This Sunday we celebrate 'International Women's Day' - a global day where we get to honour and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s a timely opportunity because here at ‘Project Help India’, we are right in the thick of our preparations for SHINE 2020 – a conference in April which will empower and equip women to understand their value, worth and purpose. Words really cannot express the impact that this conference has on the 500 or so women delegates, who live in the Kotdwara and Bijnor slums and surrounding Himalayan jungle villages in India.
I am delighted to introduce you to three remarkable women, Aasma, Najmeen and Asha. Behind their beautiful smiles, each woman has a powerful, heartbreaking, yet inspiring story. You will cry as you read about what each has suffered, what they have to endure on a daily basis and what each has overcome and achieved. The hardships faced by these women show why I love to help and why my life is so much the richer and better from knowing them.
Aasma – disabled, a fighter, determined for her daughters to be educated. After having three daughters, Aasma was thrown out of the house by her in-laws for only having girls. Despite her disability, she has fought to earn a small wage, ironing clothes, which is enough to rent a single room in the slums. Aasma’s husband
gambles and does not give her any income and does not contribute to the rent, or pay for family necessities. Now with four children, sadly one of her daughters has a significant intellectual disability. But Aasma has managed to get all of her daughters to school. They are learning thanks to their remarkable mother.
For SHINE Conference Aasma says last year she joined in with the dancing. It was the first time that she had ever been on a stage. She says SHINE is like a festival for her. Because of the conference she was able to make her daughters understand about their personal hygiene and health. Follow this link to read more about Aasma’s story.
Najmeen – Beautiful Spirit, Strength and Dignity
Najmeen is 40 years old. She is a single mother with 5 children. After her husband died of heart disease 12 years ago, Najmeen had to sell her home, her jewellery and possessions to pay off the many medical bills. Her 5 young children were hungry and homeless. Her seven year old son (12 years old at the time) had to become a vegetable seller. Najmeen worked hard as a house maid. She also suffers from epilepsy which is now so bad, she cannot work. Her sons work and look after their mother. All six family members live in a small rented room. Najmeen loved attending SHINE last year and she cannot wait for this year’s conference. She loved the sense of equality with no discrimination.
“At SHINE she loved the freedom and joy of dancing where she forgot about all of her sorrows and troubles.”
Follow this link to read more about Najmeen’s story.
Asha - A Warrior Mother and Community Leader
Despite recently having a major heart attack, Asha works hard and fights for her five children, one who has had significant health issues all his life. She is determined, kind, generous and has the heart of a saint. Asha loves to attend SHINE every year. She says that the conference gives her value and an understanding of the purpose in her life. At SHINE she has learnt a great deal about women’s health and hygiene. She was given a sanitary pad for the first time ever at SHINE. She shares her knowledge with the many women and girls who live in her slum community of Kotdwara. Asha is a woman who simply by her character and example, has become a leader and an influencer in the slums. SHINE has given her the strength that she needs to endure the many hardships that she faces every day.
Follow this link to read more about Asha’s story.
PLEASE HELP US TO HELP THESE AND MANY OTHER WOMEN
In April the Thomas Family and a team of other Aussies will be heading to Kotdwara in North India for Project Help India’s third Women's SHINE Conference. This conference is an important aspect of the 'Project Help India' vision, and we are asking for your help to make this possible. Most of the Conference delegates are women who live in slums or jungle villages, in terrible poverty. These women can't afford to pay, so we are not charging them. We want to bless them and give them an experience they will never forget. Teenage girls, mothers, grandmothers, our teachers and community leaders will be attending. Our aim is to empower women in all spheres of life. Might you be able to sponsor one woman for $10, five women for $50 or ten women for $100, for them to be able to attend SHINE Conference. You will be changing their lives in a significant way.
Donate - Your tax deductible donation can be made Here
As you click this link ensure that you are donating to (WYG-IND-PHI-2019) and please let us know (by replying to this email) if you make a donation because we would love to thank you. Privacy legislation does not permit us to know that you've donated unless you tell us.
OR if tax deductibility is not required, your EFT donation can be made at
BSB: 062 230 (Commonwealth Bank Randwick)
Account: 1134 1909
Account Name: Project Help India
Please write your name in the reference section so we can thank you.
Thanks so much love Doug
SHINE 2020 - Stronger Women for a Stronger India
and a stronger India