The visiting team sat on a bench as the Indian students with bright, expectant smiles walked towards them. Each child stepped forward, accepted a new book bag filled with school supplies – notebooks, pencils, and school books – and returned to their seats with gratitude.
College students from Kent State’s H2O Church recently visited the India Hope Campus. Before they arrived, they raised funds providing necessary school supplies for 10 new children the campus will soon be welcoming, children who attend the nearby government school with little to no access to school supplies. The funds also provided school supplies for children at Christ for All Feeding Center, a Back2Back partner.
“It was such an encouraging experience to have this team of college students spending their time giving and serving over their spring break, with a heart to help exactly where it’s needed,” said Dan Belue, Back2Back staff. “As much as we can, we try to help the children from the village which also encourages the teachers at the government school they attend,” Dan continued.
In addition to visiting children in a nearby village and one of the slum communities, the Kent State team also spent time helping the children leave their mark on India Hope Campus. One part of the campus wall was designated the “Hope Wall” and painted white. The word “hope” was written in black, with each child choosing a bright color to mark their handprint.
“It wasn’t necessarily a significant work project, but it left a deep impact,” shared Adam Petticrew, Back2Back staff. “The children regularly point out their hand print and ask about each others. They feel a strong sense of identity and feel like being a part of a family. This wall helps each of us remember we belong as it brightens up the campus.”
The Kent State team was instrumental in helping each boy and girl served in India remember their story has impact and even after a team departs, there are people who love and advocate on their behalf.