Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

A Thousand Shoes for a Thousand Kids

As the end of the year approaches, I can say that the Children Incorporated staff as a whole is amazed by what we have accomplished thus far in 2017, thanks to our incredible sponsors and donors. When our President and CEO, Ron Carter, sent out a letter in December of 2016 asking our supporters to help us reach our goal of providing 1,000 pairs of new shoes to sponsored and unsponsored children at our projects in the coming year, we never dreamed the response would be so tremendous.

Just three months after launching our Shoe Fund campaign, our supporters had already donated more than $30,000 to ensure that children in our program in Latin America, Africa, and Asia would receive new shoes. We can’t thank you enough for what you have done for these special young girls and boys.

The importance of shoes

There are a lot of basic needs that children go without on a daily basis – something we understand all too well. Providing basic necessities, like clothing, food, hygiene items, and educational support, to kids is the foundation of our sponsorship program, and we believe that each and every one of these aspects is incredibly important in helping children have a greater chance to succeed in life. So why did Mr. Carter want to focus in particular on getting shoes to kids in need?

“Over the years, we have heard many heartbreaking stories about children who are unable to attend school because they don’t have wearable shoes.”

“Over the years, we have heard many heartbreaking stories about children who are unable to attend school because they don’t have wearable shoes,” says Mr. Carter. “In some cases, children attend school only every other day because they have to share a single pair of shoes with a sibling. We have always made a point of providing good, solid shoes to these children, knowing that shoes can be very expensive. As such, the Children Incorporated Shoe Fund campaign has been one of our most meaningful endeavors.”

1,235 pairs and counting

We are very grateful that our donors understand that items that can sometimes appear small and insignificant can really improve the lives of children. Shoes may not seem like a big deal, but as Mr. Carter stated, it’s sometimes the difference between a child going to school or not.

Because of you, we have provided children at our affiliated projects the Pedro Poveda School, Guarderia El Angel, the Lourdes School, the Santa Clotilde Orphanage, Villa Emilia, the Montero Home, and the Cristo Rey Mission in Bolivia with shoes this year. Thanks to you, children at Hogar Santa Julia and Hogar Santa Maria in Mexico have brand new shoes to wear to school. If it weren’t for you, children at the Dandora Community Center in Kenya, the Rainbow ‘Erdata’ Center in Ethiopia, Chrishanti Lama Sevana in Sri Lanka, La Milagrosa in Costa Rica, and Santa Isabel Ana Seton in Guatemala wouldn’t have received new footwear, either.

To date, we have provided 1,235 pairs of shoes to kids in need, and we will continue distributing shoes in the upcoming months.

Thank you for all that you do to help children – we couldn’t do it without you.

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The Gift of Opportunity

When Luis and I first set foot on the compound of the Wijewardane Children’s Home in Panadura, Sri Lanka, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the house and the property. The gravel driveway was lined with lush green bushes and red and yellow flowers, leading to an equally impressive covered front porch, which had a railing that was lined with wicker chairs.

Luis with Mrs. Peiris outside the home

As we entered the house, I noticed that the inside was just as grand as the outside – the ceiling was high and curved, and the floors were covered in black and white tile. Decorative archways lead into large rooms on both sides and in front of us. I felt as though I had stepped back in time to what homes in the country must have been like many years ago, before the civil war, back when the British still ruled and the country was called by its former name, Ceylon. Come to find out, I wasn’t wrong in my thoughts.

The Wijewardane Children’s Home belongs to the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, an organization that works to promote charitable efforts in Sri Lanka. As we toured the home with our Volunteer Coordinator, Mrs. Nilamani Peiris, she explained that it was built more than 100 years ago and had belonged to a family who decided to leave the estate to the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress in 1965 so it could be used as a home for local children who were abandoned or orphaned. It has had the same mission to help young girls in need ever since then.

It now made sense to me why the home had many intricate details in its design – it had not originally been intended to be used as a group home, but as a private residence for a wealthy family. Although older and in need of some fresh paint and small repairs, the home was in good shape for its age; and although I was impressed by the architecture, I was even more impressed with the idea that this special family had so long ago chosen to donate their home to help children in need so they could have better opportunities in life.

