In March 2004, a friend sent a letter to me along with $10, and asked me to "put it to good use". The catch? Once I decided what to do with the $10, I needed to send back a note detailing what I did with that $10, so that it could be part of a book being written titled, "Looking for Goodwill". Later that same year, when my employer sent me to India for a 3 month assignment, I knew what I was going to do with the $10. Soon, the "India Fund" developed, with friends and colleagues giving me money. With the help of a "stretch every last dollar" friend, we bought basic items for children, which I carried in my luggage.
My first weekend in Bangalore, I went to the Gurukul Vidhyapeeta orphanage in Kengeri. I arrived to 200+ smiling, excited, and curious faces. Each child shook my hand, kissed my cheek, and told me their name. While I didn't speak their language or remember all their names, the abundance of love left me forever changed. During my 3 months, I spent several weekends with the children, taking much needed essentials and sometimes, a little treat, like a piece of fruit. When my husband met me in India, I introduced him to the amazing children, and we knew we wanted to continue helping these children beyond this visit. We spent several years helping the children privately, but when friends started to support us with their financial donations, it was time to make our efforts official!
With this new support, I started A Childhood for Children in 2012, the first step on our magnificent journey.
We have two strategies in fulfilling our mission. The first is to do recurring projects with a school or orphanage where we have an established relationship. We also work with the same vendors who have proven their trustworthiness, dependability, and like-mindedness in a desire to help these children. In these distant countries, we have Ambassadors who are friends or family, generously donating their time and energy to help carry out our efforts, and they fully believe in A Childhood for Children's mission. They undertake the distribution, and sometimes help with the purchase, and transportation of the items to the school or orphanage. We are in regular contact with our Ambassadors and appreciate all that they do.
The second strategy is to travel with a purpose. No vacation for us is just a vacation! We research our intended destination to discover children's facilities that we may work with. We contact them to learn about their organization, management, operations, and children at the home or orphanage. There's much vetting to determine if there's a need and a match with A Childhood for Children. This information comes from our own research, friends of the charity, and local sources. If all information indicates a good fit, we put a project proposal and budget together and go through a rigorous board approval process. Once the details are completed, the search for vendors that will supply the items begins. Dates, orders, availability, transportation, payment, and more are finally determined before we arrive at the destination and personally carry out the project.
It takes TEAM effort to fulfill our mission!
A Childhood for Children has been written about on an online site for small towns in America. Read the story here!
1) education items, such as notebooks, geometry sets, pencils, pens, and textbooks
2) food items, such as packaged foods, cooking oil, and ingredients
3) well-being items, such as hygiene packets, clothing items, bedding, and footwear
Left: This young boy wears the sweater & slippers provided by A Childhood for Children. In 2014, we provided sweaters and slippers to over 300 children at the Gurukul Orphanage and Nagarbhavi School in Bangalore, India.
A Childhood for Children is organized as a US IRC 501(c)(3) charity to support childhood hunger, education, and overall well-being by addressing, coordinating, and providing aid and relief, on a local and global level, directly to children from poor economic backgrounds.
This includes providing:
Mission: Fulfilling the basic needs of impoverished children.
Working Board of Directors
President: Radhika Narain
Secretary: John D. De Silva
Treasurer: Raj Narain
Director: Rosemary Q. Mills