Series Code: HIM
Program Code: HIM000038A
00:22 Asian Aid is an organization giving hope,
00:25 an organization fostering permanent positive change
00:28 in the lives of disadvantaged children
00:30 and their communities,
00:32 an organization that is committed to
00:34 making a difference in the lives of children
00:36 and those who are in need,
00:38 serving communities in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
00:42 Myanmar and India.
00:51 For the last forty years,
00:53 Asian Aid has invested in the futures of people
00:56 and their investment has proven infinite returns.
01:00 Driven by their dedication
01:02 to helping those who have the least,
01:04 Asian Aid is an organization
01:06 focused on the welfare of children,
01:09 implementing diverse development projects
01:11 and sponsoring thousands of children.
01:14 Their outreach spans from child rescue operations
01:18 to providing an education for orphans,
01:20 deaf and the blind children,
01:23 giving them a sense of place, a home.
01:25 But above all, Asian Aid is an organization giving hope,
01:30 giving hope to children, giving hope to communities,
01:33 giving hope to the ones who need it the most.
01:37 This is Hope in Motion
01:53 Hello, I'm Carl Ginger
01:54 and I'm on the board of Asian Aid, USA.
01:57 I'm going to talk a bit about Asian Aid and its beginnings.
02:01 Asian Aid started about 40 years ago,
02:04 with a vision.
02:05 And in that time it's grown from a thought,
02:08 a vision, a purpose and a mission
02:10 to something really significant today.
02:12 And it's making a significant difference
02:15 in the lives of children, families and communities.
02:18 Today, I'm going to be talking with Jim Rennie,
02:20 the CEO of Asian Aid USA.
02:23 Jim, good morning.
02:24 Good morning, Carl.
02:26 It's very nice seeing you again.
02:28 It's more than just being the CEO,
02:31 it's having a relationship and a friendship.
02:33 And I'm really grateful for that.
02:35 Jim, can you tell us a bit about Asian Aid,
02:38 to those who are not really familiar with Asian Aid.
02:41 What it does?
02:42 Some of the programs it does?
02:44 Well, Carl, as you said Asian Aid was established
02:47 just about over 40 years now in Australia.
02:50 And Asian Aid USA has been going about six or seven years.
02:56 Asian Aid is a really child focused organization.
03:00 And the main activity that we carry out is sponsorship.
03:05 And we have over 2800 children
03:08 and each child has an individual sponsor.
03:12 That's our main activity.
03:14 But on top of that
03:15 we are involved in over five orphanages,
03:18 a school for the blind,
03:20 a school for the deaf, in India.
03:21 And then in recent times,
03:24 we've become involved in operation child rescue
03:27 which is really exciting,
03:29 because we are involved in
03:31 the rescue of young girls from the sex trade
03:35 and also children from hard labor situations and beggary.
03:40 So Asian Aid is very child focused,
03:43 but it is involved
03:44 in a wide range of child focused activity.
03:50 Well, Jim, you mentioned that
03:52 Asian Aid is primarily about children and child sponsorship.
03:56 Can you give us a bit more information
03:57 on sponsorship?
03:59 Whether there are different categories for the sponsorship
04:01 and how it works, please.
04:03 Yes, Carl, well
04:04 there's a number of levels of sponsorship.
04:06 The first one is a "Day student."
04:08 But let me just go back a step.
04:10 Asian Aid basically takes children based on need
04:14 and places them in an Adventist school.
04:16 The first category is the "Day student,"
04:18 so this is the child, who walks or catches the bus
04:23 from the local village to the school
04:26 and so that supplied an education.
04:29 Then we have a smaller category called "Day plus,"
04:32 where it's the "Day student"
04:34 and we provide them the mid-day meal.
04:36 Our biggest category is "Boarder."
04:40 So this is a child who boards at the school,
04:42 obviously goes home for the holidays.
04:45 But they're getting education,
04:46 they get their meal, they get accommodation,
04:49 they get a uniform and a book allowance.
04:52 And than course above that is tertiary,
04:56 that's where they go to college or university
04:59 and a major part of their costs are subsidized by Asian Aid.
