India: Sponsors experience the warmth of a Jaipur community

By Don McNeill, India Child Sponsor

Tuesday 16th September 2014 was a much anticipated day for us. It was arranged with World Vision earlier in the year that on this day my daughter Kathy and I would visit my sponsored child, Bhawana, in the Jaipur project.

The day finally arrived. Mahendra, a driver from World Vision, arrived at our hotel and took us to the Jaipur office where we met a number of the staff including Josiah and Nithin. After being given details of the project work in Jaipur, signing some forms and enjoying some refreshments, we set off with Nithin and Mahendra to meet Bhawana and her community, which was located in a poor area of Jaipur where World Vision has established development projects. The child sponsors for the Jaipur project are all from Australia.

Kathy and I were surprised as we drove up through the streets of the community to find a large colourful marquee in the street with pink and white balloons. It was so unexpected, so generous and such a humbling experience to realise how much the community appreciated our visit.

We were led onto a stage and seated as the guests of honour. Flowers were presented to Kathy and I, then colourful Rajastani hats, the like of which I have seen grooms wearing at Hindi weddings.

It was such a joy to meet my sponsored child, Bhawana, and her family: her brother Dev, father Manoj and her mother.

There were about 50 or so mothers and children seated in the marquee, enjoying the activities as welcoming speeches were made and photos taken with Bhawana’s family and the World Vision staff.



Learning about the work being achieved through sponsorship

We were introduced to a group of ladies who were the leaders of the community women’s group in World Vision’s Jaipur project. These ladies had been instrumental in organising today’s function. They spoke to us about the work they were doing at the moment. The main project was to provide soap and education about hand washing to the community with the help of the World Vision staff. It was wonderful to see how passionate and empowered the women seemed to feel when talking about the project.

Afterwards, we went into a small house nearby with Bhawana, her family and friends. This was a great opportunity to ask some questions while Nithin translated. Kathy gave out gifts to the children in the room. We found out that Bhawana likes to eat pasta and enjoys Maths. Her Dad, Manoj works as a tailor with his brother in a shop in Jaipur. Manoj asked us about the work we did in Australia. Her mum is very busy looking after the household.

I offered to sing them a Hindi song, which was a favourite of Mahatma Ghandi called 'Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram'. Everyone seemed to enjoy this. Then dear little Bhawana stood up and sang to us - a similar song about the Hindu God Rama. She sang beautifully and it was very special. Kathy was given a necklace and shawl, and we were given boxes with food including delicious samosas.

After farewells, Nithin and the driver Mahendra took us back to the hotel.

Our visit was a truly amazing and wonderful experience for us, as I hope it was for Bhawana. We will always treasure the memory of our meeting with Bhawana and her family as well as the generous, warm hearted community in the Jaipur project.