A team from the UK has traveled to India this week to help Grassroots with the annual audit of the child sponsorship that we run in partnership with Sovereign King Mission in one of the slums in Chennai. Sharon Anson (one of the Grassroots Directors) and Andy Myall (the Grassroots Treasurer) have 4 volunteers with them – Rose, Archie, Jessica and Ellie.
We are so grateful to them for getting involved as we needed people to meet each of the children, chat to them (with a translator and their parent or guardian) asking a few questions to get a feel of how things are going. We then needed to take their photo, do a few heights and weights and then give them an opportunity to write to/draw a picture for their sponsor. Grassroots supports (many have sponsors) 260 of the 300+ children in the SKM homework club. supporting/sponsoring a child in this programme costs £8 per month (£96 per year).
The sponsorship pays for this club 6 days a week. The club provides a safe place for the children after school, older young people to act as “teachers” to help with their homework, and a place where they can experience belonging in a Christian community of love, support and prayer.
Each day we are asking a member of the team to write a blog as a way to expressing the experiences and feelings/thoughts they are having that day. Today we asked Archie. He is 19 and going to India with Grassroots as part of a gap year. Here is a picture of Archie attempting to eat his lunch with his fingers. Below are his words:
“Today began (not surprisingly) with breakfast, which was an uncharacteristically interesting experience. Whilst toast was on offer, I thought better of myself and opted to try out the Indian breakfast cuisine. After viewing the morning’s selection, however, I turned back on my decision, picking up what I had thought was a pancake. As it turned out, this was a spiced pancake which tasted absolutely disgusting! On Sharon’s recommendation, I poured a couple of spoonfuls of masala on top, hoping to balance the flavour. This was a big mistake, as it turned out that all I had done was transform the pancake into what was essentially just baby sick. Fortunately this negative experience did not set a trend for the rest of the day.
We spent the day from 10am to 8pm simply interviewing children from the sponsorship scheme and updating their forms. Though on the face of it this work seems merely administrative, interviewing these delightful young children and their carers is a unique and humbling experience, giving you an intimate insight into their lives. By the end if each interview you feel truly connected to these families and their lives, even if from a distance, and we hope that this comes across on the sponsors’ information forms.
Sat just across a table from these people, you begin to realise that we really are not all that different. We all share similar hopes, needs and passions. We all have something we care strongly about, love deeply, and something that we live for; we all require clean food and water, sufficient shelter, and adequate medical care; and we all dream of having a ‘successful’ job, a bigger house, and a better future.
The only difference is our starting point: our lot in life equips us far better to go further. And this really is to our shame, for we also all succumb to the same sins, whether these be lust, anger, addiction or something else. Again, the only difference is our starting point: we must fall significantly further to reach a point where these seem almost justifiable.
Of course, to help those in need is a wonderful and generous thing which everyone should feel duty-bound to do. But at the very least we should find the resolve to take our own lives more seriously. If not for ourselves then for the needy, for we owe it to them not to take our opportunities for granted. Whether good or bad by ‘wealthy’ standards, we live in near unprecedentedly fortunate circumstances. Please, let’s not let them go to waste.”
Here is Archie interviewing some of the children:
If you would like to Sponsor a child for £8 per month please click this link: https://www.grassroots.org.uk/shop/sponsor-child-today