a relationship between sponsor and child that can be quite profound.

Typically, sponsorship lasts until a child turns eighteen years old, graduates from high school, or moves out of our service area. Due to the transient state of many families and the difficult circumstances of the regions where they reside, we cannot predict or guarantee how long a child will remain in our sponsorship program, though every effort is made to provide services to children for as long as possible.

When a child leaves the sponsorship program, another child is selected for you to sponsor that is equally in need, in the hope that you will accept the new sponsorship.

  1. Who implements or administers the child sponsorship program?

Our program is implemented by on-site volunteer coordinators who are typically administrators at the projects with which we affiliate. Our coordinators have direct access to the children they serve at their schools, homes, orphanages, or community centers – and sometimes even on a daily basis. As such, they are familiar with the immediate needs and family circumstances of each individual child in their care.

  1. Who most directly benefits from my financial support?

When you sponsor a child, the beneficiary of your support is your individual sponsored child. The families of children in our sponsorship program receive additional or indirect benefits from their child’s sponsorship, but our focus is the one child. Sponsorship is intended to address the unique and individual needs of each child so that his or her specific needs are addressed.

The child-focused approach to fighting poverty is distinctly different from the broader community development approach. By changing the life of one child, you are giving him or her the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, which can eventually lead to the transformation of an entire community – and even a nation.

  1. Will I receive updated information about my sponsored child in Asia?

Yes. You will receive updated information and updated photos, though the frequency may vary depending upon the child’s location. The typical progress report includes information about the child’s grade level in school, hobbies, and interests.

  1. May I send packages to my sponsored child in Asia?

Due to high customs duties and the likelihood of loss, it is not recommended that you send packages to projects outside of the United States, as their receipt cannot be guaranteed. If you would like to send an additional gift, it is recommended that you send a monetary gift to our headquarters in North Chesterfield, Virginia.

  1. May I write to the child I sponsor?

Yes! Corresponding with your sponsored child can be a delightful experience. Your sponsored child is encouraged to write to you as well.

  1. What should I write about?

The children enjoy learning about the lives of their sponsors. Writing about your own family (children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.) is always a good place to start. The children also like to learn about your part of the world, what you do for a living, your hobbies and interests, and about any pets you may have.

  1. Is it possible to visit my sponsored child in Asia?

It is possible to visit sponsored children; however, it is not guaranteed that all of the projects with which we affiliate are open to sponsor visits. Circumstances vary from area to area.

  1. Are there reviews of child sponsorship organizations?

Yes. Before you choose an organization with which to sponsor a child, we highly recommend that you visit these websites to gain a better understanding of charity backgrounds and performances: Charity Navigator, GuideStar, Give.org and Charity Watch.

Children Incorporated is very proud of our reputation and reviews that recognize the work we are doing for children. Visit the following links to see our ratings:

  1. What are the best child sponsorship organizations for sponsoring a child in Asia?

Well, we are obviously a little biased about this question; but as we mentioned above, we highly recommend that you visit the various websites that provide assessments and ratings of nonprofit organizations before you make any donations.

  1. What are the pros and cons of sponsoring a child?

The pros: you get to make a fundamental difference in the life of a child in need, and the effects of your sponsorship can last a lifetime. There are no real cons to sponsoring a child, but as you follow the progress of your sponsored child, you may at times feel that you wish could do more.

  1. How much does child sponsorship cost?

Our sponsorship rate is $30 per month, and may be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

  1. Will my sponsorship help a child go to school?

Yes – absolutely! We pride ourselves on our focus on providing educational resources for children.

  1. Are there non-religious sponsorship organizations?

Yes, there are many great charitable organizations, both religious and non-religious, that provide assistance to children in Asia. Children Incorporated is a non-religious charitable organization.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child in Asia or elsewhere, please click here to get started.

Leaving India and Sri Lanka

After spending two weeks visiting eleven of our affiliated projects in India and Sri Lanka, knowing that the St. Mary’s Girls’ Hostel in Khammam was the last home I would be seeing on my trip left me with a bittersweet feeling. India and Sri Lanka are both full of beauty, diverse cultures, and wonderful people who face extreme hardship every day. Sri Lanka has suffered greatly from natural disasters and decades of civil war; India suffers from overpopulation and dire poverty caused by gender inequality and disparities in income.

Despite how difficult it was to see so many people living in desperate conditions there, I had grown fond of both countries. I learned so much about what our amazing volunteer coordinators are doing to educate our sponsored children, and to give them a better chance at living successful lives.

A home for the disabled

The St. Mary’s Girls’ Hostel is located in South India in the rice-producing state of Telangana. The Church of South India opened the hostel in the small city of Khammam in 1980 to address the poverty that working-class families in the community faced. The thousands of field workers who plant and harvest rice are paid so little that they live in a state of continuous economic struggle. When the rice crops fail, as they often do during and after periods of drought or flooding, the situation for workers and their families becomes even more desperate. Even in the best of times, the rice workers are often unable to afford to send their children to school.

It was great to see Mr. Rao take so much initiative to provide skill training for the girls so that they will have better employment opportunities later in life.

When we arrived at the home, we were greeted by our Volunteer Coordinator, Mr. Rao, who explained to us that St. Mary’s was once a home for the physically disabled, including blind and deaf students. Unlike so much of India and the developing world, the home was built to accommodate people in wheelchairs. The matron of St. Mary’s, who is wheelchair-bound herself, has no difficulty navigating the walkways between the girls’ dorms, the kitchen, and the recreation rooms, thanks to the original design of the home.

As he showed us around the buildings, Mr. Rao told us that not only do the girls go to school every day, but they also are learning to make bracelets, books, and brooms – all of which are sold to the community to generate additional income to support the home and the girls. Additionally, the home offers computer and clothes-making classes and training for older girls and women who do not live there. In total, there are 27 staff members who teach all of the courses offered, which I thought was quite impressive. It was great to see Mr. Rao take so much initiative to provide skill training for the girls so that they will have better employment opportunities later in life.

Always in need of more funds

The home itself is a lovely facility – the grounds are full of lush, green tropical plants, and there is plenty of room for the girls to play. The hallways are covered with large, colorful pictures and posters of the special people, both Indians and foreigners alike, who have helped fund the work of the St. Mary’s Girls’ Hostel over the years – all of which contributed to the bright and festive atmosphere at the home.

Of the 47 girls between the ages of six and nineteen who are living in the home, forty of them are currently sponsored. Mr. Rao said that there is room for additional children, but they don’t currently have funding to enroll more young women. I realized then, one day before I was to return home, that I had heard this from each of our projects in Sri Lanka and India over the past couple of weeks – I was told by each and every one of them that they could reach even more kids with additional funding.

It was hard to hear that there are children missing out on going to school because of money – something we don’t worry about as much in the United States; but instead of focusing on the negative in my last few hours in this unique part of the world, I thought about how grateful I am for our sponsors, who send thousands of children around the globe to school every year, because they believe as much as we at Children Incorporated do that every child deserves an education.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN INDIA or SRI LANKA?

You can sponsor a child in India or Sri Lanka in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in India or Sri Lanka that is available for sponsorship.