Hope In Motion

Helping Hands

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Narrator: Jean Boonstra


Series Code: HIM

Program Code: HIM000049A

00:04 A little over a year ago,
00:05 when my husband Shawn and I
00:07 decided to sponsor a child through Asian Aid,
00:10 I never would have imagined
00:11 that I would end up meeting our sponsored child in India.
00:15 I'm thinking I want to become nurse.
00:18 It was an experience made more incredible and exciting
00:22 because this was also our daughter's
00:24 first trip outside of North America.
00:27 Well, I was super excited about coming.
00:29 I mean, I knew it would be a life-changing experience,
00:31 and it has been so far.
00:33 Together, we discovered a land full of color and contrast.
00:37 We met Sheila, our sponsored daughter,
00:39 rode on a school bus with her, and in doing all this,
00:43 I came across people who put their lives in danger
00:46 to rescue girls in peril.
00:49 The risk is huge.
00:50 I've always known that there is a risk in this
00:52 of being involved.
00:54 But I think...
00:55 I don't think we can sit quiet about it either.
00:58 And witness the wondrous work being carried out in the slums.
01:03 We experienced firsthand
01:05 the transformation Asian Aid is making
01:07 in the lives of thousands of children across India.
01:25 Asian Aid is an organization giving hope,
01:28 an organization fostering permanent positive change
01:31 in the lives of disadvantaged children
01:33 and their communities.
01:35 An organization that is committed
01:37 to making a difference in the lives of children
01:39 and those who are in need,
01:41 serving communities in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
01:45 Myanmar, and India.
01:55 For the last 40 years,
01:57 Asian Aid has invested in the futures of people
01:59 and their investment has proven infinite returns.
02:04 Driven by their dedication to helping those
02:06 who have the least,
02:08 Asian Aid is an organization
02:10 focused on the welfare of children,
02:12 implementing diverse development projects,
02:15 and sponsoring thousands of children.
02:17 Their outreach spans from child rescue operations,
02:21 to providing an education for orphans,
02:23 deaf and the blind children.
02:26 Giving them a sense of place, a home,
02:29 but above all,
02:30 Asian Aid is an organization giving hope,
02:33 giving hope to children, giving hope to communities,
02:37 giving hope to the ones who needed the most.
02:41 This is Hope in Motion.
03:11 We arrive at Bangalore, India,
03:13 late at night on the 2nd of July.
03:17 A day's rest and some shopping did us good
03:19 and rejuvenates us for the long trip ahead.
03:23 We are ready for our Indian adventure.
03:27 Has this city always been busy like this?
03:30 No, this city has changed.
03:32 I've lived in this city now for 17 years.
03:35 And the last 10 years, I would say,
03:38 the city has really changed.
03:39 I think there's been an influx of people.
03:42 This city is the IT hub of India.
03:45 And I think in the last 10 years,
03:48 every major multinational
03:51 has moved an office to Bangalore.
03:53 The following day, we meet with Anita at Oasis.
03:57 Now Oasis's office is tucked behind a gate
04:00 with only a small, nondescript sign
04:02 indicating its presence.
04:04 We slip upstairs and meet Anita and her team,
04:07 a group of about 10 people.
04:13 Oasis is a rescue operation,
04:15 rescuing girls from human trafficking.
04:18 Young girls are trafficked, confined, and raped,
04:21 then forced into the prostitution trade.
04:24 Jim and I meet Anita in her office.
04:27 She tells us that corruption and lack of manpower
04:30 in the enforcement agencies
04:32 has made this a rampant problem in big cities like Bangalore.
04:37 It is a huge problem in India.
04:39 I think the US puts the figures at about 100 million,
04:42 but the actual figures will be much, much higher
04:45 because these figures are from about four years ago.
04:50 I think the people on the ground
04:52 see for themselves
04:54 the number of people being rescued.
04:55 So in this last six months, we've had 42 girls
04:59 from Bangladesh alone rescued in one district in Bangalore.
05:04 So you can imagine the numbers
05:07 that are coming in from Bangladesh, from Nepal.
05:09 But the numbers trafficked within India are huge as well.
05:13 The primary motive at Oasis
05:15 is to rescue these trafficked girls,
05:18 but it's not as easy as it sounds.
05:21 There is a lot of planning, networking,
05:23 and in almost all cases,
05:25 this involves undercover operations.
05:35 The risk is huge and the situation is delicate
05:38 and complicated.
05:40 Anita and her team have been threatened physically.
05:43 There're tremendous sums of money involved.
05:46 The risk is huge.
05:47 I've always known that there is a risk in this
05:50 of being involved.
