Blog

A Busy Summer at Angels’ Place

The summer has been a busy time at Angels’ Place!

India continues to face the Covid-19 pandemic. The rate of new cases has declined since the worst period, which was in May of this year, but the disease remains a primary concern for the nation and for managing the community at Angels’ Place. Manipur, the state where Angels’ Place is located, has had lower occurrence of Covid-19, which is fortunate for the staff and children. All those over the age of 18 have received at least one vaccination, and all of the children remain protected by the measures taken by the staff: masking, daily temperature checks, and a no-visitor policy to the campus.

To date, no child has contracted Covid-19, a blessing for which we are thankful.

The state education department decided this summer to cancel board exams for the older children in order to reduce transmission risk for Covid-19. The staff has been working hard to keep the children involved in activities and to support education during this time while the school system has been suspended. Earlier this year, a number of the children participated in a painting competition, and staff has presented a number of presentations geared toward learning professional skills and cultivating a healthy work-life balance as the older students approach adulthood. We also are pleased to share news of several programs held over the summer:

  • Core Classes: In order to keep children on track with their schooling and keep them engaged in studies, the staff started to teach regular classes for all children from nursery school through Class 10. The on-site instructors have divided the responsibilities for teaching writing, communication skills, and reasoning skills. Additionally, students in Classes 9 and 10 are also taking classes in social science, science, English, and mathematics.
  • Bible Study: In July staff had Bible study, which was divided into two groups: nursery school through Class 6, and Classes 7-12.
  • Sewing: Eight of the students participate in vocational training in sewing, which had been suspended because of the pandemic. The program resumed this summer, with modifications to protect everyone’s health.
  • Online Painting Class: A weekly online painting class was organised for interested children ages 9-12. A professional designer, Mrs. Smriti Ahuja, taught the course titled “Healing with Paint.”

Finally, we are pleased to report the graduation of 12 children from their schooling and from Angels’ Place. Sanga and other staff members held a ceremony on July 2, to congratulate them and offer encouragement as they enter their independent adult lives. During the program, the children expressed their heartfelt gratitude to James Connection sponsors and the staff of Angels' Place for all the years of love, care and nurturing that they have received. Their successful transition into adulthood has come due to the generous support of all the James Connection sponsors, who have provided them with a safe and secure home, nourishment, education, and spiritual enrichment.

A Message from Jan

Dear Friend of James Connection,

This pandemic has gone on so long it seems we have grown apart from both the children of Angels' Place and you, our sponsors and donors. I have not been able to go to India for two years and we have not been able to get around the US to speak to you, our supporters. But let me assure you, we have not been sitting still. Angels' Place is better than ever. With your help, we just keep making it better and better each year. This past year has been no different.

We have all of our kids back on campus and despite being in lock-down, they are all healthy and well. We just graduated another 12 seniors, most of whom will go on to college. We have added a new building for vocational education classes as well as eight new computers with printers and software. We are in the process of installing a new water retention system with a well in the girls' dorm.

As you can see, we have been busy doing good work for the children. As soon as we are able, we will go to Angels' Place and get out to make presentations anywhere you give us the opportunity.

Please, keep in touch and reach out anytime if you have ideas for getting the message to more potential sponsors and donors.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

~ Jan

Empowering Girls

The education James Connection provides the children at Angels’ Place puts all of them, regardless of gender, at a significant advantage over those who don’t complete their studies. But the impact it has on girls is potentially life-changing. It often means the difference between a life of impoverished servitude and one of thriving independence.

Much of rural India, and even many urban communities, still operate under a long tradition of bias against girls. Most of our girls at Angels’ Place come from small villages where this mentality is firmly entrenched. Many found themselves so burdened by the demands of their home life that an education was a dream beyond reach. The brilliant future doctors, teachers, bank officers, entrepreneurs and scientists of the world were trapped in ramshackled huts cooking meals on open fire pits, lugging water, and caring for younger children. Even if their time allowed a few precious minutes of intellectual stimulation, the resources were just not available to them.

Then they came to Angels’ Place.

Thanks to the work we do at James Connection, girls are getting the opportunity to become vital, contributing members of their community. The education they receive not only cultivates their confidence to lead their own lives and follow their own dreams, but it also brings them new respect in their villages. Families and village elders are beginning to realize the value educated girls can offer their communities. Little by little, the mentality is shifting and they are seeing the fruits of a previously untapped resource. Organizations like James Connection offer an alternative to the old regime, opening up a new world of possibilities by empowering young girls through education.

Sawmi, a recent graduate of Angels’ Place, is a wonderful example of how life-changing an education can be. She is a role model for the younger girls at the orphanage and in her village. They see her, a thriving, independent, young women pursuing a masters degree and they think: “She did it. So can I.”. Read more about Sawmi's story here.

But in the end, it is our sponsors and donors who make it possible for these girls to feel such empowerment. Without the financial resources to keep them in school, their intellectual talent would be wasted. There are bigger problems than how to haul a heavy jug of water for these future stars of the world to solve. Thanks to their sponsors, they can!

If you want to learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of young girls struggling to realize their dreams, check out our Ways to Help page.

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.