Sunday, January 11, 2009

Education- the gift that keeps on giving- isn't that called investment?

The following 2008 update letter is part of a package sent to investors. As financials are tough, I wish you all the best in making giving (investment) choices right for you.

Dear Friends,
The greatest doer must also be a great dreamer.” -- Theodore Roosevelt
In December 2007, I stood on the grounds of the Rural Women’s College in the village of Gangapur, Varanasi and as I looked into the eyes of so many eager young faces, it felt like a dream come true. The aura of hope, excitement and vitality was so strong that all I have to do is close my eyes and I can still feel it today. In the students’ young faces, I see an India that is vibrant, compassionate and wise. I see an India that retains what is best in our ancient culture without the shackles of poverty and desperation.

Our story starts many years ago when my husband and I got a letter from Salt Lake City, in the mail, outlining a dream and also a plan which included the establishment of the “Foundation for Women’s Education in the Rural World” for a school for young women in rural India. We were so moved by the vision as well as the well thought out plan that we decided to give what little financial support we could provide, to keep in touch with Dr. N.P Singh but mostly to be cheerleaders for his grand vision and a most worthy cause. We had never heard of Dr. Singh but we figured when someone takes up such a major challenge, being cheerleaders was the least we could do.

Today, the school is very real and it is making a vast difference. The buildings are functional, grounds neat and kept clean by an assiduous staff. The environment feels safe and supportive. But what is most impressive is the attitude the students and staff bring to the picture – they are enthusiastic, hard working and energized.

Their individual stories are inspirational. During my visit, I noticed several young girls with “sindoor” in their hair and so when I asked I found that many of the students had already done a full days worth of house-work taking care of families even before taking the long ride to the school. And yet they projected no hint if tiredness or hardship. In fact they were proud of themselves, their school and their family for supporting their dreams.
They say that “a dream is just a dream until you write it down….then it becomes a plan”. We feel honored to be included in the planning of this dream and look forward to seeing it grow. There still remains much to be done, but believe me to share in this dream gives rewards far greater than any investment one makes. Please do plan to join in making dreams come true for a most deserving group – young rural women of India.

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