05:51 But I think...
05:53 I don't think we can sit quiet about it either
05:55 being an Indian woman myself.
05:57 And having seen what happens and having seen the fact that
06:01 people do not want to get involved
06:03 in really high risk things.
06:07 When the girls are rescued,
06:08 it does not necessarily mean freedom.
06:11 They face a lot of emotional and physical challenges.
06:15 They are, understandably, afraid and ashamed.
06:19 They're cut off from any support from family.
06:22 The physical abuse these girls undergo
06:25 during captivity is appalling.
06:28 I think if I have to speak
06:30 about the worst kind of cases I've seen,
06:33 I saw a 2.5-year-old girl
06:35 who had been slashed many times around her waist
06:40 and her bottom
06:42 and had been burnt with cigarette butts.
06:45 All around...
06:47 Yeah, all around her private parts.
06:49 I think that was one of the worst...
06:51 The level of abuse sometimes is just huge and horrid.
06:55 When they're first brought in, and they're broken,
06:58 you know, the will to do this is broken.
07:01 They're abused very, very badly by the pimps.
07:04 And so, during that time they're chained,
07:06 they're beaten, they're starved,
07:08 and physically very badly abused.
07:15 Asian Aid, with its Operation Child Rescue program
07:18 has joined hands with Oasis,
07:21 supporting them with funds
07:22 necessary to facilitate this rescue effort
07:25 and the crucial rehabilitation for the children.
07:29 Sitting and talking to Anita, I'm made aware of the huge risk
07:33 that she is taking
07:35 and the dedication and courage she has
07:37 to undertake this dangerous mission.
07:40 I think if I wasn't doing this
07:42 and if I wasn't being involved in this,
07:47 I don't think my heart would be silent on this.
07:50 Yeah, I think I choose to have the courage to do this.
07:55 Anita's motives are purely Christian.
07:58 She knows that the only hope for these girls
08:00 to recover from the abuse they've suffered
08:03 is the hope that Christ can give.
08:06 Oasis doesn't have its own rehab home
08:08 and currently, relies on government facilities.
08:11 Anita's goal is to have a home of their own.
08:15 Sadly, many of the girls rescued
08:17 cannot overcome the pain or the shame.
08:20 Some return to the lifestyle willingly
08:23 and rehabilitation is a crucial step.
08:27 Coming out of the meeting with Anita,
08:29 I am full of hope and encouragement
08:31 for what she and her team are doing,
08:34 at the same time, my heart is troubled
08:37 as I try to comprehend
08:38 the problems faced by innocent young girls in India.
08:42 This is not the sort of beginning I had in mind
08:45 when I first set out for India.
08:53 On the plane ride from Bangalore to Vishakhapatnam
08:56 on the east coast of the Indian peninsula,
08:59 I have enough time to reflect on my meeting with Anita.
09:03 I wonder what we'll experience on the rest of our journey.
09:07 Slowly, the unsettled feeling fades,
09:09 and I focus on the exciting next step.
09:21 Vishakhapatnam, or Vizag as it's commonly known,
09:24 is hot and humid.
09:26 From the airport, we are driven straight to a slum settlement
09:30 in the center of the city.
09:32 Just walking through its narrow alley
09:34 is an experience in itself.
09:37 We're guided to a freshly painted building.
09:40 It's an Adventist school in the heart of the slum.
09:43 This was unexpected.
09:45 We are introduced to Naomi, the school principal,
09:48 and we get to meet the kids in her classrooms.
10:02 Gathered on the rooftop, the pleasant breeze
10:05 is a welcome relief.
10:10 We're here in Vizag,
10:11 and we've just visited slum school
10:14 that's been recently renovated.
10:16 They've done a lot of renovations
10:18 particularly up here
10:19 where we're gathered with the children
10:21 here on the roof.
10:22 This is an amazing experience to see the area
10:26 that these kids live in that surrounds the school here.
10:29 It's been great to be here.
10:31 We get to come back in a few days.
10:32 We're going to have the dedication
10:33 for this newly renovated slum school.
10:40 After spending a couple of hours
10:42 at the slum school, we head out to Bobbili.
10:55 Arriving at the Asian Aid School
10:57 for the Blind in Bobbili, we receive a warm welcome.
11:02 Boys and girls on each side of the entrance way
11:04 greet us with flowers and handshakes.
11:07 I am surprised by how many more boys there are than girls.
11:11 There are about 50 girls and 120 boys
11:15 that live here at the school.
11:17 Later, Pastor Paulson, the school principal,
11:19 takes us on the tour of the campus.
