Steam seemed to rise from the ground, fall from the sky and stick to me like an unwanted blanket. Summer afternoon heat in south-central India can be brutal.
As I trudged across the grounds at Mukti Mission, a 125-year-old grass-root level organization that Global Aid Network has come alongside and supported, I forced myself to think ahead. I was on my way to see Anita, a delightful, fun-to-be-around eighth grader, whom I hadn’t seen for awhile and wanted to spend some time with. Talking with her would be worth this sweaty walk!
Do you have friends who make you smile when you just think about them? Anita’s like that. While gentle and sweet, she also has a spicy way about her—an air of confidence that gives a spring to her step that is joy-filled but not arrogant. Spending time with her is enjoyable.
I finally arrive at the Honors Academy where Anita is one of the newest additions. This Academy was created for the girls at Mukti who take their studies seriously and want to excel educationally. Just this past year, Anita raised her grades high enough to make her eligible to be a part of the group.
I sit at a table under a ceiling fan in the cement building to cool off as I watch Anita and wait for her to finish at the computer she is energetically typing away on. Anita takes full advantage of her opportunities. When she arrived at Mukti, she was really happy about the many privileges that surrounded her; computers being one of them. She never dreamed she would have such opportunities and she has become quite competent in her computer skills.
Growing up, Anita’s parents had very little money. Her father had physical challenges and her mom had medical problems, which kept her from being able to care for Anita.
Since Anita understood and had compassion for the special challenges people can face, she was placed in the Violet Family Home to help with Mukti’s specially-challenged children. Mangala, the guardian and teacher for these children, welcomed Anita into the family, took her under her wing and gratefully accepted her willing assistance.
Mangala speaks English quite fluently and has helped Anita improve in the language. When visitors come to Mukti, many of whom speak English, Mangala and Anita enjoy having them spend time at the special school to help with the children there. Anita makes the most of these interactions.
In a short time, Anita spots me and scurries over to chat with me—in English, of course! As it’s nearly summer vacation, I ask her if she’s going to be able to go home for school vacation.
“Yes, Aunty,” she responds. “My father is coming to get me—but...”. I wondered why the long pause. “I like seeing my dad but…there’s no bathroom in our house.”
“What an honest response!”, I thought. She looked forward to seeing her father and relatives, but not having a bathroom, which was another privilege she enjoys at Mukti, was going to be difficult for her. Indeed, many of Mukti’s girls come from very poor families in faraway villages or big city slums. There is no running water, no bathrooms, no beds and perhaps no tables or even chairs. Can you imagine life without such things?
Without Mukti, Anita would not have received the opportunities she has today!
Mukti Mission is celebrating 125 years of ministry. Would you like to help continue their legacy by bringing hope to other children like Anita?