05:05 The unique thing about Asian Aid is
05:07 that when a child is accepted,
05:09 whether they have a sponsor or not,
05:12 they stay in the education program.
05:16 We always have a pool of unsponsored children,
05:20 so that we have children in reserve for new sponsors.
05:23 But also if the sponsor is unable to continue,
05:26 the child support continues.
05:30 Each child has an individual sponsor.
05:33 And that sponsor gets updates on the child,
05:36 annual report and in most cases
05:39 the child writes them two or three letters a year.
05:42 Now with the sponsorship,
05:46 with these various categories especially the "Boarders,
05:50 " how do we select them?
05:53 Well, the children are selected on needs.
05:56 So when we have a need for additional children,
06:00 we allocate it to a particular area or school.
06:03 And then based on the recommendation
06:05 of either pastors,
06:06 community workers or of the principal,
06:09 the children's names are put forward to Asian Aid.
06:12 And we have about eleven field officers in India.
06:15 So the field officer checks on their situation
06:20 and if possible visits their home.
06:22 And when they are accepted,
06:23 they go to the designated school.
06:28 And you mentioned orphanages.
06:30 Now in India we call them Children's Homes, I guess.
06:33 Now running an orphanage or children's home
06:35 must have challenges.
06:37 It does.
06:38 How do you see this working?
06:40 What are the challenges?
06:42 And how do we manage that?
06:44 Well, our biggest orphanage
06:47 is one that Asian Aid USA built in recent years,
06:50 it's called Sunrise Home.
06:52 And it's in a beautiful location in the country,
06:55 in a town called Bobbili in Andhra Pradesh.
06:59 It has 10 acres of property.
07:01 And it's a fantastic home for the children.
07:05 There is a river flowing near by.
07:07 And you know when we go there, we always enjoy them seeing,
07:12 playing in the river.
07:13 I think the main challenge with these homes
07:17 is obviously finding the right staff.
07:20 I mean it's hard enough bringing up two--
07:23 one two or three kids of your own.
07:25 Could you imagine having to bring up 70-100 orphans?
07:29 I mean these kids are just normal children.
07:31 They want to do all the things a normal child does.
07:34 But so finding dedicated staff, dedicated Christian staff
07:40 who can be a parent to these children,
07:44 can manage a large number of children,
07:46 but most of important
07:48 give them a Christian influence in their lives
07:52 is our biggest challenge.
07:55 I think the second challenge is obviously
07:58 meeting the legal requirements of the government.
08:02 And we're very blessed that Sunrise home
08:05 is one of the first government approved orphanages
08:08 that the church and Asian Aid has and...
08:12 But the work these homes are doing is just amazing,
08:18 just amazing.
08:19 And so it's always just great to visit these homes.
08:24 Now with all of these children,
08:25 you mentioned before that we have sponsors.
08:28 What makes a sponsor want to be involved?
08:32 And how do they actually get the joy and the pleasure
08:35 of being involved?
08:37 Well, I think, sponsorship is a very unique way
08:40 of making a difference.
08:42 We all can't visit the mission field.
08:43 We all can't go on mission trips.
08:47 And so sponsorship means that every morning
08:51 you are making a difference in the life of a child.
08:54 That child is depending on you for its education
08:57 and in some cases its food and not only that,
09:01 you're giving the Christian influence
09:03 to that child.
09:04 And hopefully, the child writes to you
09:07 and you can write to the child.
09:09 You get their annual school report.
09:12 My child is getting an A or a C."
09:17 So you're involved in the life of a child
09:19 and you're making a difference every day.
09:22 And I guess that the big thing is that
09:24 the sponsors, are-- stay there for the long term.
09:27 I see them like postage stamps.
09:29 They stick to their cause
09:31 and their commitment to the end.
09:33 And I would assume that,
09:35 often, when they get to the end of the child's education,
09:38 they might sponsor another child too.
09:40 Oh! Yes, yes.
09:41 We have, in fact I, just the other day
09:45 I was talking to a sponsor,
09:46 who had sponsored the particular child
09:48 for 10 years on that--tertiary
09:51 And that particular lady took a new child.