11:22 It's amazing to see
11:23 how the blind children are taught
11:26 and how they learn
11:27 with their specialized equipment.
11:29 The Blind School will be our home
11:31 for the rest of our stay in India.
11:34 So we're staying here at the Asian Aid School
11:36 for the Blind in Bobbili, and it's absolutely beautiful.
11:39 Everything's green this time of year,
11:41 the flowers are blooming,
11:43 we even got to eat some guava,
11:45 and even more beautiful are the students staying here.
11:48 We had the privilege this morning
11:50 of going through the school,
11:52 Pastor Paulson showed Natalie and Naomi around,
11:54 and the beautiful wide, open hallways
11:57 where the students can easily maneuver their way around.
12:00 We got to see where they live.
12:02 It was an incredible privilege to see the kids
12:05 doing their math using writing Braille,
12:08 using the Braille computers.
12:10 It was amazing.
12:12 And we're so thankful to be able to be here.
12:14 We're really close to where Sunrise Home is
12:16 and where Sheila lives.
12:18 And we're looking forward to getting to meet her soon,
12:20 and just incredibly blessed to be able to see
12:24 and stay at these amazing facilities
12:27 here at the Blind School.
12:36 On Sabbath morning, we attend church in Bobbili.
12:39 This is Sheila's church.
12:40 It's nice to see children form Sunrise Home there
12:44 and taking part in the Sabbath school program.
12:47 The girls and I greet Sheila warmly.
12:50 We can't talk much on this day,
12:52 but it's an incredible experience
12:54 to worship in Sheila's church with her.
12:57 I'm overwhelmed with emotion.
13:00 Change is possible.
13:17 In the afternoon, we visit the village of Karada.
13:21 The village is not far from Sunrise Home,
13:23 and on the edge of town,
13:25 there is a church built a few years ago
13:27 by Maranatha.
13:33 Well, I'm here in the village of Karada
13:35 which is real close to the new Sunrise Home
13:38 that we are just completing.
13:40 The exciting thing about this village is
13:43 that the children and staff from the Sunrise Home
13:45 become involved with this village
13:48 both in Sabbath school and church
13:50 and a church nearby that hasn't had any leadership
13:54 and also with community work with health training.
13:58 The great news is that the investment
14:00 that many donors made in the Sunrise
14:02 is now paying off in the wider community,
14:06 and we're real proud of that at Asian Aid.
14:10 And the next day, we go to Sunrise Home
14:12 to spend the day with Sheila, our sponsored daughter,
14:15 and to have some dedicated time with her.
14:18 This is the day we've been waiting so long for,
14:21 and we are excited.
14:23 We have so many questions about her day-to-day life,
14:26 and we can't wait to spend time at Sunrise Home.
14:41 Reaching Sunrise, we are greeted by Lalitha,
14:44 the director, and all the kids.
14:47 The girls all wear beautiful matching saris.
14:50 We enjoy a quick tour of the facility.
14:53 It's a very hot day.
14:55 And so, soon, all the kids go inside to rest and cool off.
14:59 And Natalie and Naomi are invited along,
15:01 and they gladly joined them.
15:03 This gives me an opportunity to talk with Lalitha.
15:08 So what was the old home like?
15:10 I mean, this is beautiful, you've got a lot of open space,
15:12 what was your old home like?
15:14 Old home is like congested.
15:17 Children eating in same place, drinking, eating, sleeping,
15:21 watching TV, prayer...
15:23 In the same room,
15:25 they used to conduct everything there only,
15:27 but after we came here,
15:29 children, they have a special prayer room,
15:31 they have special rooms to sleep,
15:34 and they have a special dining hall to eat.
15:37 So they have big playground,
15:40 and they are enjoying the facilities what we have.
15:43 Well, our sponsored daughter, Sheila,
15:45 we're so happy to meet here.
15:47 She is such a sweet, beautiful girl.
15:49 And my husband is so sad
15:51 he wasn't able to come and meet her.
15:53 But my daughters and I have loved meeting her.
15:56 We've written to her a few times,
15:57 and we've gotten to know her here,
15:59 but we don't know really a lot of her story.
16:02 Can you tell me a little bit about
16:03 how she ended up here?
16:05 Do you remember how it was when she arrived?
16:07 Yeah, I want to show her photo when she came here.
16:11 She was 9 years old, like 10 years old.
16:14 And she is having big stomach
16:17 and small, thin legs.
16:22 Was she malnourished?
16:23 Is that why... Malnutrition.
16:25 Because she didn't have enough of food.
16:26 That's sad.
16:27 So after they came here, they will have a lot to eat.
16:31 So we will provide them whatever they want.
16:33 So she don't have mother, mother died.
