School of Angels Village School
On Monday morning December 7th Nupur Sanyal from the Institute of Social Work picks me up at the guest house in a taxi and we are off to the Angels Village School. It takes about an hour to get to the small school traveling on small, very busy roads. When we got close to the school, the taxi turns off the tar road and was now traveling on dirt roads through small villages with houses on each side of the road. I found it very interesting to look out the window to see everything as small houses lined each side of the road.At one point we passed a brickyard where I saw something I had never seen before, child labor.
A young girl about the age of 12 or 13 was carrying a wood rod over her shoulder with a large tray of sand in it. She was bringing it to a central place with other people. I was very sad to see this. I thought about it my entire trip. Yes it was also sad to see the adults doing this hard work but I thought to myself this young girl belongs in school not at work. When we arrive at the school all the children and teachers were waiting for us inside the small school. I had crayons pens and pencils to give the children.
The children performed a short show for me of song and dance and it was very good. The children were so happy doing this. Last year during my visit in 2008 I saw a little boy sitting on the floor with all the other children. He was very happy laughing and having fun but I could see he had a very bad cleft lip and maybe a problem with his right eye. I did not say anything to anyone at the time about him. I was very low on funds and my visit to India that year was almost over, but I knew right then and there I was going to try and help this boy as best I could.
I could not forget about the boy when I got home to America. If all of you remember I told everyone about him when I returned and said how I would like to help him. I was sent a few donations to start the process to help him in 2009. I am happy to tell all of you the process has begun and Nupur at I.S.W and The Assembly of God Hospital in Calcutta is looking after the boy. At this time I do not have all the full details about the boy or the people who are helping him.
The boy was going to the Doctors for an evaluation in late 2009 just after my visit with him to see what could be done for him. My hopes are next year 2010 to have a before and after photo of the boy in the Angels newsletter. This project will be a very hard project to accomplish by everyone involved. I can tell you this first hand, if we had not offered to help this young boy nothing would have been done for him and he would have lived his full life the way he was. It is very sad to be poor or to be an NGO agency to help children, and be overwhelmed with thousands of children to help with little money to do it all. You can only do what you can one child at a time.
After my visit with the children and giving the boy a warm hug goodbye, Nupur and I rode in the taxi home to my guest house. It was a short visit to the school but good. My hopes are to ask God to help this little boy and ask nothing in return only a beautiful smile from the boy. Next year in 2010 will tell the full story of how we did.
I want to send these special photos to you because it’s almost Christmas and Christmas is a time for giving. We gave this boy and his family much happiness. He is very poor and lives in very poor housing with his family in a village. I have photos of Soumya’s house that I could show you but I am not going to do that. Close your eyes and dream just how poor, poor can be. Now you will see his home. Maybe with no running water or electricity or with little food, everyone living in one room including his grandparents.
Anyhow, I was looking forward to meeting Soumya all year and I finally met him last month. Because of all the Angels on this side of the world and also all the Angels on the other side of the world Soumya has had two operations on his face for his cleft lip. He still needs one more in order to speak more clearly. He has a small hole on the roof of his mouth that will be fixed in 2011. It’s because of ALL of us that Soumya has his new face, as we started the ball rolling to help him just after the first time I met him in 2008. His right eye is blind or close to it.
We cannot fix that as only God can, but I knew we could fix the boy’s face with quite a bit of help including, great doctors in Calcutta, Dr. Zarin Dadina and Dr. Arun Ganguly who is associated with Smile Train, A wonderful hospital in Calcutta called The Assembly of God Hospital, and loving and caring social workers from the Institute of Social work in Calcutta headed by Nupur Sanyal, along with his teachers at the school and his family. In the end we did it!! Soumya has a new handsome face. This would have not happened if it was not for all of us stepping forward to help this little boy in the first place.
When you sit back in your favorite chair on Christmas think of what a special gift this was for this little boy and his family. Soumya now not only looks good, he can eat properly too ! It is a gift that will last a lifetime for him. . . Soumya is still very thin, when he came to me last month and gave me a big hug in the small school, I could feel every rib in his back as I hugged him. This made me very sad. His Mom also gave me a big hug and said Thank You to me. . . Thank you all for your help. His story is much longer, this is only the short version.