Hope In Motion


Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: HIM

Program Code: HIM000047A

00:01 In this episode of Hope in Motion,
00:02 during the height of religious tensions
00:04 between Hindus and Christians,
00:06 the girls' dean of the Immanuel Seventh-day Adventist School
00:09 ushers her students
00:10 into one room of the girls' dorm
00:12 while the sounds of banging and broken glass
00:14 fill the campus.
00:16 All the children knelt down in the rooms
00:18 and they started to pray.
00:20 Then those people came. They started from the gate.
00:24 They started to bang the windows.
00:26 They broke the windows.
00:28 Having the responsibility of over 800 students
00:30 on his shoulder,
00:32 Arun Ponda,
00:33 the school principal felt the edge of sword on his neck.
00:36 I just saw a man who was holding a sword
00:39 and he was breaking all glass
00:41 and I was so scared that I got back in my room
00:45 and didn't come out again.
00:47 And armed with gallons of diesel fuel and a match,
00:50 the attackers are set on burning
00:52 the school to the ground.
00:53 They took all the mattresses, and put fire,
00:56 and they burn the mattresses and blankets,
00:59 sewing machine and cupboards.
01:01 They pulled the gas stove and cylinder on the floor,
01:04 and they tried to light fire.
01:21 Asian Aid is an organization giving hope,
01:24 an organization fostering permanent
01:26 positive change in the lives of disadvantaged children
01:29 and their communities.
01:31 An organization that is committed
01:33 to making a difference in the lives of children
01:35 and those who are in need,
01:37 serving communities in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
01:41 Myanmar, and India.
01:51 For the last 40 years,
01:53 Asian Aid has invested in the futures of people
01:55 and their investment has proven infinite returns.
02:00 Driven by their dedication to helping those
02:02 who have the least,
02:04 Asian Aid is an organization
02:06 focused on the welfare of children,
02:08 implementing diverse development projects,
02:11 and sponsoring thousands of children.
02:14 Their outreach expands from child rescue operations
02:17 to providing an education for orphans, deaf,
02:20 and the blind children,
02:22 giving them a sense of place, a home,
02:25 but above all,
02:26 Asian Aid is an organization giving hope,
02:29 giving hope to children, giving hope to communities,
02:33 giving hope to the ones who needed the most.
02:37 This is Hope in Motion.
03:09 Nature has showered its bounty on the landscape of Jeypore
03:11 in the state of Orissa.
03:14 This land of abundance is home
03:16 to Orissa's vast tribal population.
03:33 Built specifically for the tribal children,
03:36 the Immanuel Seventh-day Adventist School
03:38 is an abode of peace.
03:40 It houses children from kindergarten
03:42 through 12th grade.
03:47 Built in 2005,
03:49 this school quickly gained a reputation
03:51 for being a well kept campus with high academics standards.
03:55 Going to Jeypore campus is so impressive.
03:58 It's in the middle of nowhere
03:59 but it's just this bright shining white campus
04:02 that stands out from the community,
04:04 and it's a success.
04:05 There are hundreds and hundreds of children boarding there,
04:08 studying each day.
04:10 They've got quite good academic standards.
04:13 They're fed well.
04:15 It's just something that,
04:16 you know, warms my heart when I go there to see.
04:19 But how does this school in a country often known
04:21 for its impoverish conditions
04:23 maintain such an impeccable campus?
04:26 Arun Ponda, the school principal
04:28 explains the secrets to their success.
04:31 Actually, I belong to this area,
04:35 this local area.
04:36 And since 75 years of existence
04:39 of the Adventist presence here,
04:43 literally, there were no Adventist schools.
04:47 And this area was the most backward area
04:51 where the primitive tribals live.
04:53 And they live just
04:55 how people live before 3,000, 4,000 years,
04:59 the same way.
05:01 And they lack education, and so I thought I'll do...
05:06 I'll work for the children of this area.
05:09 And then Mrs. Helen Eager was the one
05:12 who came forward
05:13 and started a school here for 50 children.
05:17 It just sort of amazes me when I think of,
05:20 you know, what we started from with absolutely nothing
05:24 to see what is there today is just...
05:26 It's just mind boggling, really.
05:30 In 2004, this school was a mere 50 students
05:33 gathering in a rundown building in the middle of nowhere.
05:36 Then in 2005, Garwin Mcneilus,
05:39 an American entrepreneur
05:41 with a tender spot for the students
05:42 in Jeypore funded a project
05:44 that quickly grew the campus to 200 students.