16:37 Father was there,
16:39 and father again married another woman.
16:42 Oh, I see.
16:43 So stepmother, she won't take care of her.
16:45 She didn't take care of Sheila.
16:46 Oh, that breaks my heart.
16:48 So at that time, she came here.
16:50 Father himself...
16:51 And one of the pastors, they recommended here,
16:55 so she was brought here.
16:58 Aw, this is Sheila's file?
17:00 Yeah, this is Sheila when she came to Sunrise Home.
17:03 Oh, wow!
17:04 Here, you can see her small, very thin hands.
17:08 Oh, she looks like a different person.
17:10 Yeah.
17:11 This is the dress, when she came here,
17:13 I have bought for her.
17:14 You got a special dress for her?
17:16 Yeah, special dress, then this is the uniform.
17:17 Aw, 1990.
17:19 And you can see here... Aw, beautiful.
17:21 Yeah.
17:24 Yeah, she's changed a lot definitely.
17:26 Yeah, a lot. Yes, yes.
17:29 Sheila does look different from the first time
17:32 she was brought to Sunrise.
17:34 There is a kind of contentment that radiates from her face
17:37 when I talk to her.
17:39 I am so glad that my daughters and I could come and spend
17:42 a little bit of time with you and see where you live.
17:45 This is a beautiful room that you're in.
17:47 Do you like it here at Sunrise Home?
17:49 Yes.
17:50 You're happy? Yeah.
17:52 Great.
17:53 You seem very happy.
17:55 Your mommy seems very kind to you
17:57 and all of the children.
17:58 Yes, she is very kind.
18:00 Very good, very nice.
18:02 So you're studying in which standard now,
18:04 which grade?
18:05 Ninth grade.
18:07 What is your subject to study at school?
18:10 Biology.
18:12 Biology, okay.
18:13 And have you thought yet about
18:15 what you'd like to do in the future?
18:18 I'm thinking I want to become nurse.
18:20 Oh, I can see, you did.
18:22 Well, do you remember when you were young
18:24 and you first came to Sunrise Home?
18:26 Do you remember that very much?
18:29 I remember a little only.
18:31 Only a little bit.
18:32 Do you feel like your life is very different here
18:35 than it would have been if you hadn't come
18:36 to Sunrise home?
18:38 Yeah, it's very different.
18:41 Well, I'm glad.
18:43 I'm so pleased to spend time with you.
18:45 I'm so blessed to be with you.
18:47 I too.
18:49 Well, it's an incredible privilege
18:51 to be here with Sheila.
18:53 It's just a dream come true to meet her.
18:55 You know, it's one thing to see a picture but to see her,
18:58 see her smiling face,
18:59 how happy she is with all her sisters
19:01 and brothers here.
19:03 And just the spiritual level in this home
19:06 is just incredible.
19:07 And I'm so fortunate to be here
19:09 and to see what a difference sponsorship can make.
19:13 Indeed, sponsorship is making a difference.
19:17 The more time I spend with Sheila
19:19 and the more time I get to see
19:20 what's being done at Sunrise,
19:22 I'm glad that I have this association with it,
19:25 and that Sheila is an important part of our lives.
19:30 It's incredible to have my daughters
19:32 with me here at Sunrise Home.
19:34 They've been able to play with Sheila,
19:36 get to visit with her,
19:38 and just spend some time with other kids
19:40 doing what kids do.
19:42 I can't tell you
19:43 what a meaningful experience this is for them.
19:46 I'm so thankful that I've been able to have them here
19:49 and to have them share in this experience.
19:52 Well, I was super excited about coming.
19:54 I mean, I knew it would be a life-changing experience
19:57 and it has been so far.
19:58 It's a beautiful country, and I mean,
20:00 there are very poor areas, but it's just...
20:05 The people here, they do feel privileged
20:08 when they even get the smallest thing,
20:10 and I think we just need to really keep that in our heads
20:14 as we go through life.
20:28 Wow!
20:30 It's beautiful up here.
20:31 We're on the top of the water tower
20:33 looking down on Sunrise Home.
20:35 You can see the world,
20:37 beautiful green fields all around us.
20:39 The rainy season has just passed,
20:41 so it's gorgeous and green.
20:43 And from up here, it's wonderful,
20:45 you can see the almost brand new Sunrise campus,
20:47 it was just dedicated this fall.
20:49 I can see the bus, the staff quarters,
20:53 the boys' and girls' dorm, and the new girls' dorm
20:56 that they're building.
20:57 The kids are very excited about that.
20:59 It's been an amazing experiencing being here.