09:55 So she's been sponsoring with Asian Aid over 10 years.
09:59 Now that's a good news story.
10:01 So Jim, when we're talking about Bobbili,
10:03 it's in a rural area.
10:05 We not only have the children's home,
10:07 but we involved in the community,
10:09 in the local area.
10:10 Could you give us an idea of what we do there?
10:12 And the impact it's making on these people.
10:14 Well as you remember,
10:17 Bobbili is not far from the major city of Vizag.
10:21 in the city of Vizag,
10:22 you remember we went to the slum school.
10:24 I remember that well.
10:26 Yeah, it's a very unique school that Asian Aid funds 100%,
10:30 it's located right in the center of the slum.
10:33 There's 80 small children there,
10:35 in fact, I think there's about 90 at the moment.
10:39 And the amazing thing here is that,
10:42 if that school wasn't where it is,
10:44 right on the hat of the slum,
10:47 50% of those children wouldn't be at school.
10:50 It faces tremendous pressures,
10:52 because the parents quite often want the children
10:55 to be on the streets begging.
10:57 So there is a lot of pressure to keep the kids at school.
10:59 And so Asian Aid is very proud of that ministry
11:03 and what is achieved.
11:04 And every time I visit that school, Jim,
11:06 I just feel the faces of these children.
11:09 Their smiles are so broad
11:12 and they're so happy to be at school.
11:14 It's an inspiration. That's right.
11:16 It's a delight.
11:17 Then as you get nearer to Bobbili,
11:21 there's a number of day schools,
11:23 where Asian Aid have sponsored children,
11:27 there's the sunrise home as we mentioned.
11:29 But then right on the other side of Bobbili,
11:32 the Sunrise,
11:33 we have the Asian Aid School for the blind.
11:36 And once again this is a very unique school.
11:38 We have 160 either blind or partially blind children.
11:43 And once again these are from
11:45 very, very poor remote villages.
11:50 And in most cases, these are shunned by society.
11:54 They are rejected by society.
11:56 So a lot of these kids
11:57 would have never got an education.
11:59 And what would happen if they don't get an education?
12:02 Well, we've seen some pretty sad stories.
12:04 One day when I was there, a girl was brought in
12:07 and her parents had chained her
12:09 in the basement of the house for three years
12:12 because they didn't want... they were filled by...
12:14 were ashamed in having this daughter.
12:16 And when she arrived, she couldn't speak.
12:19 And I went back a couple of months later
12:21 and that brought tears to my eyes,
12:23 as I saw this little girl singing a song.
12:27 As I said, people like this are rejected by society.
12:31 The parents don't know what to do with them.
12:33 And so it has a big impact on the family
12:36 that their child can't get education.
12:39 And now we've saved them a tertiary
12:41 and we have some actually working in call centers.
12:44 So it's truly a blessing.
12:47 And so it's not only the child that's having a new future,
12:51 the parents also can have a new start
12:54 because their child can do something
12:56 and they can support the child.
12:58 And as you said, when they grow up
13:00 the child can be of a blessing to the parents too.
13:04 So Jim, with such a lot of influence in the community,
13:07 the things we're doing in the community
13:09 and I'm sure the community participating in these things.
13:13 Do they see us as Christians?
13:15 As Adventists?
13:16 How do they see us?
13:18 Well, I think it's exciting how they see us
13:21 because, yes, they know we're Christians.
13:24 Yes, they know we're Seventh-day Adventist.
13:26 Now sometimes, they don't understand
13:28 what a Seventh-day Adventist is.
13:30 But over time they learn and understand who we are.
13:34 80% of these children are not from Christian homes.
13:38 So it builds a unique relationship
13:42 between the church and the community.
13:45 And quite often these children
13:47 take the Christianity back to their homes.
13:50 So it's one of the most amazing
13:52 outreach programs that you are a part of,
13:56 when you are involved in sponsorship.
13:59 Thanks Jim, now apart from all these things that we do.
14:03 Sponsorship programs, community development programs.
