This month we will be spotlighting all of our ground projects in India. We are so thankful for the work we get to do and the impact the local church is having on the community! This week we will take a peak into our India LIFE Center.
One of the most difficult things to bear is the look of loneliness in a child’s eyes. According to conservative estimates by UNICEF, India has the largest population of street children – more than 11 million.
Whether orphaned or abandoned, the India LIFE Center is SOS’s approach to sustainable orphan care in India. It is a home for desperate little hearts searching for a place of safety. Here they find love, acceptance and healing.
The Antithesis Of My Nightmares - By Season Fulton
I was 8 years old when I first came to know about real orphans—the kind that weren’t just characters in a fairytale. This was long before I had visited the India LIFE Center, or an orphanage of any sort. My father had traveled to Rwanda for relief work after the genocide in 1994. I wondered about the children he took pictures with because I was told they were now orphans. “They’re like the Lost Boys,” I thought, “but they have fun. Peter Pan takes care of them.”
As I grew up hearing about the mission field but not quite experiencing it for myself, I imagined the horror of being a street child through the eyes of my childhood movies. Life was heartbreaking and impossibly hard, but the hero always rescued them in the end, even if they thought there was no one who cared.
It took some growing up to realize that life could be much harsher than even the most real movies.
My worst nightmare was seeing hungry, dirty kids living in dark alleys alone being preyed upon by evil people. I began to realize that if I lined up all those looking for abandoned children based on their intentions, the line of evildoers would be miles longer than the honorable.
In real life, the heroes were being drowned out by the villains, not to mention ignored by the dignified. This broke my heart.
My first trip to Mumbai further opened my eyes. What stung the most was seeing children living on the streets. It was eerily like my nightmares—the shadowed streets closely resembled the scenes I had imagined in my childhood. The dreaminess only began to fade away as I became more educated about street children. Some had run away from home because of abusive parents. Most parents had died. Some had been in other orphanages where they were abused. Their stories were new nightmares, but this time I heard the stories from their own mouths as we sat on their new beds in their new home with new parents.
This home holds heavy hearts at times, but it also holds heavy smiles. This place is the antithesis of my nightmares.
At the LIFE Center, we have the opportunity to bring warmth and safety to children who are vulnerable, preyed upon and utterly alone in the world. I personally believe that the kids we pour into right now will in turn be a tremendous part of bringing hope to their nation.
“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” – Psalm 82:3
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