Participants: Carl Ginger (Host), Jim Rennie
Series Code: HIM
Program Code: HIM000051A
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
00:33 to 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, Myanmar,
00:43 and India.
00:51 For the last 40 years, Asian Aid has invested
00:55 in the futures of people, and their investment
00:57 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, deaf,
01:21 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,
01:34 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.
02:00 Asian Aid started about 40 years ago, with a vision.
02:05 And in that time it's grown from a thought, a vision,
02:09 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. Good morning, Carl.
02:25 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? 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
03:03 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 we are involved
03:16 in over five orphanages, a school for the blind,
03:19 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, because we are involved
03:30 in the rescue of young girls
03:33 from the sex trade and also children
03:36 from hard labor situations and beggary.
03:40 So Asian Aid is very child focused,
03:43 but it's involved
03:44 in a wide range of child focused activity.
03:50 Well, Jim, you mentioned that Asian Aid is primarily
03:53 about children and child sponsorship.
03:55 Can you give us a bit more information
03:57 on sponsorship?
03:59 Whether there are different categories
04:00 for the sponsorship and how it works, please.
04:03 Yes, Carl, well there's a number of levels
04:05 of sponsorship.
04:06 The first one is a Day Student. But let me just go back a step.
04:10 Asian Aid basically takes children
04:12 based on need 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 their local village to the school
04:26 and so that supplied an education.
04:29 Then we have the smaller category
04:31 called Day Plus, where it's the Day Student
04:33 and we provide them the mid-day meal.
04:36 Our biggest category is Boarder.
04:39 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, they get their meal,
04:47 they get accommodation,
04:49 they get a uniform and a book allowance.
04:52 And then, of course, above that is tertiary,
04:55 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 that
05:07 when a child is accepted,
05:09 whether they have a sponsor or not,
05:11 they stay in the education program.
05:16 We always have a pool of un-sponsored 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 the child writes them
05:40 two or three letters a year.
05:42 Now with the sponsorship, with these various categories
05:48 especially the Boarders,
05:50 how do we select them?
05:53 Well, the children are selected on need.
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, community workers
06:07 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,
06:24 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? What are the challenges?
06:41 And how do we manage that?
06:44 Well, our biggest orphanage is one that Asian Aid USA built
06:49 in recent years, it's called Sunrise Home.
06:52 And it's in a beautiful location
06:54 in the country,
06:56 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 nearby.
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
07:16 is obviously finding the right staff.
07:20 I mean it's hard enough bringing up
07:22 two, one two or three kids of your own.
07:25 Could you imagine having to bring up 70 to 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,
07:43 can manage a large number of children,
07:46 but most of important give them a Christian influence
07:50 in their lives is our biggest challenge.
07:55 I think the second challenge
07:57 is obviously meeting the legal requirements
08:00 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.
08:23 Now with all of these children, you mentioned before
08:25 that we have sponsors.
08:28 What makes a sponsor want to be involved?
08:32 And how do they actually get the joy
08:34 and the pleasure 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 dependent 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 you can write to the child.
09:09 You get their annual school report.
09:11 "Oh! 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
09:23 is that the sponsors 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, often,
09:36 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 and now have left 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.
10:20 Now, 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 heart 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 it had achieved.
11:04 And every time I visit that school, Jim,
11:06 I just see 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.
11:15 That's right. It's a delight.
11:17 Then as you get nearer to Bobbili,
11:20 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.
11:30 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.
11:44 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 in the basement
12:09 of the house for three years
12:11 because they didn't want...
12:13 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,
12:22 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 that their child
12:38 came to get education, and now we see them at 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, 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 Adventists.
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 Eighty percent of these children
13:36 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 take the Christianity
13:48 back to their homes.
13:50 So it's one of the most amazing outreach programs
13:54 that you are a part of,
13:56 when you are involved in sponsorship.
13:59 Thanks, Jim.
14:01 Now, apart from all of these things that we do,
14:03 sponsorship programs, community development programs.