I was even more impressed with the idea that this special family had so long ago chosen to donate their home to help children in need so they could have better opportunities in life.

An excursion for everyone

Earlier that morning, we drove from Colombo along the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka to Panadura. On the way to the home from our hotel, Mrs. Peiris, who first came to the Wijewardane Children’s Home as a manager 22 years ago, told us she had recently taken all the girls on a trip to the capital. Together they visited an art museum and a temple, and had dessert at a hotel. The trip had been possible because three of our sponsored children had received gifts from their sponsors to be used specifically for an excursion.

Mrs. Peiris didn’t want any of the girls to feel left out, so she used money from the home to take all of them with her, and she was excited about how much they enjoyed their time away from the home. Other than to go to school or occasional doctors’ appointments, the girls don’t leave the home often. Although some do have families to return to during holiday breaks from school, many don’t have other homes to go to, which means they rarely leave the compound.

A few of the young girls who live at The Wijewardane Children’s Home

When we arrived at the home about 45 minutes later, the girls were in their rooms preparing a traditional dance for us, which was their way to welcome me and Luis, and show us thanks for the support they receive from their sponsors. It was fun to not only get to see the girls perform the dances that they had worked hard to perfect, but we even had time afterward to take pictures together. The girls were very energetic and sweet, and even though they didn’t speak much English, they communicated their feelings of joy by posing playfully and giggling, dressed in their nicest outfits, which they had worn to honor their guests.

Making ends meet

When we met with Mrs. Peiris after taking pictures with the girls, she mentioned that the government only provides the home with about 600 rupees a month – about four U.S. dollars – for each of the eighteen girls that live there, which does very little to help them. The All Ceylon Buddhist Congress doesn’t provide much support beyond the use of the home, so Mrs. Peiris has to work hard to make ends meet. Sponsorship support from Children Incorporated really helps her to buy hygiene items like toothpaste and soap, and buy food, clothes, and school supplies for the girls.

Despite the difficulties of running the home with few resources, Mrs. Peiris is grateful that she can provide a safe place for the girls to live while they attend local schools, and where they can enjoy activities after school such as dance, patchwork, and sewing classes. The girls also learn weaving, dressmaking, and carpet making. She knows that at least while the girls are growing up, she can make sure they have everything they need, even though once they turn eighteen, they can no longer live at the home or receive government support. At that point, they either have to find employment or move back in with their families, which is not an option for some of them.

When we left the home, I did have concerns myself for these girls’ futures after they finish school, knowing they will have to work hard to make it on their own. But I also felt hopeful for them, because Sri Lanka is a country where although there are many poor people, there is opportunity, whether you have money or not, unlike many other places in the world. Although higher education is competitive, college is free in the country, and there are jobs both in Sri Lanka and elsewhere – many times in the United Kingdom or Australia – for these children once they grow up. And thanks to the loving care of Mrs. Peiris and the gift from a generous family of the Wijewardane Children’s Home, I feel that these girls are getting the chance they need to succeed in life.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN SRI LANKA?

You can sponsor a child in 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 Sri Lanka that is available for sponsorship.

Starting Over After the Tsunami

The tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in 2004, caused by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the island country’s coast, was one of the most devastating disasters ever recorded in the country’s history.

The tidal wave left tens of thousands dead, and many more, homeless, as well as had widespread effects on the country’s environment and ecosystems. The eastern shore of Sri Lanka faced the hardest impact because it was facing the epicenter of earthquake.

This family’s house was repaired after the tsunami, thanks to  Children Incorporated.

The coastal town of Galle, just two hours south of Colombo, a hotspot for tourists that has a bustling fishing industry, was hit incredibly hard. The tsunami swiftly destroyed an estimated 7,000 houses, most of which were made of wood, leaving many families without homes. The Dadella Children’s Center, located in the center of Galle and only a few hundred feet from the ocean, was submerged in eight feet of water. It took nearly a year for the city to recover after such a large disaster. Many children were orphaned, as more than 6,000 people lost their lives as a result of the tsunami.

Helping rebuild after disaster strikes
In the aftermath of the tsunami, Children Incorporated, along with the Dadella Children’s Center, which is run by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Sri Lanka, provided considerable relief and aid through the reconstruction of homes, while also supplying food, clothing, and mattresses to families who lost everything.

