Update August 2018:
*Mae is starting year 2 of school this year! Read the edited post below to learn more.
Update August 2017:
Here is a photo of *Mae getting ready for the first day of school!
PD: *Mae wears her black school dress w/ yellow sailor collar & matching bow in 1 of her pigtails. She smiles, tossing her arms up. A sticker covers her face, & lines drawn over her head look like a shining sun.
*Mae is a very bright girl who lives at Sarah’s Covenant Homes (at Courage Purple) with her co-foster moms, Lydia and Merissa, 12 foster siblings, and Merissa’s adopted daughter, Divya! *Mae was born blind; she has a condition called anophthalmia, meaning her eyeballs did not form in-utero. She is also spunky, smart, funny, and has so many amazing qualities, including lighting up her foster home and the world!
*Mae’s situation is special, because she also routinely visits her biological father and siblings in the community on weekends! She has really taken off in the areas of language and learning over the past few months since she has come to live at SCH. She has gained weight, learned to speak English fluently (but also speaks Telugu fluently, making her bilingual), learned to walk and use a guide cane, is learning to read Braille at a remarkable rate, and so much more.
Former foster mother Nikki and current foster mother Merissa found an amazing school which will accept *Mae, even though she is blind. Merissa’s daugther, Divya, also attends this school! Divya has CP. This is big in India, as people with disabilities are often not educated unless they live with their parents and the family has a good income. Inclusion in mainstream schools is something which SCH is really trying to encourage, especially because of how enriching it is for ALL children to receive an education alongside peers, as well as see diversity in their world.
This school currently has had a handful of blind students, and is proud to have a blind alumnus who now works for Microsoft! They are even having *Mae attend without a personal school aide, as they are equipped to teach blind kids. This is also pretty rare in a lot of India – SCH must provide school aides to other children with disabilities who attend different schools in the community.
*Mae’s foster moms need to fundraise to get her to school each and every day!
From former foster mom Nikki’s Facebook post:
*Mae is really thriving. Her language is taking off, she’s becoming more independent. We are excited that many visits have been arranged with her father and sister, and most importantly, she is happy and becoming a confident little girl.
We are very excited that a school has accepted *Mae for next year (starting in 6 weeks). She will do 5 days a week for full days, which is going to be so wonderful and challenging for her. The best thing about this school is that they have an awesome inclusion policy and prefer us not to send an aide with her as their staff are equipped. So she will get on the bus at 7:30 in the morning with all the other 5- and 6-year-olds and will come home at 3:30 just like the other kids. We love this!! And of all our kids, *Mae is ready. There are a handful of other blind children currently at the school, and another blind student who graduated and now works at Microsoft. We are so excited!!
PD: *Mae stands on a balcony, holding the rail w/ L hand, R hand on her hip, wearing a traditional Indian outfit. Her top is purple w/ gold trim & orange sleeves, & her skirt is orange w/ gold trim. She has 2 tiny pigtails w/ purple flowers. Her face is covered to protect her identity, but you can see her smile!
If you’d like to help sponsor a child’s education at SCH, here are some resources!
Paraphrased from SCH’s official education sponsorship page:
Sending a child to school can cost between $65 to $100 a month, dependent on the school and grade level. This covers the cost of uniforms, books, supplies, tuition, and transportation to and from school. By joining the education sponsorship team, you can invest in the future of a child – sponsorship starts as low as $25 a month. By becoming a education sponsor, you are making a brighter future for our kids. In India, being able to attend school is a privilege, rather than a right. Being both an orphan and a child with special needs, it is even more rare to have the opportunity. Your monthly support ensures our children [are] able to have that privilege.
The chance to learn and develop life skills is crucial, especially for children with disabilities. Being able to attend school gives children a sense of pride & accomplishment. We set goals to allow consistent improvement, while instilling a sense of value and purpose. Simply being able to attend school helps our kids break out of the stigma associated with disability. Over the years, we have been able to see remarkable improvements in development! Your monthly support helps open the door to a bright future that can only be made possible by a quality education.
How to Help
- Donate monthly or one-time to Anjali School for the Blind, an on-site school at Courage Home primarily for children with vision disabilities or who are blind, here. Meet a teacher and student, while you’re visiting!
- Donate monthly or one-time to Little Lights Special School, an on-site school at Anchor Home, here.
- Help kids in the home reach their educational goals by purchasing needed items from this Amazon.in list.
- Donate monthly or one-time to New Horizons Vocational School, an on-site school at Jubilee, Faith, and Victory Homes, here.
- Find an Amazon.in supplies list to send gifts for the on-site vocational program(s) here.
- Find an Amazon.in supplies list to send gifts for all the on-site educational school programs here.
- Some of the girls at Joy, Truth, and Faith Homes attend mainstream private schools. Other children at SCH learn through on-site tutors who work one-on-one or in small groups.
- If interested in supporting a child’s education, please visit the resources at the bottom of this page to learn how to sponsor a child monthly. Sponsorship contributes to each child’s education individually!
If you are interested in learning more about how to adopt from India, start by visiting these resources:
And don’t forget to conduct your own research!
Educate a girl, change the world.
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 in which city 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 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 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.
*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.