“I love them. I just love them,” I said to Deb from Learn With Play at Home of the children as we left a primary school in the Pudukottai region in India. And I do. I think once you become a parent, you have this desire for the wellbeing of all children around the world and that is why I resonate so strongly with World Vision as an aid organisation. They put the needs of children in the centre, and through that, communities are transformed. I’m constantly inspired by the wholistic way World Vision approaches challenges to affect sustainable long term change, and it’s my privilege to show how this is done, community to community. This is the power of child sponsorship. As I travel more, I come to the realisation that kids are kids, no matter where you are. I saw it in the little boy clapping with his entire body, just like my son does. I saw it in the giggles of the girls sitting on the mat as they whispered between friends. I saw it in their smiles. All children deserve the right to thrive.
What a special greeting!
These girls are the same age as my son.
This primary school is bright and very well organised. The outside and inside walls are painted with bright pictures of the alphabet and other educational symbols. There’s a real community feel and I wasn’t surprised when the school principal said the teachers love and care for these kids like they were their own. The highlight is the use of an organic nutritional garden to provide lunch for the children. This ensures they have access to a nutritious meal every day. The garden is established within a six month period, and then can be used in lunch food for the next six months (while the garden is growing, vegetables are purchased so children have access to vegetables all year round). When I was chatting to one of the staff, they mentioned growing highly nutritious vegetables like spinach and pumpkin in the garden. So even down to the choice of plants, it’s all about the wellbeing and development of the kids.
Start of a new garden.
Recording of the vegetables grown. This says pumpkin.
Before World Vision assisted the school, they were not able to sustain the garden because access to water was a challenge. World Vision were able to solve this problem by digging a bore 80 metres under the ground which provides continual fresh water to the school for their gardening and sanitation needs. This has made a huge difference: the garden continues to flourish; the children are fed with beautiful healthy food; and they now have access to plenty of water for all their sanitation and cleaning needs.
I wouldn’t have even known it was a bore!
Fresh water to the gardens.
Step 1: Washing hands before lunch – soap
Step 2: Washing hands before lunch – rinse with water.
Step 3: Eat Lunch. Lunch is often a boiled egg and rice mixed with fresh organic vegetables from the garden.
The process doesn’t stop at the food. The egg shells from the many, many eggs used each day are crushed and mixed with recycled paper and cow manure and added to the garden, and the cycle keeps going. Garden –> water –> food –> garden. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. As I was writing this post, I thought the school garden reflective of the value of child sponsorship too. It’s a gift that keeps on giving too. People often ask how sponsoring a child can transform communities, and it can! I’ve seen it! Villages who have sponsored children allow World Vision the resources to invest in these types of community specific projects that provide environments for children to flourish. I get behind that.