14:06 There are other issues that emerging as well.
14:08 You mentioned trafficking of children
14:10 into sex slavery and the trade.
14:15 And, you know, it's--
14:17 there's so much more that Asian Aid is involved in.
14:22 And will be involved in.
14:25 So join me in a few minutes.
14:27 When we come back and we will talk to Jim,
14:30 more about how Asian Aid is participating
14:33 in these new programs and projects
14:36 and how they are making a difference
14:39 in the lives of children,
14:41 adults, families and communities.
14:58 My wife Angela and I are here in Andhra Pradesh, India,
15:01 visiting some of the Asian Aid projects
15:03 to see for ourselves,
15:05 how the work that is being done here
15:06 is transforming lives,
15:08 especially the lives of orphaned children
15:11 and abandoned children,
15:13 children from the tribal communities.
15:15 And we've discovered that because of sponsors like you,
15:18 they now have a place that they can call home.
15:20 They have wonderful clothing, nutritious food.
15:23 And they are being prepared
15:25 to propel themselves into the future
15:27 for a promising career.
15:29 But above all that
15:30 because of sponsors like you, they now have hope.
15:33 Hope for a better future.
15:49 Well, I'm here in Sunrise home with Sheila.
15:52 Now my family and I have been sponsoring Sheila
15:54 for just about a year now.
15:56 And I can tell you being here and spending time with her,
15:59 I can see the difference
16:00 that sponsorship is making in her life.
16:03 She now has plenty of food.
16:04 She has a beautiful place to sleep each night.
16:07 She has clothes.
16:08 She has a school uniform and an excellent education.
16:11 I can tell you, it's made a difference in her life
16:14 and it's made a difference in our lives too.
16:17 Now through sponsorship,
16:18 you too can make a difference
16:20 in the life of a child every day.
16:38 Welcome back.
16:40 I'm in conversation with Jim Rennie,
16:41 the CEO of Asian Aid USA.
16:44 Jim, the majority of our work is in India.
16:47 But we also work in other countries like Sri Lanka.
16:50 Could you give us some understanding of
16:52 what we do?
16:53 And where? Yes, Carl.
16:55 Well, in Sri Lanka
16:57 the main activity there is with Lakpahana College
17:00 and we have about 50 sponsored children there.
17:03 In Bangladesh, we have 300 children
17:07 and a number of Adventist schools.
17:10 We're shortly to enter Myanmar.
17:12 And in Nepal, we have about 150 children
17:17 and numerous Adventist colleges.
17:20 Now there are special issues in Nepal
17:24 and, it's like, child trafficking
17:27 is a big issue there.
17:29 And do we have programs to address this?
17:32 Are we-- Where are we starting to address this sort of issue?
17:35 Well, we've made a decision with our program called
17:38 Operation Child Rescue
17:40 there we want to get involved in this area,
17:43 especially the targeting children.
17:46 So in Bangalore,
17:47 we have partnered with anorganization.
17:49 And we're directly involved in rescues.
17:52 The main activity is rescuing girls from the sex trade.
17:56 So we're involved directly in rescues.
17:59 They go and take these girls from the brothels
18:02 and do their best to rehabilitate them.
18:06 Now that sounds to me like a risky business?
18:08 It is. It is.
18:10 The team are constantly exploring,
18:12 exposed to danger
18:13 and there is obviously corruption at all levels.
18:17 And our team have to take very special precautions
18:21 in the work that they do.
18:23 And then also in Bangalore,
18:25 we're working closely with the trust
18:28 that actually rescues babies.
18:30 These are babies that are rejected by society.
18:33 They're left on the side of the road.
18:35 And so the police and social services
18:38 bring those babies to the rescue center.
18:41 And Carl, it's so heartbreaking to see these children
18:46 that have been rejected by society
18:48 but it's just so exciting to see
18:52 that these children have been saved from death.
18:57 And operation child rescue
19:00 was an important part of Asian Aid's
19:03 growing program.
19:05 So Asian Aid has an influence on children from babies,
19:10 you know, right through to adults.