05:48 Asian Aid can't take the credit
05:49 for all the work that happens in India.
05:51 We rely highly on the schools that we work within.
05:53 Jeypore in particularly,
05:55 we've got some excellent administration.
05:57 We got Arun Ponda as the principal there,
05:59 and he just runs a really good ship.
06:01 He currently tie the ship with his wife
06:04 by his side helping him to lead the school.
06:07 It just creates a really good environment
06:08 where the school is leading the charge
06:11 for the children there.
06:13 And through Asian Aid,
06:14 we feel privileged to be able to support children
06:16 in the school environment like that.
06:18 This is the dining hall,
06:20 and the front potion is the kitchen.
06:24 And here, you can see the girls working.
06:29 This is part of their work program?
06:31 Yes, this is part of the work program.
06:33 They had classes in the morning
06:36 between 7:30 to 1:00.
06:39 And after that, they had the study hour,
06:41 and now they will help for about one and half hour
06:46 in the kitchen cutting vegetables.
06:48 Other girls, they clean up the hostels
06:51 and other buildings,
06:52 boys clean up the lawns
06:53 and they work in the garden and so on.
06:56 The big difference between the students here and elsewhere
06:59 is that these kids both go to school
07:01 and work on campus.
07:03 With the students personally invested in their school,
07:06 they take great pride in keeping their facilities
07:08 in pristine condition.
07:09 I think that one of the reasons
07:11 why Jeypore has become something so successful
07:15 and so wonderful is that...
07:18 Well, first of all, I think it's God's blessing
07:20 because a lot of,
07:21 you know, most of the children come from very humble,
07:24 you know, tribal villages that are...
07:26 Many of them are very, very primitive,
07:28 and a lot of people have helped
07:32 and donated and sponsored through the years.
07:35 And of course,
07:37 God has blessed us with really amazing,
07:39 you know, staff and teachers that have also been a blessing.
07:44 Nilima Ponda,
07:45 Principal Ponda's wife and a teacher explains
07:48 why she's so passionate about this school.
07:52 I too belong to this local area
07:54 and I am happy, very, very, happy
07:55 to serve my local children.
08:00 I feel this is a little heaven for me
08:03 where I'm peaceful
08:04 with all the children studying in the school
08:07 and with the staff.
08:10 Success reflects leadership.
08:12 The Immanuel Seventh-day Adventist School in Jeypore
08:15 is a shining light to hundreds of children today
08:17 because of dedicated people serving at the school,
08:20 people like Nilmani Dalpati.
08:23 Asian Aid had helped me to be what I'm today
08:28 and I come from very poor background
08:31 and Asian Aid helped me
08:34 and they requested me to come and help my local people
08:38 because I'm from this area.
08:40 So I decided instead of going to abroad,
08:43 I decided to come to my area and serve my people.
08:47 Nilmani was one of our sponsored girl.
08:49 She's an orphan girl
08:51 from one of the villages there in Orissa.
08:53 And we supported her through her education
08:57 and also through her nurses training
08:59 that she did
09:01 at the Adventist hospital in Surat.
09:03 Now, many of her classmates are in the UK
09:06 or other places earning a lot of money,
09:09 but she was determined
09:11 that she was going to work for the Lord and not for money,
09:14 and she has been there now for a number of years.
09:17 She is a really committed girl, and I love her a lot.
09:22 She is not just the dean of the girls,
09:25 she is the nurse.
09:27 So since we have 871 students,
09:30 we find so many children getting sick.
09:35 And when the children are here, they are not...
09:38 Most of them are not sick.
09:40 But when the children come home from vacation,
09:43 from their homes, at that time, the first one month,
09:47 there is lot of sickness
09:49 which they're bringing from their homes.
09:51 And she's the one who takes care of them.
09:56 Nilmani is now the beloved girls' dean
09:58 but like many of the staff,
10:00 she takes on many extra responsibilities
10:02 in order to keep the campus going.
10:04 When the children go to their villages,
10:06 they do not have drinking water facility,
10:10 and the environment not clean, so they drink water from river.
10:16 So when they come back,
10:18 they don't have good diet at their homes,
10:22 so when they come back to the school,
10:24 they have got some sickness, they bring it here,
10:28 and in the month of June, July, and August,
10:32 they suffer from sickness
10:33 because they had been to their homes.
10:37 I have heard that in other hostels,
10:39 they don't give nice foods and all,
10:41 but I like the food and all.
10:43 I'm healthy, I don't become sick much here.