The YMCA initiated the process of constructing 25 homes for families whose children attended the Dadella Center, and who had been left homeless after the tsunami. But when they asked the government to provide the land, the government came back with one provision: they would provide the land to build on, but they wanted the YMCA to build fifty homes instead of 25 – but the government was not going to provide additional monetary support.

The YMCA didn’t have enough money to complete all fifty homes; but thankfully, Children Incorporated was able to step in and provide the funds needed to purchase doors and windows, and to finish roofs in order to complete the homes – and twice as many families as originally anticipated were, in fact, given homes. That was over twelve years ago now. Luis Bourdet, our Director of International Programs, however, still clearly remembers visiting Galle and the Dadella Children’s Center when the houses were being built. He recalls going to our sponsored children’s destroyed homes after the tsunami, and seeing that their families were left with no belongings, having to start their lives over with nothing. At least, he thought, they’d have homes to go to.

They have overcome difficult obstacles in their lives, and it was incredible to meet them and see how well they are doing, despite many setbacks and challenges in life.

On our visit to the Dadella Center in August, Luis was pleased to see the same children he had visited with before – but this time, as young teens and adults. Luis greeted a young man whose house had not been entirely lost, but was in dire need of repair after the tsunami. He is grown now, and working as a teacher in a local public school that some of our sponsored children attend.

We met another boy that Luis remembers well, now older and out of our sponsorship program, who lost his father in the tsunami, and spent his childhood in fear because he lived close to water. Children Incorporated helped build a house for him and his mother, and he is now a high school graduate, is currently taking his advanced-level exams, and hopes to go on to college one day.

There were many success stories from the Dadella Children’s Center, and I could tell from Luis’ smile that he was really proud of all the children he was able to visit with again. We were pleased to hear that many of our former sponsored children are working with the center once a week as leaders to the 23 sponsored children currently in our program. They have overcome difficult obstacles in their lives, and it was incredible to meet them and see how well they are doing, despite many setbacks and challenges in life.

Connecting projects

One of 50 homes built by the Dadella Children’s Center after the tsunami

While visiting the center, we were shown around by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the YMCA, a kind Sri Lankan man named Angus, who has held this position since 1986. He explained that he found out about Children Incorporated many years ago because his cousin is Dr. Rodrigo, our Volunteer Coordinator at the Chrishanti Lama Sevana Center in Colombo. I was glad to see the connection between two wonderful projects, knowing that as a result of that connection, we have been able to help a lot of children in Sri Lanka over the years.

The Dadella Children’s Center is on a large compound, with the playground as its centerpiece. The building itself is three stories tall, with classrooms on the first and second floors. More than 200 children go to the center every day. On the first floor, there is a preschool and daycare center for very young children, and the older children go to the center for after school tutoring programs.

Our sponsored children go once a week for leadership programs and English classes, and they are also provided with food, school uniforms, book bags, food, shoes, and school supplies, thanks to their sponsors. The center is important for children who are living in poverty, and most of them come from nearby villages; visiting the center helps them to keep up with academics, which are extremely competitive in Sri Lanka.

Better homes and better lives

After visiting with the children at the center, we set off to see some of the homes that Children Incorporated had helped build years ago. The houses were located in areas past a vast rice field, in the more rural parts of the town, away from the water – land that had previously been nothing but jungle before the tsunami.

I was impressed by the homes. They had separate bedrooms and kitchens, as well as a living area, and were all on their own piece of land covered in lush greenery. The houses were made of concrete – a much stronger material than the wood used to construct the homes that the families lived in before, which made the structures susceptible to damage from the weather.

It was nice to see that these families now have stability in their lives after all they have been through in the past. For them, the tsunami wasn’t something that happened a long time ago, and it isn’t something they have forgotten about. But they have repaired their lives, and continued to care for their children, having been given the opportunity to start over in a place they can call home.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN SRI LANKA?

You can sponsor a child in 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 Sri Lanka that is available for sponsorship.

A Haven in Colombo

The country of Sri Lanka has always valued the importance of learning, and even more so after gaining their independence from Britain in 1948. Since then, the government has made education a high priority, and it has paid off. The literacy rate is over ninety percent — the highest in all of South Asia – and enrollment in school for both boys and girls is just as high. This is in large part due to the well-developed network of public schools in the country, giving children more opportunities to be educated than many other developing or underdeveloped countries where Children Incorporated works.

