The truth is, SCH found me.
Even though I’ve never been there, I love SCH. I love what they are doing. I even love the children, none of whom I have ever met personally. They have value. They are awesome. They deserve adequate resources necessary for living. They deserve access to education, medical treatment, and all the other things children have by birthright in other places.
I know that India is not the only place where children experience poverty, or neglect, or abandonment, or any of the other tragic things that happen to children. I know India isn’t a perfect place, but nowhere is. I also know that it may seem hypocritical for me to talk so passionately about a place I’ve never been, nor experienced. But I love India. Why? By chance, I suppose.
I stumbled upon SCH years ago, while searching for information on primordial dwarfism, an extremely rare form of dwarfism. At that time, a little girl with the nickname *Aloe (who has since been adopted and now lives in America with her family!) had recently been diagnosed with Seckel Syndrome, a form of PD. So, I falling in love with India by extension was a chance happening as I learned and read more.
Actually, I think at this point, I’m more in love with the idea of India. The colours I’ve seen, the food I could probably not eat because of spice level, the smells I’ve imagined. The people I feel like I have ‘met’ through reading about them. I never want to feel like I am appropriating Indian culture, of course, because I would never claim to be an expert on the subject. It could have been anywhere with which I had fallen in love, but India happened to be the place. And it’s been stuck in my heart ever since. I long to go there, to serve, to experience, to have my life and outlook changed.
I have my own disability, an invisible cluster of disorders collectively known as fibromyalgia. I know I fought hard for a diagnosis, for someone to believe me and not brush me off as just having typical ‘growing pains’, and can’t imagine being treated as less just because I have a body that limits me.
People with disabilities are just like everyone else; we just do some things differently. Isn’t diversity what makes the world around us so great? I want to be able to use my experiences with disability to bring awareness to situations where the disabled may be treated poorly just because they are disabled. I will fight for people to see the worth in those with disabilities.
I know advocacy may seem like such a little thing, but it’s not. Even though I am just one small, insignificant person on this huge revolving Earth, I like to think I am contributing to an overall global difference being made. Advocating for equal education. Advocating to fulfill the basic human needs of people I’ve never met.
Advocating to give each and every person currently on this Earth basic autonomy and respect, regardless of disability, station, race, skin color, gender, biological sex… so, the overall thing I am trying to convey with this post is that I will be doing a series of blog posts based around SCH.
In order to establish a way to fulfill my goal, I’ll start some posts which feature the kids that I feel most affected by, which is to say, children in foster families with which I am semi-familiar through the reading of their blogs. Please don’t think ill of me for saying this, but for me there is something powerful about overcoming a part of you that puts you at a disadvantage that others do not experience.
In India, people with disabilities are looked down upon by a large portion of society, for various reasons. They are often considered part of the lowest class by default, and even more so if they do not have families. In certain religions, their births are seen as punishment for wrongdoings of the parents. They are not looked upon with the worth they have; they are looked upon as burdens. They are often abandoned at birth, or some time thereafter, even if their family loves them, yet can no longer care for them. There are not many resources for people with disabilities in India, though this is beginning to change.
There are, of course, other factors in play here. But for these reasons, as well as somewhat simplifying my goal of covering the children and young adults yet to be sponsored at SCH, I am going to work by groups. This is not to belittle or minimize a particular disability that a child or young adult may have; it is a simplification of my advocacy, so that those children who still need sponsors can be made visible. It raises awareness about those specific disabilities, as well. I feel this is the most effective way for me to do what I plan to do. I hope this post will serve as a summary for what my plans are, as well as to serve as a jumping-off point for readers.
An important part of SCH’s work is YOU! SCH relies on donations to keep running. Donation opportunities include child sponsorship 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 the city in which they live (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 an educational sponsor and donate toward a specific on-site school; or, sponsor a birthday party! Also, here is the link to SCH’s general fund. In addition, you can give a one-time donation to any home by visiting each home’s landing page on SCH’s official website, under the heading “Meet Our Kids”! Learn about other ways to give charitably to SCH here, and check back often for additional opportunities.
*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.