21:01 There are ducks, there are wild turkeys,
21:04 the kids are so happy,
21:05 the kids are just so happy here.
21:08 And they love to play in this field.
21:10 They even have the river to go cool off in
21:13 and splash in on a hot day.
21:15 It's just an incredible experience to be here.
21:18 I am so blessed and so overwhelmed by it.
21:53 Well, it's Monday morning,
21:54 and we are on the Sunrise Home school bus,
21:57 and we are riding with Sheila and the other kids
21:59 to their school this morning.
22:02 I can tell you, you are never too old
22:04 to ride a school bus, and this is fun.
22:32 Well, this is Sheila's classroom,
22:34 she's going to be studying here today.
22:36 I talked to her on the school bus.
22:37 She has all subjects today.
22:39 Her favorite subject is biology.
22:41 She's studying physics, mathematics,
22:44 I can't tell you how that makes me feel
22:46 to see her here in her classroom
22:49 and to know that she's getting a good education.
22:52 She's getting an Adventist education.
22:54 She's being well-prepared
22:56 to go forward into high school, college.
22:59 She wants to be a nurse, and I can see here
23:01 that she's getting the preparation
23:05 that she needs to do that.
23:07 I can't tell you what a difference
23:08 that makes for me to see
23:11 that she's able to receive that through sponsorship.
23:20 While Sheila is at school,
23:22 I want to visit a nearby village
23:24 to see how life is for people there.
23:26 Raj Varma, Asian Aid field officer,
23:29 takes us to a village a few minutes drive
23:31 from Sunrise Home.
23:33 There we meet a Christian woman, Pentamma,
23:35 a gregarious, grey-haired woman.
23:38 She must be in her early 70s
23:41 and yet she tells me that she still works in the fields.
23:44 If you have had the chance as a girl to go to school,
23:47 would you have like that?
24:03 So I didn't have any opportunities in those days.
24:05 My mother didn't send me to school.
24:08 And in those days, there was no school in here.
24:10 So my mother used to take me to the field work, farm work.
24:13 To field work as a young girl. Okay.
24:15 Meeting Pentamma at her home,
24:17 I'm thankful for the opportunity Sheila has.
24:21 What would have happened to her if she was left in her village?
24:25 Would she be working in the fields, illiterate,
24:27 and with no hope?
24:29 I dare not imagine the scenario.
24:36 I have traveled to India with my husband Shawn
24:39 before in 2006,
24:41 but this trip with Asian Aid has opened my eyes
24:44 in a brand new way.
24:46 I am touched by what Asian Aid is doing,
24:49 and the need of the happy, beautiful children
24:52 moves me deeply.
24:54 My daughters feel it too.
24:56 And for that, I feel very thankful.
24:59 In the evening, we drive back to Vizag.
25:02 It is hard to leave.
25:04 It has been a life-changing week
25:05 for my daughters and me.
25:08 In Vizag, the next morning, we returned to the slum school
25:11 for its dedication ceremony.
25:14 Colorful banners are hanging and it's a high day.
25:17 Principal Naomi greets us, and we enjoy seeing
25:20 the now familiar faces of the kids.
25:23 At the dedication, we meet Ramini,
25:26 she lives just down the narrow alley way,
25:28 a little ways from the school.
25:30 And she attended this slum school as a child.
25:34 Now she's in a boarding school in Rajahmundry,
25:36 and she plans to be a physician.
25:39 I like this school very much.
25:41 This school is like my mother.
25:43 This school teach me everything.
25:45 Teachers also helped me so much.
25:48 Sponsors and donors also helped me so much to learn.
25:51 Because of their grace, I'm studying now.
25:54 Really, I would like to thank them.
25:55 I don't who they are also.
25:57 I doesn't see their face also.
26:00 It is an emotional experience to see the wondrous work
26:03 that's being carried out in the slums.
26:06 We see the change that has brought about in the community
26:09 and experience firsthand
26:11 the transformation Asian Aid is making
26:13 in the lives of thousands of children across India.
26:17 So not too long ago,
26:19 Shawn and I and our girls got involved with Asian Aid,
26:22 and it's been just over a year now
26:24 that we've had Sheila as our sponsored daughter.
26:27 I couldn't have ever imagined when we started that process
26:30 that we would end up here in India
26:32 actually getting to meet Sheila
26:34 and spend time with her, see where she lives,
26:37 meet the kids she lives with and shares her life with.
26:41 What an incredible experience it's been.
26:43 It's been an incredible privilege to be here,
26:46 I'm just so honored to be part of Asian Aid
26:49 and what they're doing,
26:50 and I don't think this would be our last trip to India.


Revised 2018-05-02