Dr. Rodrigo speaks with one of our sponsored children outside the center.

At the Chrishanti Lama Sevana Center in Colombo, poor children living in surrounding neighborhoods are given a place to gather after school to study and learn English, math, Sinhalese, dance, art, and sewing, which not only helps to propel them academically, but it also keeps them off the streets.

Although our Volunteer Coordinator at the center, Dr. S.N. Rodrigo, tells us that the neighborhood isn’t unsafe, and that the children are well cared for by their mothers, she feels that it is important that the children have something to do in the afternoons, because there is a drug problem in the area, and she worries that people who don’t have jobs or much to do could negatively influence impressionable children.

Keeping kids off the streets

Knowing that the poor children who lived close to her were at risk was exactly the reason that Dr. Rodrigo started the Chrishanti Lama Sevana Center 35 years ago. She and her husband bought a home in Colombo in the 1970s, when she was still a practicing physician, and her husband was a surgeon.

Dr. Rodrigo connected with Children Incorporated in the early 1980s, when our founder, Mrs. Jeanne Clarke Wood, traveled to Sri Lanka to expand our programs in Asia. Dr. Rodrigo and her husband are both retired now, and they fill their time with taking care of the dozens of children that go to the center every day, ranging from six to eighteen years old. Twenty-two of the children who attend are currently enrolled in our program, and six are awaiting sponsorship.

Even though many of our sponsored children come from similar situations where jobs are scarce or low-paying, it was encouraging to hear from Dr. Rodrigo about how motivated the children are to learn.

Dr. Rodrigo picked me and Luis Bourdet, our Director of International Programs, up to take us to the center, and she talked about how when they first moved into the neighborhood, there were many shanties and mud huts, and she would see children running around outside of her home that were unkempt and dirty, and not in school during the day. She first started helping them by providing them with meals; and she eventually found a small hut to use as a home base to meet with them more regularly.

It wasn’t until five or six years ago, after having partnered with the Chrishanti Lama Sevana Center for nearly three decades, that Luis convinced Dr. Rodrigo to let Children Incorporated build a proper center, thanks to a donation from a special sponsor who wanted to support infrastructure at our international projects.

Dr. Rodrigo was hesitant at first, being unsure as to whether or not she could handle the work that would go into managing a larger building. But after managing to secure a piece of land from the government, she agreed to the construction; and now the center is a two-story building that offers plenty of room for the children to gather, and space for a certified teacher to work with the children every day after school.

Breaking the cycle of poverty

One of our sponsored children and his proud mother

While we were visiting the center, Dr. Rodrigo introduced us to one of the mothers in the neighborhood who is a former sponsored child. Dr. Rodrigo considers this mother’s story the greatest success story for the center.

The mother received support from her sponsor throughout her childhood, and after graduating from high school, she opened a store in her home to sell dry goods, in order to generate money for her family. Her husband drives a tuk tuk (a three-wheeled motorized vehicle used as a taxi) to earn an income, and they have two children. Their daughter is now in our program, and their son graduated a few years ago, after having a sponsor for many years, and is now working towards becoming an engineer.

Thanks to the mother’s sponsorship support growing up, and to the parents’ dual income now, their children have better educational opportunities than they ever had, which has helped this family break the cycle of poverty. What’s more, the mother is giving back to center after so many years of receiving support – Dr. Rodrigo has put her in charge of purchasing items for our sponsored children! She typically buys food, school supplies, soap, toothbrushes, rice, tea, clothing, and shoes, and on a monthly basis, determines which items will best help each individual child in our program.

Motivated to learn

As we continued to meet with our sponsored children throughout the day, we heard stories about how their parents struggle to make ends meet. We met a family who sells fruit at the local schools, but loses their income during the month-long breaks from school that happen three times a year, making it hard to provide for their children. Thanks to sponsorship, the kids receive food when money is especially tight for the parents.