14:06 There are other issues that are emerging as well.
14:08 You mentioned trafficking of children into sex slavery
14:14 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
14:29 and we will talk to Jim more about how Asian Aid
14:32 is participating in these new programs and projects
14:36 and how they are making a difference
14:39 in the lives of children, adults, families
14:43 and communities.
14:54 I just got a letter
14:55 from our sponsored daughter, Sheila.
14:56 And I've got to tell you,
14:58 there is nothing like getting one of these letters.
15:00 Our family has been able to sponsor her
15:02 through Asian Aid, and because of that
15:04 she's got a great place to live,
15:06 she's got great meal, she's got great clothing,
15:09 and best of all, I found out she is now in college,
15:12 she is in nursing school.
15:14 There is nothing like getting a letter like this.
15:16 You need to start getting these letters too.
15:18 Listen, through Asian Aid, you can make a huge difference
15:22 in the life of a child, and I promise you,
15:25 it's going to make a huge difference
15:27 in your life too.
15:42 The first time that I visited India,
15:44 which is now around 35 years ago,
15:46 there were two things that especially impressed me.
15:49 One was the numbers of children
15:51 who were suffering
15:52 without enough food, and clothing,
15:54 and no proper housing or parents to care for them.
15:59 And the other thing was the amazing potential
16:02 in those children to do something special
16:04 with their lives,
16:05 and also to do something for God.
16:08 The thing that was really needed
16:10 and is needed now is sponsors like you.
16:14 And to realize what a huge difference
16:17 you can make in the life of a child every day
16:20 through sponsorship.
16:35 Welcome back.
16:37 I'm in conversation with Jim Rennie,
16:39 the CEO of Asian Aid USA.
16:41 Jim, the majority of our work is in India.
16:45 But we also work in other countries
16:46 like Sri Lanka.
16:48 Could you give us an understanding
16:49 of what we do and where?
16:51 Yes, Carl.
16:52 Well, in Sri Lanka, our main activity there
16:56 is with Lakpahana College
16:57 and we have about 50 sponsored children there.
17:00 In Bangladesh, we have 300 children
17:04 and a number of Adventist schools.
17:07 We're shortly to enter Myanmar.
17:10 And in Nepal, we have about 150 children
17:14 in numerous Adventist colleges.
17:17 Now there are special issues in Nepal and, it's like,
17:23 child trafficking is a big issue there.
17:27 And do we have programs to address this?
17:30 Where are we starting to address this sort of issue?
17:32 Well, we've made a decision with our program
17:35 called Operation Child Rescue
17:38 that we want to get involved in this area,
17:40 especially be targeting children.
17:43 So in Bangalore, we have partnered
17:45 with an organization.
17:46 And we're directly involved in rescues.
17:49 The main activity is rescuing girls
17:52 from the sex trade.
17:53 So we're involved directly in rescues.
17:56 They go and take these girls from the brothels
18:00 and do their best to rehabilitate them.
18:03 Now that sounds to me like a risky business?
18:05 It is. It is.
18:07 The team are constantly exploring,
18:09 exposed to danger
18:11 and there is obviously corruption at all levels.
18:14 And our team have to take very special precautions
18:18 in the work that they do.
18:20 And then also in Bangalore, we're working closely
18:24 with the trust that actually rescues babies.
18:27 These are babies that are rejected by society.
18:30 They're left on the side of the road.
18:33 And so the police and social services
18:35 bring those babies to the rescue center.
18:39 And, Carl, it's so heartbreaking
18:42 to see these children that have been rejected
18:44 by society but it's just so exciting to see
18:49 that these children have been saved from death.
18:55 And Operation Child Rescue
18:57 was an important part of Asian Aid's growing program.
19:02 So Asian Aid has an influence on children from babies,
19:07 you know, right through to adults.
19:10 Asian Aid is a very unique ministry
19:12 that we're very child focused.
