Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teens rescued from the streets as children find hope

This trip marks another milestone for our jewelry project. Yesterday we held a refresher training course here in India by video from one of our amazing designers & trainers, Heather.
We also interviewed a group of young women and heard about the time in their lives of living in hunger and fear on the streets before coming to this rescue shelter. The highlight for me was hearing how much they love making jewelry. Vijaya* said she is saving her earnings for college. They are earning approximately eight times what they would in another job, and they are able to make jewelry when they have free time, after their studies are done.
Our professional cameraman, Mike, has captured incredible raw footage that can be used for a Hope's Gate video.
If you would like to purchase jewelry made in our project contact info@hopesgate.org or if you would like to make a donation to help us produce a video of our project see the donate page.
*name changed

A place of peace for children of prostitutes

Giggles, squeals, sweet voices laughing....these were the sounds that brought tears to my eyes yesterday as we sat on the floor of a tiny room in the red light district that is home to 6,000 prostitutes and their children.
In the heart of this dark place a wonderful woman runs a preschool for the little ones. They see and hear everything that goes on around them and they face sexual abuse at the hands of the clients, many times. Thankfully Dr. Ruby faithfully greets them each weekday morning and welcomes them for a few hours of peace. Hope's Gate supports the Light of Life Preschool monthly and we continue to work together to break the cycle of the hopelessness of generations in India.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

This is what love looks like

Today our team visited the "comforter" children's home, which is home to 32 children, half of whom are HIV positive.
Hope's Gate brings volunteer teams to homes like these to encourage, help and consistently let these kids know they are not alone in the world. I was able to pass on some special photos, letters & gifts from a recent volunteer team I brought from Texas. I started thinking this is really what love looks like.
There is a little girl at the Comforter home whose life has been drastically impacted by the AIDS virus. I noticed she was a little sad when I first arrived...not her normal smiling face. I had a picture for her though in my bag. It was a picture sent to her by Kelly in Texas who met her in November. You see Kelly can't forget * Manju and today that love & commitment made a sad little girl smile.
*name changed

Good Shepherd...safe haven from the streets

Sitting in the room listening to nine little children rescued from living on the streets sing and talk about their dreams was such a refreshing start to an awesome day. Each one has a unique story, but all have one thing in common: life was hard before coming to this shelter. They were hungry, lonely and sometimes neglected and abused. Now they are safe, loved, and happy! I've never met more grateful kids. We walked with the kids to a local pizzeria, and there were some huge smiles as they competed for who could eat the most slices. We interviewed the kids in order to better understand their life stories. One 11 year old said "I'm beautiful because God made me special". I just want to say to the staff of GSH, you rock! Stay tuned for part 2...jewelry training with the teens rescued from the streets!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A voice for the forgotten ones

Today we visited a group of families living on the sidewalks of this city. It's estimated there are 40,000 people living on the streets of Pune. They live under plastic tarps, sleep on dirty cement sidewalks and fight to survive. Thousands of cars drive by, but no one stops. A little toddler gets so close to the oncoming traffic my heart skips a beat. They are forgotten by most, ignored, but not by our Father in heaven.
Psalms 34:6-7 says "the poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles."
Today we were able to give fruit out to the families. I met a little boy who didn't know what a banana was but as soon as he was brave enough to try it he devoured it.
Many of the children and teens who live in the shelters Hope's Gate partners with here have been rescued from a life of suffering & abuse on these very streets. So I'd like to invite you to follow along as we visit the shelters and hear the rescue stories. They are stories of beauty from ashes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Demolitioning for hope!

In 2011 Hope's Gate started accepting donations of old, broken & mismatched jewelry. Our volunteers then "demolition", or break down the donated jewelry, and sort through and keep what is reusable. The beads and other pieces are sent to our projects where beautiful, unique handmade bracelets are recreated.
Just two days ago in preparation for our India trip a volunteer team demolitioned and bagged the beads. Thank you to everyone who donated your old jewelry for recycling! Your donation is blessing the lives of young women rescued out of hopelessness and allowing them to make something old and broken into something new.
Stay Tuned for A report on day 1 from India!

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