Dear Friends of the Hope Project,
I want to share with you what transpired at the February 2022 Hope Project Board meetings.
To connect and be clear about our guidance, we begin each meeting reading our vision, mission, and value statements. Each time we do this practice, it deepens our understanding of service, inspiration, love, harmony, and beauty.
This year we again met on Zoom with staff reporting on their departments. We were all excited to see each other, and we laughed a lot, remembering our numerous in-person gatherings. We are hopeful that we might meet face to face again next year.
Last May a number of staff had loved ones die due to Covid: uncles, aunts, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. The staff have been through four lockdowns and continue to witness unemployment, despair, depression, and general uncertainty about money, food, and work.
It was reported that hundreds of Indian nonprofits have not survived the lockdowns. The staff are so grateful that the Hope Project chose not to lay off people and that salaries were continued. For the last six months, the Project has vacillated between being open and shut, allowing kids to come and then not, and shifting from in-person to online teaching. Because parents lost their jobs, some of the older kids were put to work, finding jobs that pay less than what parents make, but it’s something.
Staff reported that they have to be available many more hours because the kids do not stay online, or have poor service or no service, or don’t have a computer at their home. The kids get depressed; they feel the pressure to work and need their teachers to talk with about the stresses brought on by the pandemic. To meet the need, the staff have increased their social service and counseling support. The teachers make time to visit, listen, and work with the children at their homes, and encourage them to stay engaged. On these visits, dry goods, milk, and eggs are delivered, as nutritious food has often been difficult to obtain.
The Medical Mobil Unit is working ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week, delivering medications and supplies. Some staff take buses, trains, and taxis to get to the other three neighborhoods served on the outskirts of Delhi. They bring medications and health supplies and offer support in the way of talking circles and education. The communities of the Basti and around Delhi are strong. With prayer, their will endures to meet the challenges of each day.
Evening courses (Non-Formal school) have continued for students who work or need to qualify for returning to formal school. The teachers are devoted to service, and this inspires them to put in long, 12-hour workdays to accommodate the students.
Ground has been broken in Rajasthan to build a campsite for the Kids In Nature program. A well has been dug, a boundary wall is two-thirds complete, and the foundations for tents and cabins are being laid. Children will be going to the land this year to plant gardens and trees, and to camp. This has generated much excitement!
You are part of this caravan of love, harmony, and beauty that adds to the nutritious and delicious service that is Hope.
Richard Cuadra, chair, board of trustees