The Living Hope School has completed construction! Located in North East India, the community that the school serves are primarily comprised of tribal peoples and Dalits. We hear the situation in that area is dire, poverty runs wild and access to healthcare is not easily available. The quality of the schools in the area are low and they discriminate against the Dalits.
Over 2 acres of land have been asigned for the school grounds and the school has 8 rooms which includes an office and a washroom.
This campaign was officially launched on November 26, 2010, the response we've received has come in leaps and bounds...read on below.
The project is complete and the schools has finished being built! Thank you everyone who was involved in making this happen!
Many Dalit children live under the national poverty line, having only one meal a day. Therefore on April 14 at noon, we will be fasting for 26 hours and 26 minutes.
Through this fasting exercise as well as gathering pledges from our friends and neighbours, we hope to raise awareness and declare our solidarity with the Dalits.
A quick year end update. So far $97,286.78 has been raised for the Living Hope School building project. The school building is physically complete and we have already begun finding sponsors for the 89 children that require it.
A BIG THANK YOU to all for making our SharingHope Benefit Concert (August 20, 2011) a success!The concert sold over 300 tickets and raised $1488.80 for our LivingHope School project.The concert saw a collaboration of many different performers (who did not know each other before the concert); with two of them coming all the way up from California, United States! Many non-performers helped the sale of tickets, told others of the Dalits and helped designed T-shirts, posters, etc. A clear, thought-provoking message about the Dalits was delivered that night.We were concerned that the concert NOT be a showcase of talents but to rouse us to use our talents for God’s mission to the world. Thus, we prayed and worked our hearts out; trusting that people would be ‘inspired to act’ as champions for the Dalits.We can’t wait to see what would happen next!
One of the many Good Sheppard schools we visited while in India.This is not the Living Hope School.
One dollar raised will purchase two bricks for the Living Hope School and so far our official total is $68,906.27, which is quite a number of bricks. We are so close, with two more major funding events to come, the target goal of $100,000 will be reached by the end of 2011!
It was eight months ago that we began our campaign to raise funds to build a school for the Dalit children in India. Just three months prior to this eighth month mark was when the mission team went to India, in which the team members had their hearts broken everyday due to witnessing firsthand the poverty and human rights violations that the Dalits endured. Upon our return to Vancouver, we pondered what could we do to participate in the freeing of the Dalits. We had prior ambitions to adopt an entire Dalit village before even arriving at India but that never came into fruition since we discovered that at that moment in time the task was to big for us, since for it to be fruitful would involve multiple projects going all at once. So instead we focused ourselves into taking a single task and as you all know we eventually decided to fund the construction of a school for the Dalits. The school was to be situated in a location in the state of Punjab where it would school children from multiple local villages, and in anticipation of a brand new school building, enrolment and schooling of a kindergarten class began. We figured education was one of the key components that are required for the Dalits to eventually be free. Back home we kicked-off the campaign with an event and awareness night that was themed and titled 'Let the Children Dream' where we featured special speaker Joseph D'souza. That night 'The Living Hope School' campaign had officially begun. We had publically and officially committed ourselves to the task. To the memorable and humorous delight of the DFN representatives in attendance that night, twelve year old Timothy holding a brick in each hand, raised his hands into the air one after the other and exclaimed, "One dollar two bricks!"
After Dream Night, the road ahead seemed long and tedious, school construction was just phase one and raising $100,000 alone was daunting enough, but we were committed for the long haul so we were determined to run with it and even further, because once school construction is complete our next focus will be to make sure that any child that attends that school that needed financial sponsorship would get it. What was a certainty was that we weren't certain of how we would accomplish our goal of coming up with enough funds to fund the school construction as well as along the way inform others about the injustice that the Dalits are suffering from so that they may be moved to act as well. We were asking how long would it take for this small bi-lingual church located in East Vancouver with a membership of roughly 130 people to raise the necessary $100,000? Some of us were thinking it may take 2 years or more for us to do this and what we feared was that a drawn out duration would slowly extinguish any momentum we had. We didn't want our efforts to dwindle into inaction, we wanted results and we wanted it fast.
So we pushed aside all doubts and just ran, ideas were bounced around, individual members stepped up turning their ideas into realities and in doing so we spurred others into action. An individual unbeknownst to us had heard of what we were doing, he was man that was blessed financially and he was touched that such a small church such as ours was to take on such a tall task, thus he pledge to match donations dollar for dollar up to $50,000. He was just one of many that has helped and encouraged us along the way but by far he was the biggest contributor and to this day he remains anonymous to most of us. A God send, a sign that we are all in this together. What we are doing is just a small part in the global process of fighting the injustice that is out there, making right what was wrong, and what we know is that where injustice exists there will be others doing their part bringing justice to it.
Children are our future. They are our dreams and our hopes for a better world. Our church mission team went to India during the summer in 2010. The trip empowered us to dare to dream on behalf of the Dalits, especially on behalf of the children. We are convinced that innate in each child is the capacity to imagine and create. If we can just ignite this instinct in them, it will bring forth hope to their community and change their lives. Therefore, we have committed ourselves to build a school for them. In the school they will be taught– that each of them has the right to dream. May they dream on behalf of their people and envision a day of freedom and equality for their people. These children are our future. By investing in their dreams we are investing in our desire for a better world.
next should be a roof?
REPORT : Our first batch of students sure enjoy learning since they finished their exams stars ablazing because average scores are above 90%! The teachers are surely encouraged as they continue to be a blessing to the children as well as to the local villages and families from which the students come from. The new school year begins on July 1, so far a good number has enrolled for lower kindergarten as last years L. Kin. move up to Upper Kindergarten. ..
Oh yes we got walls up as you can see. The labourers are local labourers, they are working hard to have all the walls done by the start of the school year, and they work proudly on thier new local school, perhaps they see the enormous potential this school can have.
Looking forward to when we send another team up next year because by then there will be 3 classes of children to say hi to, L Kin, H Kin and Class 1. Cannot wait. //
‘For the Dalit Children to achieve their goals & aspirations towards a brighter & blessed FUTURE ♥’
This post will conclude our Tree of Dreams series. If you have been following, thanks!
reaching for the stars
Above is an actual photograph of our first batch of students during their morning assembly, reaching high for the sky I presume. :) We anticipate the future when we will actually get to see them all smile in person but for now this photo will suffice as we remain patient and faithful on our end.
Living Hope School, the actual building itself is still well under construction, but in anticipation of the completion of the actual building, enrolment and schooling of the very first primary class has already begun!
Once these kids complete the first level of schooling in a year’s time, they will move up to the second level and a new batch of kids will begin at Class 1. This process will continue as each year passes, as class’s advance a new batch will begin at the bottom level. Slowly but surely Dalit children will receive access to quality education taught in the English medium not just through Living Hope School but also from other Good Sheppard Education Centres.
That all the children hearts and lives be full to the brim and over flowing in hope, love, joy and God's mercy + abundance.
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