Sponsorship of Children
During our initial visit to India in 2011, we learned how extreme poverty and lack of health care affected children and their families dealing with complications of sickle cell disease. A visit to a family in a rural area of Valsad, Gujarat was a huge eye opener. The family home was a little hut made of bamboo sticks, dry grass, no windows, a floor made of cow manure, no running water or electricity, and no toilet. The father, mother, and three young children lived in a space approximately (how many square feet?). The father was a day laborer in the construction industry, and he made $1.65/day when he was able to find work. Mom provided fulltime care the children. Two of the children were suffering with sickle cell disease and required frequent visits to government run free hospital. The government hospital was overcrowded with patients, severely under-staffed, and often bereft of life-saving medications. Whenever one of the kids got sick, both Mom and Dad would have to go to the hospital with all three children because there was no one to take care of them at home. The hospitals had no accommodations for the parents or children to stay and no food for them to eat. The children had to miss the school and the father had to miss the work, leaving the family completely destitute. The situation was so precarious that the mother refused to send the children to school during the rainy season, fearing that the cold rain would trigger a pain crisis. This would initiate another long family long trip to the government hospital, missed school days for the other children, and more days of work and pay missed for the father. Seeing this persistent cycle of sickness and poverty made us realize how blessed we are in the USA and how much of an impact we could make with just a few dollars each month. Consequently, we decided to adopt ten families whose children had sickle cell disease.
Valsad Blood Bank, Dr. Komal Desai, and Pooja Desai helped HPF identify ten families whose situations were similar to the family mentioned above. Through the family adoption program, HPF provides the cost of hospitalization at a private hospital, life saving medications, transportation costs to attend school, costs for school books, back packs, school uniforms, crutches, raised toilet seats, and more. Our goal is to provide resources to families in extreme poverty, bring hope and smiles to their faces, and ultimately share the blessings of God with His children.