By Casey Foreman
In 2011, a shared desire by an educator and Back2Back to help impoverished girls from poor rural areas resulted in a children’s hostel we call Peace Home. Located on the school grounds, the facility consisted of only three rooms but provided twenty-two young girls with the start of a foundation geared to provide for their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social development.
In the two years that followed, the girls’ educational success was remarkable as their grades were as high as many of the other children who had been attending the school for several years. In a culture where measures of performance remain very important, nearly half of our girls were scoring in the mid to upper 90% range and achieving a “rank” (placement) in the top ten of their class. Moreover, in the State of Andhra Pradesh, where this hostel is located, the literacy rate among girls is less than 50%, making this truly a cause to celebrate!
What was missing, however, was the depth of care that is at the very core of what Back2Back is about. We knew that their emotional and social development was not being addressed and candidly, difficulty finding loving and qualified caregivers was also limiting our success in caring for them physically.
Following multiple conversations with our partner and with intense prayer, we mutually agreed to assume responsibility for the oversight of this hostel. We have taken dramatic steps forward in advancing our mission and meeting our passion to care for these girls holistically in a way that truly does provide care for today, hope for tomorrow. We are excited about this bold step and are taking steps necessary to ensure we remain true to our commitment to partner with in-country nationals and preserve the cultural richness of the girls’ heritage.
Leveraging the resources of another children’s ministry we’ve come to know well, our first selected caregiver for this home recently began an 8-module training series to deepen her knowledge on caring for children holistically. A second caregiver will be sought and trained and we will continue the program of high-quality education that includes tutoring sessions daily, while being sure the girls get to be children too. We are seeking a suitable home that will allow the girls the space to sleep on a bed and have space for their belongings, which will help increase their sense of security. We are excited to provide deep holistic care to the girls at the Peace Home, by focusing on their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and social needs.