Blog

May Update from Angels’ Place

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to bring much suffering to India as a nation. We pray for comfort for those who mourn so many lost and pray for hope as vaccination efforts continue. We are grateful to report that the children and staff of Angels’ Place remain safe, and we bring this update in the context of a nation experiencing tremendous hardship.

As we reported in past updates, the state of Churachandpur has not seen the same sort of rapid spread of the virus as elsewhere in India. Vaccination distribution has been steady, and healthcare centers have vaccination clinics twice per week, with 150 slots available. The appointments fill rapidly, and Angels’ Place works to get as many appointments as possible when a new drive begins. At this point the majority of staff and children at Angels’ Place have received the vaccine, and the staff anticipates that the rest will receive the vaccine very soon with the next phase of distribution.

We are happy to report that all the children are healthy, and none have shown any symptoms. Schools in India remain closed, and the staff will provide education to the children in the meantime. The campus of Angels’ Place remains under lockdown. The children have their temperature checked regularly, and as a precaution, the staff created two isolation rooms, one for boys and one for girls. In the event that someone shows any symptoms, they would remain in the isolation room until they are tested. Due to the successful quarantine process at Angels’ Place, the children have the opportunity for physical activity, a social community, learning, and spiritual nurturing within the safe environment of the campus.

We continue to be so grateful for the ongoing support of our James Connection community in helping us weather this crisis. The children are healthy and happy because of the resources and services we are able to provide. If you are not part of our community and want to learn more about what you can do to help, visit our Ways to Help page for information about the different ways you can get involved.

An Update from Angels’ Place

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As many of you know, the Covid pandemic has taken a heavy toll on India recently, and we know that, like us, you are concerned about the children and staff of Angels’ Place. We have been in regular communication with the staff during this challenging time and are writing to share the latest news with you.

First, while the pandemic has impacted India severely, the region where Angels’ Place is located has been spared the worst ravages of this terrible disease. Angels’ Place is in a relatively remote part of India, the eastern state of Manipur, and it is a small comfort that of the many states in India, Manipur has felt the effects of the pandemic far less than others.

At present, India is offering Covid vaccinations to individuals over the age of 45, and all Angels’ Place staff over 45 have been vaccinated. The next round of vaccinations will focus on individuals over 18, and Angels’ Place maintains contact with health professionals who will alert them when those vaccines become available.

Because of the rapid spread of Covid, Angels’ Place has returned to the most restrictive lockdown with no visitors allowed on campus. Any staff member who travels off campus must sanitize and have his or her temperature taken upon return. All of the children are confined to the campus and off-campus activities have been suspended for their protection, and all schools in India have closed. The staff has contacted guardians, informing them of the lockdown and asking them to confine all communications to telephone calls. Their temperatures are monitored regularly, they wash their hands frequently, and they sanitize their spaces. If necessary, local health facilities can provide Covid testing – though no child has exhibited any symptoms to date.

The staff is working hard to keep the children active, with ongoing opportunities for body, mind and spirit – and we have accompanied this update with some recent images of their activities. Angels’ Place continues to receive the supplies necessary to ensure that all children eat well during this time, but unfortunately, the costs have increased. We thank you for your generous contributions that have helped these children through such a frightening time, and please know that your continuing support helps us to keep pace with the shifting conditions.

We ask for your prayers for the children and staff of Angels’ Place, and for all the people of India, as they face the Covid pandemic.

Spotlight Volunteer Ann McCamy

Ann McCamy joined the James Connection volunteer team in early 2020. Inspired by the relationship her sons had with their sponsored child, she wanted to help facilitate more of those precious connections. So she took on the rewarding, though often daunting, job of managing our bi-annual letter drive.

“The most rewarding thing is seeing the letters going back and forth”, reports Ann. “I'm especially touched by exchanges between kids here in the U.S. and kids in India. It's just really sweet to see children who are just learning how to write make this kind of effort to communicate with someone they will never meet face-to-face.”

Yes, Ann is the one who works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure every child at Angels’ Place gets a letter, even if she has to write some herself. She also recruits volunteers, like her aging home-bound neighbor, to fill in the gaps when sponsors don’t write. “Grandma Evelyn”, as her neighbor is fondly known, is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve and was overjoyed to receive her own special letter from an older child she had written this past year. For Ann, these moments of sweet connection make the challenges worth while.

From her own personal experience as a sponsor, Ann understands how meaningful these letters can be, not only for her family but the children in India as well. “The smiles tell the story”, she says, recalling pictures of the children beaming with joy as they hold their newly delivered letter like it was a precious treasure.

Ann wants sponsors to remember, “It’s a beautiful thing to provide financial support, but also realize that the photo on the fridge is a real child who would love to build a relationship with a real person in America who cares for them. Writing a letter really doesn't take a lot of time, but it means a lot to your child.”

Our next letter drive is coming up in August. If you are a sponsor, please, consider taking just a few minutes to write your child. You will surely make his or her day! You don't even have to wait until August. Write anytime you feel the inspiration and we will hold your letter to send when the batch goes to India.

If you are not yet a sponsor and want to learn how to become one, visit our Ways to Help > Sponsor Page for more information.

A Letter from Sawmi

Sawmi is one of our greatest success stories! Read her personal testimony below of how her life has been transformed by the work we do at Angels' Place.

Hello Everyone!

As the day for my college graduation is getting closer, I would like to thank everyone of you who has been with me through this journey. Without the help of each of you, I would not be where I am today. I would like to tell you all how grateful I am for everything you have done. Also, I would like to tell you a bit about my time here at Ohio Valley University as well my plans for the future.

I will graduate from OVU on the 8th of May, 2021 with a BA in Business. I am fortunate to have the love and support of my sponsors the Minsker Family, who will be by my side to witness the fruit of their investment in me over the past few years. They have been there for every important moment of my college life. This achievement is not just my achievement alone. I share my success with every person who supports the work of James Connection.

After graduation I plan to pursue my MBA at Oklahoma Christian University with a focus on either Human Resource Management or Health Care Administration. I will be working hard to prepare myself for future job placement. My long-term goal is to start an organization to help my community in India and Angels’ Place where I was raised. However, right after college, I will be looking for a job more in line with my degree so I can gain practical experience first.

I’ve had my share of challenges over the past four years. Everything was new for me. New friends, new food, new language, and different studies. I had to switch my major several times to find the right fit for my interests and passions and finally decided on Business. With time, I’ve made good friends and learned to adapt to all the new things. Through the process, I learned a lot about life and people and I’ve grown into a more mature and understanding person.

I love being involved in campus life. During my time at OVU, I was part of the Student Government Association, Steppingstone Student Chapter, Alpha Chi, the Social Club, and with my best friend’s encouragement, a club called Kappa. Being part of these groups, I have learned a lot about friendship and college life. I’ve grown to appreciate how much the university helps us, as students, grow spiritually. I also became aware that many international students did not get involved in social activities on campus. They didn’t have a place where they could build friendships on a deeper level, learn about each other’s cultures, and support each other while being far away from family and loved ones. So, during my Junior year, with the help of our International Director, Sally Massy (who was like a mother to every international student), I started a new club for International students within the larger Social Club. Being able to do that for all my international friends is one of my proudest achievements and brought me great happiness.

I know deep down in my heart, no matter what I do with my life, God had a purpose for me by bringing me to the United States and OVU. I want to continue to use my voice to make the world a better place. Above everything, I am excited and looking forward to how God will shape me and use me for his purpose in the months and years to come.

Love,
Sawmi