19:13 Asian Aid is a very unique ministry
19:14 that we're very child focused.
19:17 And yeah, we cover a spectrum of how donors and supporters
19:22 can be involved in changing the lives
19:26 and saving these children from death.
19:29 Yeah and it's not just all of these,
19:31 this whole spectrum of people.
19:33 We also are involved in special needs children
19:36 like the school for the blind and the hearing-impaired.
19:39 Give us a bit more information on these schools
19:41 because they are-- they serve special needs.
19:43 I know you mentioned previously about the school for the blind
19:47 but tell us a bit more about the school
19:49 for hearing impaired.
19:50 Well, you remember when you and I went there,
19:52 we drove in the gate and it was just so exciting
19:55 that these kids just came rushing around the car.
19:58 And you hop out and then without thinking,
20:01 you start talking to them.
20:04 You forget that they're deaf because they're so animated,
20:05 they're saying hello.
20:07 And once again, this is a very, very important school
20:11 because these children are from the poor villages.
20:15 Where it's-- the society reject them
20:19 and it's embarrassing to the parents.
20:21 And to see them singing hymns using sign language,
20:25 to see them doing a skit to music
20:29 but they can't hear the music.
20:31 Wasn't that amazing?
20:32 That-- Absolutely amazing.
20:33 The other thing, it's the concentration
20:35 on these children's faces.
20:36 Because they can't hear anything,
20:38 they just focus on what's being done.
20:40 That really amazed me.
20:42 I think the other important thing also,
20:45 is the difference it makes on the lives of the families.
20:48 All right, so we're not only sponsoring a child,
20:51 we're not only giving that child an education
20:54 but suddenly the parents,
20:56 the parents who have faced stigma,
20:58 the parents that have faced embarrassment,
21:01 are suddenly proud of their child.
21:03 To see parents in the slum,
21:05 who are proud of their little child,
21:08 in their daily uniform, heading off to school.
21:10 To see parents of the blind children,
21:13 who suddenly have a child they can talk about.
21:16 And these children make a difference.
21:18 So the sponsor is making a difference
21:20 in the life of the family and that community.
21:24 So it has a very, very wide effect.
21:26 With our sponsorship program,
21:29 you're introducing the child to Jesus.
21:32 They come to the school
21:33 and suddenly they're learning hymns,
21:35 they're learning prayer
21:37 and they become-- they really are introduced to Jesus
21:42 and it's just so exciting.
21:43 We see baptisms.
21:45 We see them taking the Christian influence
21:48 back to their family and their friends.
21:52 So sponsorship is a very effective evangelism tool
21:57 that you are involved in, as a sponsor everyday.
22:02 And what that really also means is,
22:04 it's not just people knowing Jesus Christ,
22:07 but hope gives them another reason to live.
22:11 That's right.
22:13 And in Asian Aid's logo,
22:14 it says Asian Aid, give hope today.
22:17 And that's what we're doing.
22:19 The hope that's bigger than the hope of an education,
22:22 that's the hope of eternal life.
22:24 So Jim, to do all the stuff, we know, we need funds
22:27 and I know that at the-- at our board meetings,
22:29 one of the key item's is funds.
22:32 How do we raise funds?
22:34 And what are we going to do with it?
22:35 What's the challenges?
22:37 Well, fund raising is tough.
22:40 Where there's a lot of ministries out there
22:42 seeking the dollar,
22:44 the dollar that people want to share for good causes.
22:47 So it's a very competitive environment
22:50 but we've been very blessed with the Hope in Motion series,
22:53 that we're a part of right now.
22:55 And we've been very blessed with our partnership with 3ABN.
22:59 It's had a dramatic impact on people understanding
23:03 the work of Asian Aid.
23:05 We also have to travel all around America
23:07 going to ASIs and church meetings
23:11 and visiting churches.
23:12 So that comes with a high cost.
23:14 But the Lord's blessed us
23:16 and we plan to continue growing.
23:20 We plan to continue helping more children.
23:23 And Jim, I know that this comes at a cost
23:25 but the long-term benefits far outweigh these costs.
