This past Thanksgiving, I opted to do something unusual.
Instead of the traditional holiday meal with my family, I spent the week in Hyderabad, India on a mission trip through Global Hope India (GHI). GHI is a local organization dedicated to helping improve living conditions in India – including clean water projects, education, medical services – as well Christian ministry.
Off to a Rocky Start
My trip almost ended before it began.
A few weeks before I left, I had to have surgery on my left elbow due to a pinched nerve. I was losing mobility in my hand and it was progressively getting worse.
I wasn’t able to lift the weight of a suitcase, but I could function well enough and serve my purpose.
My fellow travelers were great about helping me with my bags. Kudos to them for carrying the extra weight.
Making a Difference in the Community
I was working with The John Foundation, which rescues orphans and young women from human trafficking. There are currently around 200 residents in the available housing.
The John Foundation also provides job training for single mothers within the local community. This year 850 students are involved in this program. Approximately 89% of graduates are currently employed.
The John Foundation assists with educational costs in a “Back to School” program for children of single mothers. There are currently almost 500 students in this program.
The foundation also offers afterschool tutoring for children who need help with their homework that they can’t get at home for various reasons. Over 400 students participate in this program.
We had the opportunity to meet the women and children served by The John Foundation. The children even presented us with a special program with music and dancing to thank us for coming.
Taking My Work Across The Globe
The purpose of my team’s work was to help The John Foundation become more self-sustaining.
The foundation currently operates two garment factories that sell items through a third party vendor in the United States. To increase their revenue, our team helped develop marketing strategies so that they could sell products without a middleman.
We spent several days teaching staff how to use Adobe Creative Cloud to make flyers, newsletters, and other materials. We also covered social media tools and file sharing options.
It was nice to take the skills I use at Lawyers Mutual to help support these women and children.
My colleagues also taught some new crafting skills for making accessories. I wasn’t able to help as much in this since I was one-handed, but I enjoyed the fellowship we experienced as we learned together.
How You Can Help
The John Foundation helps people who need it most. You can donate through GHI if you’d like to give a monetary gift.
The John Foundation also maintains an Amazon India wish list so that donors can purchase supplies directly. You can purchase supplies for the children/women, office administration supplies, or items for the garment factory. The favorable conversion rate from dollars to rupees means you can do a lot of good for a small amount of money.
I had an amazing experience meeting new people, trying new foods, and learning about a new culture.
I feel like I received a much greater gift than I gave.