Sometimes people ask me how I decide what the next Blue Kite Project will be. It's really simple. I see a need, and I feel this tug in my heart to share it with you all. I know there are so many needs here at home and around the world. There are so many great organizations that need help. While we could help a different organization each week, all I can tell you is that I stick to a project until I feel it's time to move on.
The three projects so far have been very dear to my heart, because I have seen the needs firsthand.
The first project was to help Gypsies in Romania. I went to Romania in 2010 and saw the dire conditions these people were living in. It was unreal, and help was scarce. Gypsies are often refused education, work, medical care, and so much more. It's truly heartbreaking. BUT It's also inspiring to see Gypsy teenagers work really hard to complete school and go on for further education despite how they may be treated or what's expected of them. It's incredible to see their resilience and their drive to make a better place for their fellow Gypsies. I met some adults who have made such an impact in their small villages and are working to better their name and to teach love despite the hate they may receive.
(Me playing with the cutest Gypsy toddler)
The second project was to help an orphanage in India. I grew up hearing about this orphanage and the family running this ministry. They are Indians who have been doing this for decades. In 2008 I got to go to India and see it all in person. India is the most impoverished country you could imagine. Families often have trouble supporting their children. They can't feed them, and they can't pay to send them to a nice school. The orphanage gives them a top rate education, supplies their school uniforms, and helps prepare them for the world after school. Some of the children are true orphans (found on the street, etc.) and some come from families who need help.
(School where the orphans and other children attend)
Now to the current project...I first went to the Philippines in 2007 and returned in 2010. The Philippines captured my heart from day one. The people are friendly, the food is amazing, and the country is beautiful. I spent most of my time in cities and large towns, but one night we went a few miles out of town and into a smaller village, and it was like I traveled hundreds of miles. While the houses and trees looked the same, the children I saw there were noticeably smaller than children I saw at the school in town. We got there as Here's Hope started cooking, and the children were all around waiting for food. Our group set up speakers and started playing music to sing and play with the kids as they waited. It was a lot of fun and a good way to interact with them as they waited for their food. I cannot lie-- the food we served was not something that I would have rushed to eat. It wasn't fancy, and it didn't come with a happy meal toy. These kids didn't care. To them it was a hot meal. It was nutritious and probably actually very tasty. It made me realize how something so simple can make such an impact. These kids desperately needed food. This program had been receiving grant money, but that grant is no longer providing funds. They can now only feed children as money comes in. So let's make a huge impact. Let's feed as many children as possible! Let's help these children grow and flourish.
(The feeding program and me serving the soup)
"The King will say...'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me....Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" -Matthew 25:34-40