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Happy Holidays from Sahaya International

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Dearest friends,
I hope that this holiday season finds you in good cheers, and that 2010 brings you lots of happy moments, good health and love.
Although the economic crisis continues to affect all of us, the memories that stick with me are the numerous accomplishments made possible thanks to your support. While more details on all our programs in India and Kenya can be found on our websites (www.sahaya.org; www.sahaya.eu), a few highlights are:
We completed the construction of a 2-storey building for the Jawahar Matriculation School in Andimadam, India. This school provides education to 114 students. Meanwhile, enrollment in the Mother Teresa School of Periyakrishnapuram village, which we finished constructing in 2008, has increased to 157 children. While ongoing fundraising efforts are focused on providing better furniture and educational materials for the classrooms, just imagine the enormous impact of these 2 schools on the future of these children and many future generations in this rural community!
Currently 180 orphans and HIV-infected children are supported by many of you through our sponsorship program and the funds raised by our annual Hope Walks Davis event (www.hopewalks.org/davis). We provide these children with nutrition, clothing, the opportunity to attend school, and above all, a childhood and hope. For me, the personal rewards of these children’s programs increase exponentially every year, and are exemplified by the many touching moments during my last trip. There are the orphans who, never having experienced the comfort of having a parent, display sparkling eyes and smiles when we hold hands and walk together over the beach or through a temple. There is the HIV-infected orphan, Pandian, who when I met him many years ago was thin, sick and very depressed, but who now showed up at the guesthouse in the village, grown up, healthy and strong (thanks to the HIV medications and extra support); displaying a big smile, he hands me a thank-you card that he had diligently prepared. There is 19-year old Karthick, who abondoned as a child by his parents, lives in poor conditions with his very old grandmother; but through determination, he managed to become a top student in his school and leader among his peers; previously worrying about having to drop out of school due to financial reasons, he now writes his recently found sponsor-father in careful English that he has found hope again, that he will make the best of this special opportunity to become somebody in his life, and then promises to return the support when his sponsor-father becomes old.
Much better than I could ever express it, some of the children recently wrote touching letters of gratitude that reflect how our support and love has affected their lives. To read some of these letters, which brought tears to my eyes, please visit www.sahaya.org/kids-stories.html.
Also this past year, I experienced that the best part of Sahaya is that we continue to link many people with big hearts and a common vision. Each of us is unique and different and can create a ripple. Together we are a wave of “making a difference” that reaches those in need and inspires others to join our efforts in making this world a better place. I feel blessed to have so many friends.
My sincere thanks again, and my best wishes for 2010.

Koen Van Rompay

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© Sahaya International, 2015; Webmaster: koen@sahaya.org

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