Dear adopting families,
As every year on my return from my journey to India, I am writing to you to wish you a very Happy Christmas including a short letter about my recent experience in India.
You will also find a short account of the experience of two adoptive parents and one of our volunteers, who met your children with me; your children are growing so quickly, that it is difficult to recognise them. but the affection and smiles with which they welcome us... these will never change!
Together with the photos and a short letter from your children, we have brought you an interview with Father Antonio Grugni, PIME (Pontifical Foreign Mission Institute), medical doctor and missionary in Warangal, who has worked for a long period of time with Father Colombo, which we hope you will appreciate. This year my journey took place during the celebrations for the Dasara, a Hindu celebration in which schools remain closed for ten days, and everybody, not just Hindus but also Christians and Muslims, cannot remain indifferent, if for no other reason but the festive atmosphere which can be felt all around you.
I was fascinated by one ritual in particular. the Batkama celebration: an almost exclusive celebration for women, but which has nothing to do with our festivities for the 8th of March. All the women dress in their best clothes creating real " cakes" formed of multicoloured flowers. they carry them in procession and create internal circles which lay down the flowers singing, praying and dancing around them. After having entrusted their prayers to the flowers, their personal anxieties, their sufferance they place them in the rivers and lakes where the water carries them to the goddess who will listen to their words and their thoughts.
As a sign of their gratitude, the women place sweetmeats of all kinds into the hands of the people who surround them, in order to share, with the entire community, the joy of having been able to offer up their personal prayers.
The multitude of colours is extraordinary, but even more extraordinary is the faith of these people and the spirit of sharing which one can feel even from these small gestures.
The opportunity to take part in the Batkama with its flowers and in the concluding celebration of the Dasara with the burning of the evil king, Ravana (who has 10 heads), whose enormous effigy is to be found in every street, ready to be burnt, was an honour for me, these are thousand year old traditions which are truly fascinating and should be respected.
In India all uncles and aunts become fathers and mothers, the word cousin does not exist, they are all brother and sisters. in the beginning it is difficult for us to understand how the family of our children is really made up.
But then it becomes quite normal, it is an enlarged family, it is useless to ask for explanations because they are brothers and sisters... why shouldn't we consider them as such?
In India we meet Sravani who dies from a high fever two days after we have seen her, we meet Praveen being cared for in the HIV centre. Jvothi who married her uncle after receiving her diploma, or Chanti obliged to leave school because he is orphaned and his aunt, who looks after him, does not want to stay at home alone. .. There is Arun who is unduly influenced by his aunt, gives up his life as a child to look after his little cousin who is disabled, because he thinks it is right because she is his sister.
In India there is a young female child, in a centre for HIV sufferers who lies on a bed embracing her dying mother while she herself is suffering from this terrible illness...
But in India there is also Devikumari who graduated in engineering with top grades. The first graduate from the School for Children!! There is Padma and Veerakumari who have had operations on their legs and are doing physiotherapy in order to start walking again. There is Uday Kumar, Sagar and Sandeeep who this year speak to me in English without any difficulty...
There is Tara whose story was broadcast on television... she came from a family who had always lived for generations by collecting rubbish, who now, thanks to you, is attending sixth grade and getting excellent marks...
There are smiles and thank yous which come from the hearts of your children who receive your letters and your photos, the gifts that we have bought for them. I would be so happy if you could know them, if you could see how much you really do for them. For this reason, with this heartfelt thank you, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas on behalf of the School for Children.
School for Children Onlus wishes to consolidate a project which was very important to Padre Augusto Colombo: to build and support a specialised structure, able to host and cure children who are seropositive/AIDS sufferers and who live in the state of Andhra Pradesh (India). It goes without saying that to succeed in a similar undertaking it is necessary to know what is specifically required, to aim for the sky while keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground. We have, for this reason, asked Padre Antonio Grugni some questions, to discover his story and with his help to understand something more in relation to the problems of AIDS and its spreading across the Indian continent, in particular in the area we are concerned with.
India In the Future: An interview with Father Antonio Grugni
We wish to inform you that Lara is going back to India again on Oct. 11th, with two adoptive parents.
As in past years it will be possible to let us have, directly at our offices or through our volunteers, any letters or photographs to be given to your children.
We will not bring any personal gifts in order not to create any differenziation between one child and another, but if you wish you can send us an offering (5, 10, 20 euros…).
We will buy something for all the children with the money collected in order to avoid any of them feeling excluded or less loved.
Thanking you on behalf of School for Children.
School for Children
We wish to send you our heartfelt greetings for Easter and thank you for your generosity and support in the development of our School For Children Projects.
A lot has already been achieved but there is still a lot of work to be done! Let’s keep going, all together!
We are depending on your support!
Please find attached two letters: the first from Sister Sherly, director of the School For Children projects in Khammam, the second from Father Prakash, who is continuing Father Augusto Colombo’s role in Warangal.
In addition, a short biographical note from Sister Lorenza Bietti who died recently.
A sincere thank you to those who were close to us on her death.
In conclusion we invite you to support us in all we still wish and have to do and yet again take the opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Easter.
School for Children
We have achieved a lot but there is still a lot to be done.
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School for Children wishes to thank all those who with great dedication and effort offer their support as volunteers to help the association in its many development projects and initiatives to benefit Indian children, their families and their local communities.
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