In addition to learning from Bonnie at Child Haven International (CHI), I’ve been excited that I can give back to CHI as part of United World Voices activities throughout this trip. At each of the homes, I have been conducting eye screening to determine if there are children that may need glasses or more detailed eye exams. Poor vision hinders the ability of a child to learn in the classroom and to develop the knowledge and skills that will lead to a better life, so identifying those that need corrective lenses is really critical. Over the past four weeks, I’ve provided eye screening to over 600 children in 5 homes and about 20 of those kids require some kind of vision correction. At each location, I’ve also taught the administrators and nurses in the CHI homes how to conduct the basic eye screening so that they can routinely screen the children themselves as part of their regular healthcare check-ups. Education and life skills is a key program element of United World Voices and good eyesight is fundamental to achieving that learning and launching children on a positive path. On behalf of UWV, I’ve been privileged on this trip to be able to support the children in each of the CHI homes with this critical service.
I have had the pleasure and privilege, over the past few weeks, to travel with and learn from Bonnie Cappuccino and Robin Cappuccino of Child Haven International (CHI) as I visited the homes for destitute children and skills development centers they operate or support in India, Nepal, Tibet, and Bangladesh. Bonnie founded CHI together with her husband Fred in 1985 and they have developed a Ghandian model of support for children and women that complements my goals at United World Voices. Their experience is helping to shine a light on the challenges that will need to be overcome in local operations and working with local partners.
The women at Manav Vikas Parishad (MVP) currently produce sanitary napkins which they sell at reasonable cost within the local community to support the MVP operations and earn some personal income. While visiting with Bonnie Cappuccino from CHI, we provided a sample design for a yoga mat bag that the women could learn to produce and that could be sold to generate additional income.
I was excited to visit Manav Vikas Parishad (MVP) in Ghaziabad, India in November 2014 to see the new sewing machines that were purchased with UWV funding. MVP is an organization supported by Child Haven International (CHI) that provides a community development program for women. MVP trains local women in sewing skills and provides basic healthcare programmes. The women learn basic sewing skills in a six month course after which they have the knowledge to work with other tailors or sew for their families.