*Stephanie continues to live at Joy Home and attends school. She receives Braille training at a local institute for the blind, and attends Anjali School for the Blind (ASB) at Courage Home Purple for part of her day.
*Stephanie is fully sponsored!
PD: *Stephanie wears a blue top w/ white embroidery & pink headband, w/ her hair in 2 braided pigtails. She’s smiling & her name is written over her eyes to protect her identity.
Click on *Stephanie’s photo to be redirected to her introduction page.
Original Post (July 2014):
This is a blog post by *Stephanie’s former foster mom, Carrie. Please go read that before you finish reading this post!
I have written about *Steph before, and though I’ve never met her, I wanted to give an update because I feel like she is a part of my life despite our distance, both literally and figuratively. To me, *Steph is a superhero. She has overcome a painful past and continues to learn new things every day.
*Stephanie is functionally blind. She recently learned to use her brand-new guide cane independently over the course of 2 short hours in one afternoon. This is big for her, as she is very shy and timid due to her past. *Steph was walking all the way across the roof of the family’s apartment building where everyone gathers during the day (it is an open-air roof, which is common in India). This may not seem extraordinary, but for her, it is.
PD: Black & white photo, taken from above. *Stephanie walks on the pavement, using her guide cane in her R hand. You can see the top of her head & beginning of a braid! She wears an embroidered kurta & sandals.
*Stephanie’s past affects her every day, and every day she makes more strides at overcoming that past. It’s no small feat – being only 13 (estimated to be somewhere between 13 and a year older) and already having been through so much is a huge burden to bear, and she does it with quiet poise and grace. *Steph loves to sing, whether by herself or with others. I’ve also got it under good authority that she has a beautiful singing voice. 🙂
She is beginning to come out of her shell – just the other day, she learned to push her younger toddler-age sisters in their indoor swing! She is a super-fast learner, and seems to be an absolute sponge for learning, which is a great and powerful thing. She is getting adequate education in a mainstream private school for the blind (for those who don’t know, *Steph has anophthalmia – one missing eye – and micropthalmia, or an eye that is underdeveloped and small in size). She is loved by her foster family. To me, facing challenges – and I don’t mean her physically being blind – is what makes *Steph a superhero.
*Steph’s past is in the past. She has so much potential, and it is beginning to show in her. I think *Steph will always be in my heart, even when she is grown and out on her own, with a loving family she’s built and an amazing job she’s gotten with her awesome intellect and drive to always be learning new things.
Even if she remains at SCH (Sarah’s Covenant Homes) forever, I know she will be happy and content. She will make contributions to this world, and her home, no matter how big or small. And she will always be supported in any ways that are necessary to help her thrive. This is why sponsorship is an integral part of SCH. It provides a future for young ladies like *Stephanie and countless others.
Though *Steph lives in a loving foster family, SCH runs completely on donations, as they are a non-profit. Sponsorship is such a gift for each individual child because it ensures their expenses will be covered and SCH doesn’t have to worry as much about whether they can provide all the things she needs. Kids at SCH never age out, and would only live on their own in the event that they had all the necessary materials and tools made available to them.
If you can only support in spirit, that’s fine too. If you have a heart for advocacy, that’s another option. Every little bit helps.
An important part of SCH’s work is YOU! SCH relies on donations to keep running. Donation opportunities include child sponsors at any cost per month, from as low as $25/month. Sponsorship usually costs between $300 and $500 per child, depending on complexity of needs and which city they live in (Ongole or Hyderabad).
You can sponsor any child who needs additional funding at SCH by using the resources found here. Use these resources to get involved in other ways, such as becoming an advocate or volunteering. You can also become a medical sponsor (ideal for large groups or organizations who wish to support SCH) and donate toward monthly emergency medical expenses; or become an educational sponsor and donate toward a specific on-site school. Learn about other ways to give charitably to SCH here, and check back often for additional opportunities. You can also send gifts via Amazon India, make a one-time, general donation, pray if that is your calling, or volunteer at home or in India yourself by using these resources!
*A note about names: SCH uses online nicknames for the children in order to protect their identity, per Indian government guidelines which state that children in care may not have identifying photos of them on the internet, as well as no identifying information such as birth name, place of origin, etc.