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a USA-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (tax ID: 68-0434770)

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Personal stories written during the previous decade by our founder, Dr. Koen Van Rompay

(click on the titles of the story to go their respective web pages):

- How Sahaya was started.

- The start of the HIV awareness programs.

- The start of the orphan sponsorship program.

- Motorbiking through rural India on an HIV mission (pdf only).

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May 2009,

Dear Friends,

On request of so many of you, I am starting to write a book (click here for a first chapter) that would narrate in more detail the pathway that has led me from my childhood to where we are right now. While all the currently ongoing activities impede my progress in writing, I am determined to eventually have the book ready, not just for you, but also for my sponsor-children in India who consider me as their father. I miss them a lot during the 11 months of the year that I spend outside of India. Because they don't remember their real father, I feel it's my duty to guide them.

Sometimes people ask me what drives me to do all this nonprofit work in addition to my already busy schedule as HIV researcher at UC-Davis.
Well, it feels all natural for me to do this. The journey that I started has been amazing, and I have been gaining so much more out of it then I put in it.

I feel I have learnt so much about life, and the values that are important. In our modern society, the media tries to convince us that the goal of life is the pursuit of fame, money and luxury. Trying to reach those goals can be very time-consuming (and a waste of our precious time!), and is also a reason of stress for most people, especially if one doesn't know where to set the limit of "enough". The times that I spend in the rural villages in India have taught me that once one has the basic level of comfort (food, a simple house, clothing, health), then the only thing that really matters in life is friendship and love. I gain happiness from the simple things in life, from trying to give other people that level of basic comfort, trying to make a difference.

I am fortunate to encounter many people who want to make a difference, and this allowed me to find my niche in life, to be a humble link between their generositiy and the needy people who need some help. Along this journey, I have made so many amazing friends from all walks of life all over the world, and their friendship, love and encouragement are precious to me. My many friends also help my ongoing process of liberation from the materialistic goals set by modern society, and gain the personal freedom and satisfaction that few people achieve in life. A big thank-you to all of you for your support and inspiration.

For all these reasons, I feel very enriched by so many experiences, and blessed to be surrounded by so many loving friends. According to my definition of wealth, I know that I am be the richest person in the world.

Love,

Koen

Koen and his sons
Koen and 6 of his 11 sponsor-children (December 2008).



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