19:14 And yeah, we cover a spectrum of how our donors
19:18 and supporters can be involved in changing the lives
19:22 and saving these children from death.
19:27 And it's not just all of these, this whole spectrum of people.
19:30 We also are involved in special needs children,
19:33 like the school for the blind and the hearing-impaired.
19:36 Give us a bit more information on these schools
19:38 because they are, they serve special needs.
19:41 I know you mentioned previously about the school for the blind,
19:44 but tell us a bit more
19:45 about the school for hearing-impaired.
19:47 Well, you remember when you and I went there,
19:49 we drove in the gate
19:51 and it was just so exciting that these kids
19:53 just came rushing around the car.
19:56 And you hop out and then without thinking,
19:58 you start talking to them.
20:01 You forget that they're deaf because they're so animated,
20:03 they're saying hello.
20:04 And once again,
20:06 this is a very, very important school
20:09 because these children
20:10 are from the poor villages where the society reject them,
20:16 it's embarrassing to the parents.
20:18 And to see them singing hymns using sign language,
20:23 to see them doing a skit to music
20:26 but they can't hear the music.
20:28 Wasn't that amazing? That was absolutely amazing.
20:30 The other thing, it's the concentration
20:32 on these children's faces.
20:33 Because they can't hear anything,
20:35 they just focus on what's being done.
20:37 That really amazed me.
20:39 I think the other important thing also,
20:42 is the difference it makes on the lives of the families.
20:45 All right, so we're not only sponsoring a child,
20:48 we're not only giving that child an education
20:51 but suddenly the parents,
20:53 the parents who have faced stigma,
20:56 the parents that have faced embarrassment
20:58 are suddenly proud of their child.
21:00 To see parents in the slum,
21:03 who are proud of their little child,
21:05 in their dirty uniform heading off to school.
21:08 To see parents of the blind children,
21:10 who suddenly have a child they can talk about.
21:13 And these children make a difference.
21:15 So the sponsor is making a difference
21:18 in the life of the family and that community.
21:21 So it has a very, very wide effect.
21:24 With our sponsorship program,
21:26 you're introducing the child to Jesus.
21:29 They come to the school
21:30 and suddenly they're learning hymns,
21:33 they're learning prayer and they become...
21:36 They really are introduced to Jesus
21:39 and it's just so exciting.
21:41 We see baptisms.
21:42 We see them taking the Christian influence
21:45 back to their family and their friends.
21:49 So sponsorship is a very effective evangelism tool
21:54 that you are involved in as a sponsor every day.
22:00 And what that really also means is,
22:01 it's not just people knowing Jesus Christ,
22:05 but hope gives them another reason to live.
22:09 That's right.
22:10 And in Asian Aid's logo, it says Asian Aid,
22:13 give hope today.
22:14 And that's what we're doing.
22:16 The hope that's bigger than the hope of an education,
22:19 that's the hope of eternal life.
22:21 So, Jim, to do all these stuff, we know, we need funds
22:24 and I know that at our board meetings,
22:27 one of the key items is funds.
22:29 How do we raise funds?
22:31 And what are we going to do with it?
22:33 What's the challenges?
22:34 Well, fund raising is tough.
22:37 Where there's a lot of ministries out there
22:40 seeking the dollar,
22:41 the dollar that people want to share for good causes.
22:44 So it's a very competitive environment,
22:47 but we've been very blessed with the Hope in Motion series,
22:50 that we're a part of right now.
22:52 And we've been very blessed with our partnership with 3ABN.
22:57 It's had a dramatic impact on people
22:59 understanding the work of Asian Aid.
23:02 We also have to travel all around America
23:04 going to ASIs and church meetings
23:08 and visiting churches.
23:09 So that comes with a high cost.
23:12 But the Lord's blessed us
23:14 and we plan to continue growing.
23:17 We plan to continue helping more children.
23:20 And, Jim, I know that this comes at a cost
23:22 but the long-term benefits far outweigh these costs.