Even though many of our sponsored children come from similar situations where jobs are scarce or low-paying, it was encouraging to hear from Dr. Rodrigo about how motivated the children are to learn. Academics in Sri Lanka are very competitive, and the children work hard to stay on top of their studies. Despite the barriers that poverty creates, many kids aspire to careers beyond just becoming drivers and seamstresses – many of them want to become engineers and doctors, just like Dr. Rodrigo and her husband.

Children dream big in Sri Lanka, and even though they face many challenges, they have opportunities to excel, thanks to places like the Chrishanti Lama Sevana Center, which help prepare them for the future. In Sri Lanka, the possibilities for success are real, and our sponsored children are reaching for their goals.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN SRI LANKA?

You can sponsor a child in 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 Sri Lanka that is available for sponsorship.

Touching the Lives of Children in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia, just below India, that is known for its natural beauty, wildlife, and tea and cinnamon exports. Its heritage rich in Buddhism, Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in Asia. And although thriving with regard to tourism and commerce, many people in the country live in poverty – especially children who have been removed from their homes by the government because of abuse and neglect, like those that live at the Touch a Life with Hope Center.

Children and their parents enjoy refreshments during our visit.

When Luis Bourdet, Children Incorporated’s Director of International Programs, and I arrived in Sri Lanka, I first noticed how nice the roads were – a sign of development and progress for nations that are considered to be developing or underdeveloped. Since the end of Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government in 2009, a war that caused great hardship for the population, economy, and environment of the country, the focus has shifted to increasing tourism, which has meant improvements to highways, and the construction of more hotels and business, most prominently seen in the capital city of Colombo. Though Sri Lanka is much better off in certain ways than it was eight years ago, the country and its people are still recovering from the instability and lack of infrastructure caused by decades of war.

Fifteen cents a day is not enough

Though Sri Lanka is much better off in certain ways than it was eight years ago, the country and its people are still recovering from the instability and lack of infrastructure caused by decades of war.

We arrived at the Touch a Life with Hope Center, centrally located in Colombo, just a minutes drive from our hotel. The center is tucked away down a small, narrow road lined with tall palm trees. A security wall protects the building, which is not only a home for girls, but also serves as a place for children who live with their families to receive support. Our sponsored children who do not live at the home, but in neighborhoods close by, are both girls and boys. The children attend local public schools, where core academic subjects are taught, including English. Children Incorporated has been affiliated with the home for over thirty years, thanks to a partnership developed by our founder, Mrs. Wood.

We were greeted in the courtyard by a few of the board members; our Volunteer Coordinator, Mrs. Chandini Tilakaratna, was away on business, but her cohorts were more than knowledgeable about the center and its inner workings, and they shared with us in great detail the ways in which the children are provided for at the home. The home was founded in 1982 and is operated by a group of supporters from the community.

A proud mother (left) who works hard to help her daughter stay in school

Most donations to the center come entirely from private donors, either in the form of actual monetary funds or through the donation of clothing and food for the girls. Since the government provides only forty rupees a day for each child – about the equivalent of fifteen U.S. cents – sponsorship is really important in ensuring their needs are met. Although the girls attend free public schools, the cost of school supplies and books is always additional, and the center has little money to use for things other than food and boarding expenses.

Some children go to the home at a very early age and stay until they are eighteen years old. Currently, 29 girls live at the home, the youngest being seven years old. The sponsored children we met there were of varying ages. They ranged in grade level from elementary to high school. Some of the children have been in our program for as many as fifteen years – a true testament to how sponsorship can support children long-term.

A motivated mother

We met with both parents and sponsored children throughout the day. We spoke with one mother who talked about how she and her husband both work – but the work is never permanent, meaning they don’t have a steady income. She works for a small business that makes and sells crafts, and he works as a rugby coach – two jobs that aren’t consistent year-round, and pay only around 500 rupees a day, or a little more than three U.S. dollars.

Their rent alone costs them 100 U.S. dollars a month, so many times, they have to decide which bills to pay to keep the lights on or to have running water. Money from sponsorship helps her purchase books and pay class fees for tutoring or art classes for her daughter – things that the family would otherwise not be able to afford. The mother talked about how she is very motivated to help her daughter excel, and we could see that she is successfully encouraging her daughter. Her daughter hasn’t finished high school yet, but is already taking nursing courses.

Some of the children have been in our program for as many as fifteen years – a true testament to how sponsorship can support children long-term.

