Outside of this bubble we live in, there is so much more going on in the world. It's easy to get caught up in your daily life and forget this- I know I am guilty of often having a one-track "me me me" mindset, and not looking or thinking outside of where I very comfortably sit. But one of my biggest goals for this next year (and now) is to make a difference, and that's where this blog comes in.
Today I'm going to be telling you all about my sweet friend Kristin and the work she is doing over in India. And in the months to come, I'll be sharing different charities, organizations, or individuals that I am personally familiar with that are doing amazing things. Sometimes it's hard for me to just send donations off- I wonder if the money is really going where they say it is, or I'm concerned about the way it's handled. I'm not sure if everyone is like that (maybe I'm just crazy), but if I can't physically help out myself, it's comforting to me to know the person who is, and to see the good they are doing with the donations.
My friend Kristin is a nurse and is currently living in India. She blogs daily about the work she does, and shares some of the most heart-wrenching, inspiring photos and stories. Here's a little bit from her:
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others... That is a quote by M.K. Gandhi that I stumbled upon before my first trip to India back in February 2011. Fast forward to November and I can easily tell you that I have never understood what he meant more than I do right now. I am an American nurse living life in the biggest city in North East India, Guwahati. I walked away from my simple Californian life and moved to the state of Assam in May after participating in a one week mission with a NGO that repairs cleft lips and palates free of cost. I work full time (and then some) with them now as a nurse manager at a brand new cleft care center in Guwahati.
India is what we in 'developed' countries would call 'underdeveloped.' It teems with half built infrastructure, animals, temples, greenery, trash, and people. Oh, the people. Or more specifically, the children. I feel like it took me some time to really open my eyes to what surrounded me and in true Indian fashion, what I saw was this twisted, heartbreaking beauty. There are children all over the streets of Guwahati, beautiful children. They are dirtied, half-clothed and hungry. For a longer time than I like to admit, I walked past these children and though my heart ached deep inside my chest, I did nothing. After weeks of planning, talking with friends, going back and forth and feeling discouraged, I made a decision. It was a basic one: I was going to feed the kids. I went down to the slums that first week scared, shaking and alone. I had made 20 meals and in under five minutes they were filling the bellies of 20 hungry children. It was clear, I had to keep this going. Now I am almost two months into this project that I call Asha Guwahati, and it is growing by the day. The goal of what I do is simple, I want to show the children of this slum and street community true love. I feed them without expectation of anything in return. I am still just one person orchestrating these feedings out of my kitchen. I currently make 50 meals at a time, one to two times per week. It takes me around three hours to make the food, and less than ten minutes to pass it out. Every feeding I have different friends come and help, everyone that helps gives of their time freely. Once a month we hold a street kids day where we bathe, trim hair, and cloth 20-30 kids. I am not changing the world as a whole but very certainly, very slowly, the whole world of each child we care for is changing.
If you visit Kristin's blog I guarantee that you will be moved, maybe to tears like I am, every time I read about her days in India. I urge you to read back in her posts- it's heartbreaking, but also so amazing that she is able to do what she is doing. So that's where we come in. I went back and forth about whether or not I felt comfortable asking you all to donate, but when it comes down to it, I can't think of a better way to assist Kristin in her efforts.
Here's how you can help:
make a donation to Kristin's project- Asha Guwahati. To feed a child one meal costs about 25 cents (and Kristin is working on getting this cost even lower). So even if you gave a dollar, you would be providing FOUR meals. Awesome, right?
If you can donate anything, a quarter,
a dollar, ten dollars, you can do so
via paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Kristin also wanted me to let you know that she is one person developing this feeding project out of her kitchen, and every single rupee goes to the meals and the "street girls" day. She also wanted you to know that she isn't an NGO and therefore cannot offer receipts or letters verifying donations for tax refunds, etc.
Outside of donating, you can follow Kristin's blog and support her via correspondance, comments, or even just saying hello and letting her know you're there, supporting her. You can also share her blog with others, share this post via Facebook or twitter, or you could even blog about it in our own space, and encourage your own friends and family to help out.
The neatest part about being a part of Kristin's growing project is that you will get to see your donation (whether it be monetary or even sharing her story, reading her blog etc.), come to life as you follow along on her journey. It's truly an amazing thing.
Thank you guys so very much for taking the time to read this. xoxo