23:27 Yeah, the unique thing about sponsorship,
23:29 there's an investment at the beginning,
23:31 but the donor stays with us for five, ten years.
23:36 Yeah, but it's also impacting on the child
23:39 for five to ten years.
23:41 So it's a great investment.
23:43 And when we talk about impacting on the child
23:46 for five or ten years, that's the immediate impact
23:49 but the future impact is priceless.
23:53 Now tell me with all these sponsors,
23:56 how significant are the small, regular sponsors?
24:00 Well, no organization can survive
24:03 without the small donor.
24:06 We get very excited about large donations
24:09 but the secret is a large base of people who give regularly.
24:14 So the five dollars a month, the ten dollars a month
24:17 is critical to our success.
24:20 And I'm so grateful for the people,
24:22 who don't have a great income,
24:24 who really support us regularly.
24:27 And the Lord will bless them.
24:29 And they will be so excited
24:31 for seeing for their contribution.
24:34 Jim, with managing all of these children
24:38 and there must be a lag between getting sponsors
24:41 and having children.
24:42 So you must have some un-sponsored children.
24:45 How do the un-sponsored children work?
24:48 Well, Carl, at most times we can have 200 to 300
24:51 un-sponsored children, because we obviously
24:53 have to have a pool of children available.
24:56 But also sometimes, sponsors fall out
24:58 and once a child enters our program,
25:01 Asian Aid continues to support them.
25:03 So the un-sponsored child fund is critical to running
25:08 an efficient sponsorship program.
25:11 Now, the un-sponsored child fund is a unique way,
25:15 that someone who doesn't want to pay a monthly cost
25:18 or a monthly donation can make a one-off donation.
25:22 So one of the good ways
25:24 that a person can support a child
25:26 without the monthly commitment
25:28 is to contribute to the un-sponsored child fund.
25:31 It's a big need for us, but it's an important need.
25:35 And this fund actually guarantees
25:37 that the child can continue.
25:40 It guarantees that the children can continue in the program
25:43 and it gives us a pool of children
25:46 to ensure our growth.
25:47 And, Jim, it sounds like Asian Aid,
25:50 it's a learning organization.
25:52 We learn from what's happened yesterday,
25:54 we do things today
25:56 and we create a future for tomorrow.
26:00 So tell us how would others get involved with Asian Aid?
26:04 Well, I think the best place to start is our website
26:08 which is AsianAid.org.
26:11 It's www.AsianAid.org.
26:16 And there you can see the activity we're doing.
26:19 You can look up our phone number
26:21 and call us if you want to.
26:23 You can actually donate online.
26:25 You can sponsor a child online.
26:28 So that's the best way.
26:29 Or give us a call, or if you see us in an event,
26:32 come and ask us for some information.
26:35 We want to hear from new donors.
26:37 We want them to read about us and understand what we do.
26:41 So it's really easy to get involved?
26:44 Just call. Talk to us. Yes.
26:47 So to all our sponsors, I'm sure you would say,
26:51 "Thank you for all your support."
26:53 Oh! Look, I'm just so grateful.
26:57 When we open the mail on a Monday morning
26:59 and I just see people,
27:01 who I know don't have a big income
27:02 but they're giving something for these children.
27:06 And I'm just so impressed.
27:08 And it's so emotional sometimes,
27:11 when we see what people are doing to help
27:14 our organization but more importantly
27:17 the hope for children
27:19 that we're educating or rescuing.
27:22 And I'm just so grateful to the donors
27:25 and the supporters of Asian Aid.
27:29 To all of you, who are watching this special edition
27:32 of Hope in Motion.
27:34 You can see that Asian Aid is making a difference.
27:37 They are committed to making a difference.
27:39 And they certainly can use you and your commitment
27:43 to further this cause.
27:45 I would encourage you to call Asian Aid
27:48 and give of your time and resources.
27:51 Because you can make a difference
27:54 in the lives of children, families
27:57 and communities and help create
28:01 and guarantee, tomorrow's generation
28:04 can be filled with hope.