Puja’s Story

Puja's Story

UPDATE: Puja Was discharged from the hospital on 5th June. She is undergoing medication and doctors are confident she will make a full recovery! She is with us in our DayCare program for most of the day, but she is not safe at home. I am still searching for a Home for Puja, but I've had no luck. There is no home for Puja. So I am planning to open a home for Puja and other girls like her. Please join me in the effort to give Puja and other girls like her the safe and nurturing environment every child deserves. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/homeforgirlswithspecialneedsGetting personal here. WARNING: some information shared may cause SERIOUS distress for some viewers.

Posted by Courtney Lalotra on Saturday, June 2, 2018

School Open for Special Needs Children

We are excited to announce our partnership with a nonprofit school located in Delhi. The students, teachers and faculty have opened their arms to our children. I was able to attend the inaugural program and share about the work of One LIfe to Love.
In India, space is a luxury. This non-profit school is already offering education to hundreds of underprivileged children and they literally had no space to fit us. They easily could have turned us down, as so many other schools have. But no. Instead, they said, “We can squeeze into one office and turn our other office into the special education room.” Then, they requested volunteers from Google India  to paint the room and make it ready for our children.
This partnership is expanding our impact. Now, not only will our Home of Hope children receive individualized special education in an inclusive environment, but poor families in our locality will also be able to send their special needs children to school. AND children who are already attending the school who have learning disabilities will get the attention they need.
Our school-going children are just so excited to wear their uniforms and mingle with the other children at school. If you’d like to support their education you can do so by donating to our Education Fund: https://app.mogiv.com/onelifetolove/letherlearn
We know this space will suffice our 5 children and maybe 3 more children from the locality. However, quoting FIELD OF DREAMS: “If you build it, they will come”. We would love to maximize our impact and provide a suitable space for well over 20 children. The cost of building a new classroom is about $20,000. If you feel inclined to support this effort, please donate to our Education Fund!

Missing the Moments

Maybe this is why… Maybe this is why we aren’t raising the funds we need? Because every time I come to the orphanage to try to get some work done, send emails, make phone calls, there is need all around. We are out of milk, the TV isn’t working, we can’t find the key to the store closet, roti’s are burning on the stove, there’s a package that needs to be signed for, and kids…Cute little kids… EVERYWHERE.

Some need to be brought to the bathroom, some want a drink of water, some are fighting over a toy, some need their hair combed, some need their clothes changed, some are about to miss their school bus. And then some just want to be held, like this, in my lap. To have me wrap my arms around them. To be tickled under their chin, to be told they are loved. To be held, hugged, and smiled at and told how special they are. Some…no not some…ALL.. of these children just want to feel the love of a mother, a sister, a brother, a father.

How could I say no? How could I shut the office door on the face of a child in need of love? I can’t. Instead I let him climb onto my lap at my desk and wonder at my computer screen. So maybe that is why I am falling behind on emails, unable to raise the funds needed for the year ahead, reaching the ends of my rope.

 

I don’t write this to try and gain sympathy or make people feel like we are starving here, because we are not. In fact, One Life to Love is impacting more lives than ever through our education program, orphanage and relief services.

The truth is, I write this to share my inner struggle. I see myself almost as the sole provider for 500+ children. My job? To tell their stories in hopes of rallying people who will provide moral and financial support so these children can live the healthy, happy and successful lives that every child deserves.

I know that this pressure at times weighs heavy on me, often setting in feelings of failure, especially in regards to my responsibilities as a mother to a sweet 1 ½ year old and wife to the most supportive and loving husband. Of course my husband refutes these feelings. But still. The guilt is there. Am I failing? Am I letting the responsibilities God has given me, whether of the 500+ children we support, or my own family, slip through my fingers, by trying to do so much? Lord, help me not.

I’ve always had a strong conviction to reach out to those that cross my path; to meet a need impressed on my heart. But I remember once becoming so focused on results that I lost sight of what really mattered. At that time, we had two children in our orphanage and 17 girls in our education program. I had just given birth to our son, and was still adjusting to being a new wife and mom.

There were people who made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. Actually, they told me I wasn’t doing enough. They told me I should be ashamed for asking for funding for “only” two orphans and 17 girls, regardless if we needed the money or not. And I let their words fall deep into my heart and resonate as truth. I became so obsessed with “reaching more children” and my efforts were useless. I was running around in circles. One day I realized, all the time I spent running in circles, I was missing out on moments with the ones God placed before me- our two boys in the orphanage, the 17 girls in the school, my husband, my son. I was so sorry, and knew that I robbed myself of those moments.

I kind of took an oath that day, to never make the same mistake. That is why I started writing this here. Because I guess I started feeling the pressure again, to run in circles, to raise the funds we need. But the reality is, God provides. He has in the past. He is now. And He will in the future. So I refuse to miss out on the moments.

I believe, as God sees each ONE of us as precious and invaluable, He also sees the MOMENTS as precious and invaluable. He can do marvelous works through one person, and He can do marvelous works through one moment.

So, Shivam is now sitting on my lap again as I write these last sentences, probably wondering what in the world I am doing, probably keeping me from some “important” work I could be doing. But he is smiling…not smiling. He is beaming and glowing. He feels loved. He feels important. And he is. Way more important than any email or phone call or crowdfunder. Way more important than my “To Do” list.

And, the best part is, he knows it.

Love & prayers,

Courtney

 

P.S. If you’d like to contribute to One Life to Love, to help us meet our financial goal so we can continue our work in India, please donate here: https://www.mogiv.com/onelifetolove/general/

Deepika’s Story

Deepika is 13 years old. She dreams of becoming a beautician one day. Coming from a very poor family in India, she is brave to dream of having such a career.

Before we met Deepika,she had dropped out of 6th grade. Her parents were planning to get her engaged to a decent man from their village in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. And planned to get her married to him a few years after that. This is very common for poor families in India, for their children to get engaged at a young age. It ensures that their daughters will be taken care of, and gives peace of mind to poor parents who can barely make ends meet.

One Life to Love’s education program gave Deepika’s parents the option to send their daughter to school, cost-free, an option they did’nt have before; an option most poor parents still do not have. Deepika is beyond excited to be studying. The aspiring beautician spends her lunch hour braiding the other girls’ hair.

Thanks for giving girls like Deepika a chance to be who they want to be. You can help more girls like her by donating here: https://www.mogiv.com/onelifetolove/loveis/