As we were leaving the hospital, families gathered for a photo. “The parents are here” we were told, “and they’d like to say thanks.” We gathered with parents who work as drivers, as ward attendants, as teachers at Happy Valley School and in the maintenance department, in the administrative offices and on the cleaning crew. All there, smiling and expressing their gratitude for the scholarships provided through Friends of Padhar Schools to their children.
At the beginning of the school year, scholarships were available to staff at the hospital and staff of Happy Valley School, for those who were on the lower end of the pay scale. We had 30 applicants and 16 children were selected to receive scholarships. The Education Committee of Padhar Hospital established the criteria, facilitated the application process and administered the funds and, together, we were able to provide 35% of the school fees for those 16 children.
It was an amazing experiment in how we can be in partnership with those “on the ground” in Padhar. The first year of scholarships was funded by a single donation from the First UMC Redondo Beach Vacation Bible School. During the Summer of 2017, the children, leaders and staff of FUMC Redondo Beach brought in small donations to help fund children’s education in India. I did a presentation to the children, introducing the children to India and to the conditions and challenges the children face in attending school. They were attentive and interested and by the end of the week, they raised almost $900. And THAT donation provided 16 children with just enough money to help them attend school for the whole year!
We also hand-delivered bookmarks made by the children of FUMCRB and hand-written letters to be distributed to the children of Happy Valley English School. As the students at Happy Valley are in the midst of exams, it will be a nice treat for them to receive something special.
This next year, we will be funding scholarships for Happy Valley English School. If you want to contribute to this, our newest program, Please click here.