Swamy and Madhu are riding bikes. After a day of school, it feels good to be outside playing in the warm afternoon sun.
Laughter fills the air as the boys screech to a stop and scramble to the top of the jungle gym. From their view, they can see the entire Back2Back campus.
Below Shailaja and Pavithra are balancing on the seesaw. A few of the older boys are gathered in the side yard for a quick soccer game before dinner. Shyam passes to Goutham who moves the ball swiftly down the field.
Nearby, Nikeeta blows bubbles, squealing with delight, as the afternoon breeze carries them away. She turns and darts across the yard to join her friends, Sandeep and Ganesh, who are playing cricket with Amos, the campus pastor.
The metal swings squeak as Ashwini pumps her legs higher and higher, trying to reach the top of the swingset. Ashwini feels light. Happy. Free. A gust of wind ruffles her hair. She pumps harder, laughing.
Bubbles and bike rides silhouetted against the long afternoon sun. This is the backdrop of childhood when time seems to stand still. And for kids around the world, play is an essential part of childhood. Playing, laughing, connecting – all the while, growing and learning how to be a friend. Regardless of differences in language, location or culture, at the heart, kids are kids. But for most orphans in India, opportunities for play are few and far between. Instead, they are consumed with day-to-day survival and the burden of caring for younger siblings.
God has invited us into the story He’s writing in India. Now, for the first time, children like Swamy and Mudhu can play and laugh. Healthy, whole and carefree. With their needs met through the holistic care of Back2Back staff, they are free to revel in the delight and wonder of childhood.