In Hyderabad’s core, there is a community of families living in makeshift homes. Most of the parents are rag pickers, who separate thrown-out food and materials into groups and sell them for profit. Despite these living conditions, there is joy within the tarped walls and metal roofs.
There in the middle of the slum community, a long standing organization serves as a refuge for families, offering daily hot meals and educational assistance. Founded in 2004 by Goldie and Kennedy, Back2Back began partnering with them in 2008. “We were witness to countless young people struggling with hunger every day,” shared Goldie. “We saw in young faces both innocence and despair, and it awakened a strong desire to do something. We couldn’t bear the thought of children going to bed each night hungry, so we took action.”
In 2022, India ranked 107 of 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index, meaning 224.3 million people are undernourished. Goldie and Kennedy dedicate themselves to feeding the children in the neighborhood every evening. “We knew it would be a challenge, but our passion fueled our resolve,” shared Goldie. “Our mission is to ensure no child goes to sleep hungry.” For the last 15 years, visiting mission guests have traveled with Back2Back to serve a hot meal and interact with the children who call the slum area home.
Recently, when Back2Back’s long time India Site Director decided to retire, we were left with a difficult decision- who would lead the team and ensure each child was known and loved? Devadass had demonstrated since the site’s inception, a heart to serve the vulnerable, as he faithfully led the staff.
It became clear Goldie was the answer. She had shown herself to be consistent, passionate, and eager. She has a heart to break cycles of poverty, malnourishment, and educational barriers on behalf of vulnerable populations. “Goldie is impressive,” shared Julie Mowery, Back2Back’s India Stateside Director. “She has experience with education, with running a school, and her connections with other organizations would only strengthen the work being done.” Julie saw in Goldie a refusal to buckle under the difficult aspects of caring for the vulnerable and a strength and positivity necessary for the job. “She understands appropriate expectations and has a strong willingness to problem solve alongside the team to provide the best care,” explained Julie
Last spring, staff and children gathered to honor Devadass and welcome Goldie into her new position. “Being the site director for India feels like a tremendous responsibility and great privilege,” shared Goldie. “It fills me with great purpose to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need. Saying yes to this position required careful consideration and discernment, but I have a passion for serving others, and an unshakeable calling. With faith in God, I am committed to learning, adapting, and collaborating with local partners to overcome challenges and impact the lives of the vulnerable.”
Goldie has stepped into her new role with grace and a focus on enacting change. Her biggest goals as Director are to expand the reach to even more marginalized communities, create sustainability, and foster long-term transformation.
“I hope to see children no longer trapped in poverty, with full access to education, healthcare, and the opportunities needed to allow them to thrive. I pray to leave a legacy of collaboration and collective impact that goes far beyond my leadership,” she shared.
The Back2Back India team, with Goldie at the helm, are breaking chains, eradicating impoverished living conditions, and offering hope to Indian children and families.