10:46 Many of the children studying at the school come
10:48 from impoverish backgrounds.
10:50 At school, they not only receive
10:52 a quality education,
10:53 but it gives them an opportunity
10:55 to escape their life of poverty at home.
10:57 Through sponsorship with Asian Aid,
10:59 their every-day-reality
11:01 and their futures are transformed.
11:03 Presently,
11:05 we are 60 to 70%,
11:11 we are dependent on the sponsorship
11:15 because majority of these children are poor,
11:19 and they don't have any support.
11:24 Without the support of any sponsorship,
11:27 those children would not be here.
11:30 And the parents lack education, and most of them,
11:35 they earn a living, they do some labor work
11:39 but they spend it in drinking,
11:41 and they never take care of their children.
11:45 And so because of this sponsorship,
11:48 we have this number of students.
11:51 The current paying students help greatly
11:54 with the overall finances of the school.
11:56 But the school definitely could use
11:58 some more of these students to help support their needs.
12:01 With a student body of nearly 900,
12:03 the current facilities have exceeded
12:05 their maximum capacity.
12:07 They regularly turn away needed children
12:09 because there's simply no place to accommodate them.
12:12 Here we are in the girls' hostel,
12:15 and this is one of the room for the girls,
12:17 and we have three bunk beds.
12:20 In this room, 69 girls stay,
12:23 and there are two other rooms
12:25 where 129 stay in both the rooms.
12:30 And so total we have four rooms
12:32 for the girls and four dorms for the boys.
12:36 And presently, both the hostels are packed
12:41 but there's demand
12:42 for more students to join the hostel,
12:46 and because the hostels are full,
12:48 we have to say no to the new comers.
12:53 And so there is demand for more space
12:56 and for more rooms.
12:58 In fact, we need one more hostel.
13:03 The school is crowded
13:04 because it has attracted children
13:06 from many different districts in Orissa
13:07 as well as neighboring states.
13:10 Here, we have student coming all the way from Hyderabad
13:14 which is the neighboring state
13:16 that is about 1500 kilometers,
13:20 but he's here to study.
13:22 Despite the lack of space in the school's limitations,
13:25 Arun Ponda has found innovative ways
13:27 to move the school towards self sufficiency.
13:30 Here were are sitting in the tailoring room,
13:34 and here you can see all these boys and girls,
13:37 they are stitching the clothes and materials
13:41 which can be used by them.
13:43 Even the uniforms
13:44 that these girls and boys are wearing,
13:47 they themselves are stitching it,
13:50 and they are stitching for all the children
13:52 who are in the school.
13:55 This vocational training
13:58 was initiated by Mrs. Helen Eager,
14:01 and she had given just one sewing machine.
14:05 And with one machine, it was started.
14:08 I think, you know, if we could teach
14:10 our young people some practical skills,
14:13 I mean, I think everyone
14:14 should have some practical skills
14:16 even if they are highly educated,
14:17 because you don't know what can happen in the future,
14:21 and of course, they can share those skills
14:24 and what they have learned with others
14:26 who especially in the villages,
14:27 where others may not have
14:29 had the opportunity to get an education.
14:32 Our young people can share what they have learned
14:34 and any practical skills
14:36 they can also share with others.
14:39 And previously, we used to give
14:41 all the students uniform and clothes
14:44 to the outside tailors, and we are paying lot of money.
14:48 And now, after we started this training,
14:54 the girls are doing it by themselves
14:55 and so we are able to save the money for the school.
15:00 Taking a tour of the campus,
15:02 one can see the tranquility that prevails.
15:05 You never see a gum wrapper,
15:07 any paper that size on the campus.
15:10 Everywhere you look, it's flowers.
15:12 All the flowers along the wall are so beautiful,
15:15 everything about that campus is beautiful.
15:18 The local community feels that this is the best campus
15:22 that we have,
15:24 and no school has such a campus.
15:27 And there is peaceful atmosphere,
15:31 atmosphere to study, there is no disturbance.
15:35 And everyone feels
15:38 that their child should be educated here.
15:41 Due to its tranquil atmosphere for learning,
15:43 the success of the school resonated far and wide
15:46 until one day when their peace was disturbed,
15:49 and the school's very existence was brought into question.
15:54 On August 23, 2008,
16:00 Hindu priest was the leader
16:03 in the district of Kandhamal,
16:06 he was killed by the naxals at night.
16:10 Suddenly, the naxals came and they killed him
16:13 along with few others.