23:29 Yeah, the unique thing about sponsorship,
23:32 there's an investment at the beginning,
23:34 but the donor stays with us for five, ten years.
23:39 Yeah, but it's also impacting on the child
23:42 for five to ten years.
23:44 So it's a great investment.
23:46 And when we talk about
23:48 impacting on the child for five or ten years,
23:50 that's the immediate impact
23:52 but the future impact is priceless.
23:56 Now tell me with all these sponsors,
23:58 how significant are the small, regular sponsors?
24:03 Well, no organization can survive
24:06 without the small donor.
24:08 We get very excited about large donations
24:12 but the secret is a large base of people
24:16 who give regularly.
24:17 So the five dollars a month, the ten dollars a month
24:20 is critical to our success.
24:22 And I'm so grateful for the people,
24:25 who don't have a great income,
24:27 who really support us regularly.
24:30 And the Lord will bless them.
24:32 And I will be so excited for the same,
24:34 for their contribution.
24:37 Jim, with the managing all of these children
24:41 and there must be a lag between
24:43 getting sponsors and having children.
24:45 So you must have some un-sponsored children.
24:48 How do the un-sponsored children work?
24:50 Well, Carl, at most times
24:52 we can have 2- 300 un-sponsored children,
24:55 because we obviously have to have
24:57 a pool of children available.
24:58 But also sometimes, sponsors fall out
25:01 and once a child enters our program,
25:03 Asian Aid continues to support them.
25:06 So the un-sponsored child fund is critical
25:10 to running an efficient sponsorship program.
25:14 Now the un-sponsored child fund is a unique way,
25:18 that someone who doesn't want to pay a monthly cost
25:21 or a monthly donation can make a one-off donation.
25:25 So one of the good ways
25:27 that a person can support a child
25:29 without the monthly commitment,
25:31 is to contribute to the un-sponsored child fund.
25:34 It's a big need for us but it's an important need.
25:38 And this fund actually guarantees
25:40 that the child can continue.
25:43 It guarantees that the children can continue in the program
25:46 and it gives us a pool of children
25:48 to ensure our growth.
25:50 And Jim, it sounds like Asian Aid,
25:53 it's a learning organization.
25:55 We learn from what's happened yesterday,
25:57 we do things today
25:59 and we create a future for tomorrow.
26:02 So tell us how would others get involved with Asian Aid?
26:07 Well, I think the best place to start
26:09 is the website which is AsianAid.org.
26:14 It's www.asianaid.org.
26:18 And there you can see the activity we're doing.
26:22 You can look up our phone number
26:24 and call us if you want to.
26:26 You can actually donate online?
26:28 You can sponsor a child online.
26:31 So that's the best way.
26:32 Or give us a call.
26:34 Or if you see us in an event,
26:35 come and ask us for some information.
26:38 We want to hear from new donors.
26:40 We want them to read about us and understand what we do.
26:44 So it's really easy to get involved?
26:46 Correct. Just call.
26:48 Talk to us. Yes.
26:50 So to all our sponsors, I'm sure you would say,
26:54 "Thank you for all your support."
26:56 Oh! Look, I'm just so grateful.
27:00 When we open the mail on a Monday morning
27:02 and I just see people,
27:03 who I know, don't have a big income
27:05 but they're giving something for these children.
27:08 And I'm just so impressed.
27:11 And it's so emotional sometimes,
27:14 when we see
27:15 what people are doing, to help our organization
27:19 but more importantly the hope for children
27:22 that we're educating or rescuing.
27:25 And I'm just so grateful to the donors
27:28 and the supporters of Asian Aid.
27:31 To all of you, who are watching
27:33 this special edition of Hope in Motion.
27:36 You can see that Asian Aid is making a difference.
27:40 They are committed to making a difference.
27:42 And this certainly can use you
27:44 and your commitment to further this cause.
27:48 I would encourage you to call Asian Aid
27:51 and give of your time and resources.
27:54 Because you can make a difference
27:57 in the lives of children, families and communities
28:02 and help create and guarantee,
28:06 tomorrow's generation can be filled with hope.