Never without a home

After meeting with the children, we took a tour of the two-story building; we saw the library, the two study rooms, and the computer lab. The center has a lunchroom and kitchen, one dorm for the younger girls and one for the older girls, and showers and a washing area. Each bed has a custom-made mosquito net big enough to cover the entire bunk. There are four full-time matrons who live in separate living quarters at the home, and the center’s administrative offices are in the building as well.

It was explained to Luis and me that when the girls turn eighteen years old, they move out of the home, but continue to receive support for three years as they acclimate to living on their own, and continue their education or find jobs. Sometimes the girls go to live with family, and sometimes they find their own way, but they are always welcome to return to the home to visit – and there is even a bedroom where they can stay the night if they wish.

The center does such a good job of keeping in touch with the girls who have grown up in the home and moved on that they even have special events and holiday parties which they invite them to join. No longer girls, these women, some who moved out as many as ten years ago, return to the home with their own children.

And the women reciprocate the invitation to celebrate as well. As we were leaving for the day, I noticed a bulletin board in the hallway that had dozens of wedding photos pinned to it – beautiful brides stood with their grooms, smiling at the camera. There were thank-you cards to the matrons and administration for having been in attendance on these special days – a gesture that showed me that the girls considered those who raised them in the home family.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN SRI LANKA?

You can sponsor a child in 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 Sri Lanka that is available for sponsorship.

A Drop in the Bucket: Our Partnership with Wine To Water

Earlier in the summer, as Luis Bourdet, Children Incorporated’s Director of International Programs, and I discussed our upcoming trip in August to India and Sri Lanka to visit twelve of our affiliated projects, I asked Luis what the children living in this particular region of the world could benefit from most outside of what sponsorship already provides for them. He said he would reach out to our volunteer coordinators to find out.

When a Sawyer water filter is properly maintained, it can last for ten years.

It didn’t take long for Luis to come back to me with a response: the biggest issue that our coordinators face – accessing clean water for children in our program.

The global water crisis

Nearly one billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water; and roughly 3.5 million people die each year because of water-borne illnesses such as cholera and typhoid, as well as severe diarrhea. According to Luis, providing clean water systems for our projects is something than can be done, but not quickly – and not inexpensively.

Through a process called reverse osmosis, bacteria and other types of microscopic species can be removed from water; but the cost for each system can be as high as $8,000, and would take time to install. In order to help our sponsored children sooner, I reached out to a nonprofit organization called Wine To Water to see if they could offer a solution.

It didn’t take long for Luis to come back to me with a response: the biggest issue that our coordinators face – accessing clean water for children in our program.

Wine To Water’s story

Wine To Water was founded by Doc Hendley in 2003. A former bartender from North Carolina, Doc began focusing on the global water crisis after working in Sudan with a nonprofit organization called Samaritan’s Purse, implementing clean water projects. After a year in the field, Doc returned home fully aware of the global water crisis, and decided to start his own organization to bring clean water to some of the most remote areas in the world. In 2012, Doc was selected as a top-ten finalist for the CNN Heroes Award for his work with Wine To Water; the organization has now provided clean water to over 300,000 people in eighteen countries.

A Sawyer water filtration system set up and ready to use.

When I reached out to Wine To Water and spoke with their International Operations Director, Josh Elliott, he explained that the organization’s goals are larger than just taking clean water to communities – Wine To Water also works to improve sanitation practices, teaches hygiene education, collaborates with local people in each country, repairs wells, and disperses water filters and rainwater harvest tanks all around the globe. Josh’s solution to taking clean water to Children Incorporated projects in India and Sri Lanka was to offer Luis and I Sawyer water filters to take with us. The filters are small, easy to transport, and last ten years if used properly, which is a big deal for families in need.

Keeping kids health

A few weeks after talking with Josh, I took a training class at the Wine To Water office in Boone, North Carolina to prepare myself for showing our coordinators how to properly use the water filters – filters that will keep our sponsored children healthy. Each project will receive two or three filters, which can be used in common areas, such as in the school office or cafeteria of the schools that the children attend, which they may access daily. Our hope is that with Wine To Water’s help, offering clean water will keep our sponsored children healthy so they can attend school each and every day.

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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.