16:15 And then all the communal riots started
16:21 and all the Hindu people
16:23 thought it is Christians who killed the priest.
16:34 The naxals are a notorious communist militant group
16:37 with strongholds in the jungles in remote areas of Orissa.
16:40 In 2008, riots broke out across the state of Orissa
16:44 and Andhra Pradesh,
16:45 and tensions rose between the Hindus and Christians.
16:48 The communal riots spread all across the region
16:51 and soon reached Jeypore,
16:52 and the Immanuel Seventh-day Adventist School.
16:55 It was Sabbath afternoon,
16:57 and everyone was resting in their hostel.
17:00 And all of a sudden,
17:01 we could hear the sound outside the gate.
17:04 Some of my friends,
17:05 they started running here and there, here and there.
17:08 And we all, all the children knelt down in the rooms
17:11 and they started to pray.
17:13 The mob broke through the gates and the faculty and students
17:16 braced themselves for an attack.
17:28 A few years ago,
17:29 I had the privilege of visiting India
17:32 to see how the Asian Aid projects
17:34 are making a difference in that country,
17:36 how lives are being transformed,
17:38 lives of abandoned children, tribal children,
17:42 orphan children,
17:43 children that are being raised
17:45 without the advantages we have here in America.
17:47 And sometimes we take for granted.
17:49 And I discovered one very important thing,
17:51 because of sponsors like you,
17:53 these lives are being transformed,
17:54 the future is made brighter
17:57 because of your prayers and your financial support.
18:00 Because of what you do, they now have nutritious food,
18:03 clothing, and they are able now to propel themselves
18:06 with education to look to the future
18:09 with hope and courage.
18:11 And so on behalf of Asian Aid,
18:13 I want to thank you for all you do,
18:15 your sponsorship.
18:16 And now because of you, they have hope,
18:19 hope for brighter future.
18:35 I just got a letter
18:36 from our sponsor's daughter, Sheila.
18:38 And I've got to tell you,
18:39 there is nothing like getting one of these letters.
18:41 Our family is been able to sponsor her
18:44 through Asian Aid, and because of that,
18:46 she's got a great place to live,
18:47 she's got great meals, she's got great clothing.
18:50 And best of all, I found out,
18:52 she's now in college, she's in nursing school.
18:55 There is nothing like getting a letter like this.
18:58 You need to start getting these letters too.
18:59 Listen, through Asian Aid,
19:01 you can make a huge difference in the life of a child.
19:05 And I promise you,
19:07 it's gonna make a huge difference
19:09 in your life too.
19:28 It was Sabbath afternoon,
19:29 and everyone was resting in their hostel.
19:32 And all of a sudden,
19:33 we could hear the sound outside the gate,
19:36 and there was even noise,
19:39 breaking noise of the lock that was at the gate.
19:42 And all of a sudden,
19:43 we came to know that these people,
19:45 some unexpected group has come.
19:48 And suddenly, we saw all these people
19:50 breaking open the gate,
19:52 they broke open the gate, and the gate was wide open,
19:56 and all these people, they jumped in,
19:57 and they came about 60, around 60 people.
20:01 They entered inside,
20:03 and they started throwing stones
20:06 and breaking the doors and windows,
20:08 and they entered inside the campus.
20:10 They took all the mattresses, and put fire,
20:13 and they burn the mattresses and blankets,
20:16 sewing machine and cupboards.
20:18 They broke open the cupboards to find if anything is inside.
20:22 And so they damaged, they damaged it completely.
20:28 And then after that, they came to the staff house.
20:32 In the staff house,
20:33 there was 40 liters of diesel kept
20:36 for the generator.
20:38 And the family was inside in the kitchen,
20:42 and the people just came with the swords,
20:44 they pulled the gas stove and cylinder on the floor,
20:48 and they tried to light fire.
20:51 Meanwhile, on the other side of the campus,
20:53 chaos has erupted.
20:55 They first rushed towards the girls' hostel,
20:59 damaging all the buildings, windows that were on their way,
21:04 and the girls all were inside taking rest.
21:08 And after hearing the noise,
21:09 they all started to scream and shout.
21:12 And the dean
21:13 who is living adjacent to the hostel, she came out.
21:17 And she could see all the breakings,
21:19 and all the children, they were filled with fear,
21:22 and they started crying, literally crying.
21:26 I just saw a man who was holding a sword
21:28 and he was breaking all glass,
21:31 and I was so scared
21:33 that I got back in my room and didn't come out again.
21:38 And that time, there was no shutter also.
