We met Epsi in 2018 in Chennai, India. We stood with her in her home, prayed with her, even got beautiful photos of her. We know her. She had been receiving a free meal every day at our local Feeding Center since 2013, and also went on to be part of our Backpack Project, where every year she would receive a backpack filled with all the school supplies she needed for that academic year.
My favorite part about the work we do overseas is that the people who are impacted by our projects don’t just stand in line for a free meal or backpack and then are on their merry way. No, they’re known. They’re seen. You see, we work with all local partners who have roots and relationships established in their communities. They know the people. They speak the language—literally and figuratively. They are the champions of change, and we at The Hope Venture just have the privilege of coming alongside them and helping make it happen.
Sunder Singh is one of those local partners in India, and he’s a hoot. A high energy, caring guy who drips with enthusiasm. He got to know Epsi through her coming to the Chennai Feeding Center, and in a couple years when her house was swept away by floods in 2015, Sunder Singh was there. He stepped in and supplied Epsi and her family with groceries and other essential supplies, a rock of support during a devastating time for the family.
Fast forward a few more years and Epsi had been receiving a backpack each school year. When it came time for her to apply to nursing college, Sunder Singh helped her with that process and she got admitted to a school nearby.
When she was living in a hostel and studying and homesick and wanting to quit, Epsi turned to Sunder Singh. He encouraged her and built her up and told her to hang in there. We’ve all needed to cry out to a trusted adult or mentor in our lives, and that was Sunder Singh for Epsi. Someone to pour into her. Remind her of truth. Encourage her to not give up.
To make the story even sweeter, Epsi also received a two-year scholarship from The Hope Venture, a massive burden lifted. There was no other source Epsi could turn to for financial help, and with the scholarship she was able to finish her studies and get a job working at a private hospital. She made it!
I smile as I write this. Do you know the impact a local partner can have on an individual? Do you know the role you can have in that? Do you know that 50 cents for a meal or 15 dollars for a backpack or 200 dollars for a college scholarship can take someone from not having much hope for their future to working as a nurse at a private hospital earning an income and breaking the cycle of generational poverty? Okay, I’ll let go of your shoulders now and catch my breath, haha.
Look, it’s just true. And that’s the best part. That all of this is true and not me just blowing smoke. If this speaks to you, I’d encourage you to follow that. Make a donation to our India Scholarship Fund and help put more students like Epsi through college. Or meander through our other projects and give to one you care about. There are tangible, positive, long-term effects our partners and projects have on people, and you can have a part in that and make this world a better place.