A huge crowd of close to 350 people last night (Sunday 7th October 2018) attended our ‘Annual Function’ last night in Kotdwara. It was a really exciting occasion filled with music, dancing, speeches, awards and opportunities to honour and recognise to efforts of many people in our projects and local community.
The girls from our Technology Centre performed a number of dances, as did the younger kids from our City Centre School. The boys once again, proved to be a huge hit with their military dance.
For me there were a number of significant highlights;
- I love it when we get to ‘honour’ many people, especially leaders from the local community. We thanked and blessed police inspectors, the anti-human trafficking team, politicians, doctors, social workers, teachers, a women’s rights lawyer and advocate, church pastors and even some of the local press.
- I was crying when 5 kids with significant disabilities, parents by their side, came to the front to be appreciated and to be given a certificate and prize (a box of chocolates) for attending school…their first ever school! This has been a dream of mine, to start a Disability Centre, and the dream is coming alive right before my eyes. What I did not expect, was to have the entire auditorium stand to their feet, in spontaneous applause, as we cheered the students and their parents.
- We were blessed to have a Bollywood singer and TV host, Sonia Anand as our special guest for the night. I have to say that I was a little star struck myself. She was beautiful in all ways, and she spoke with great passion for our work. Sonia has offered her ongoing support of Project Help and she says she will be back for SHINE 19. She closed the night with a song and it was fabulous.
- I was humbled to also have the crowd stand on their feet to thank me for my work in Kotdwara. I really was surrounded by many wonderful friends, many who are now like family to me. Kotdwara has become my second home and I will be very sad to be leaving at the end of the week.
We are expecting that our Annual Event will get some news attention in this week’s newspapers and television. This is really exciting as we keep promoting the work of Project Help India, as we generate support, and continue to build trust and earn the respect of the community. Last night reminded me that our influence is growing and impacting the lives of not just the poor. The leaders of this town are saying that they are blessed and supported in their work, they have been equipped and greatly encouraged. It is such a privilege to be part of this and to see God working in such a powerful way.
I have 4 days left in this part of the world, before I head back to Sydney. Today I am off the look at the site for a potential long-term, more permanent school location. Later this week I will be working with the police, visiting the slums and our school projects, doing some teacher training and visiting a large disability school in another town called Dehradun. It’s all amazing and incredibly satisfying work. Thank you for your prayers and support. Your donations are making all of this possible and I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your generosity. If you could only meet these people, you would understand why I am so in love with them, and why I am so passionate for this cause, and determined to help their situation.
Together we are really making a difference.