21:40 So we are so scared, only glass doors.
21:41 So we were thinking that they might get in.
21:44 So we were so frightened.
21:46 And at that time, our dean, she gave us some chilli powder,
21:49 so she told us to throw on them.
21:52 But we were so scared, we didn't do that.
21:56 And they were coming
21:57 and they were just hitting the glasses.
21:59 We were so scared they'll get inside.
22:01 Small kids were there.
22:02 They were crying and all in the rooms.
22:04 And we all, all the children knelt down in the rooms
22:07 and they started to pray.
22:09 Then those people came, started from the gate.
22:13 They started to bang the windows.
22:16 They broke the windows, everything they came.
22:19 Some of my friends,
22:20 they started running here and there, here and there.
22:23 All the boys and girls...
22:25 All the girls started to cry
22:27 when the glass of girls' hostel was broken.
22:30 They were attacking the principal, sirs,
22:33 and all the staff.
22:35 Mostly, the staff, they were attacking.
22:38 And so I went, and I just pleaded,
22:40 "Please don't damage all these things.
22:42 Why are you doing this? We didn't harm anybody."
22:45 And they thought
22:46 that I'm trying to do something.
22:48 And then, other people came
22:50 and two of them were keeping the sword on my neck.
22:54 And then suddenly,
22:55 one known person also was in the group,
22:57 a known businessman.
22:59 So he saw me and recognized me,
23:02 and he said, "Don't do anything to him."
23:05 And then those people left and went away.
23:09 They would have done anything to him at that moment,
23:11 but it was only God's angels that were there.
23:14 Perhaps the most inexplicable moment
23:16 of the day came
23:17 when the intruders attempted to burn the staff quarters.
23:21 After pouring 40 liters of gasoline on the floor
23:23 and around propane tanks in the kitchen
23:25 of the staff quarters, the intruders lit a match.
23:29 The whole house would be burnt within minutes,
23:32 whole house along with the family,
23:34 and the house would also been...
23:35 I mean, a big blast would have taken place.
23:38 So they tried to burn with the matches,
23:41 it did not burn.
23:42 Then they tried with lighter, it did not burn.
23:44 And so they left and went.
23:47 But just remember,
23:49 the whole room is full of fuel and gas cylinder and gas stove.
23:53 But it was God who protected the lives.
23:57 In the days to follow,
23:59 fear engulfed the peaceful campus,
24:01 and both the staff and children
24:02 were haunted by the memory of the attack.
24:05 At night, at evening, all the girls started fearing,
24:10 and the boys hostel was little bit safe.
24:13 So all the girls were transferred
24:15 to our rooms.
24:17 We feel we are staying like brothers and sisters.
24:20 We didn't have food also that time.
24:24 We were not able to cook for two days.
24:26 We are eating flat rice for two days.
24:30 It really took them a long time to remove the fear
24:34 from their mind
24:36 because they had themselves eye-witnessed
24:38 how the incident took place.
24:40 And after the shutters were installed,
24:43 they felt that still anybody comes
24:44 like that directly,
24:46 we won't be exposed because shutters are there,
24:50 that security they felt.
24:55 It was like...
24:58 When you know that you're going to die,
25:01 what you will feel?
25:02 The situation was such.
25:04 I mean, we lost complete hope, we thought that anytime,
25:10 anything can happen to us.
25:12 It was the most difficult
25:17 and like a dangerous situation that I faced in my life.
25:21 Concerned parents would remove their children from the school.
25:25 Helen Eager made an emergency visit shortly
25:27 after the incident occurred.
25:29 She was shocked to discover the students refused to go
25:32 with their parents.
25:33 Parents came there and said to their children,
25:35 you know, "We've come to take you home,"
25:37 and they said,
25:38 "No, we won't go
25:39 because we know that God protected us
25:41 and that God will be with us here on this compound."
25:43 And I thought that was really special testimony.
25:47 But now, everything is cooled down,
25:49 and everything is normal.
25:51 And I think, sometimes,
25:53 God allows certain things to happen for good.
25:57 And after that took place,
25:59 the town is now more peaceful and people are more friendly.
26:08 Peace had returned to Jeypore
26:10 and Immanuel Seventh-day Adventist School.
26:13 Arun Ponda and his dedicated faculty continued
26:15 to lead the school down the path of success.
26:19 More and more children stream into the campus
26:21 each passing day.
26:22 And today, there's a break in their tranquility,
26:26 because today is a time for celebration.


Revised 2018-02-07