Place: Northern Virginia, USA
...a trip down to the basement.....toys carefully chosen for durability by the wise parent......and hesitantly parted with by the children....isn't it funny how a toy/game, that has been at the bottom of the toy chest for months/years, suddenly becomes "my favorite" when it is time for it to be culled.....it is a scene I am most familiar with....it happened in our house on several occasions......a common scene that takes place in homes across the landscape of "Suburbia USA".
Most of the time, toys and games like these make it to the community/church garage sale......or make their way to the Salvation Army or Goodwill locations. Drop off bins are sometimes stuffed to overflowing capacity with toys and clothing items that are donated by caring people who wish for these items to have an extended life cycle beyond the need that it filled in their home. These acts of generosity/charity never quite fulfill.....as many times as I have carried things myself to donation centers.....and while I knew that my donation would make a difference in the lives of several....I never saw the smile......I never saw the end result of my donation. Think about it....have you?This box...had a different destination.....it was filled to capacity.....securely taped to endure the rigors of air travel.... and the loading and unloading of three separate airplanes....it was X-rayed and viewed by several eyes.....the box was touched by countless numbers of hands.....it made its way from the United States.....briefly stopped in Moscow, Russia for two/three days....and finally, after traveling almost 13,000 miles, it made it to the Govindpuri area of New Delhi, India.....100 yards or so, down a well kept alley off of a very busy street...past the lady sitting on the ground sifting lentils.....each step bringing us closer to the voices of children learning to count in English from behind the open windows and doors.......to "Project Why".When most of the people in Delhi are just getting started, the dedicated founder, Anouradha Bakshi, has been up at least four hours...organizing her day,planning the next, touching the lives of those who have stepped through the doors and slipped off their sandals/shoes,raising money and dreaming about the future.
Anu, as she is affectionately known, has a heart the size of India, and dreams as large as the world, but runs an organization that serves hundreds on what amounts to just a few U.S. dollars a day.The children that she serves and the lives she has touched are countless......but unlike the commercials for "Visa" credit cards that end with the word "Priceless", the reality is....making a difference in the lives of others.....in the real world......has some cost associated with it.
This blog entry is not meant to be self serving....or to bring attention to a caring family from the United States.....I hope that those who read this get a true understanding of what a difference can be made in the lives of others through small acts of kindness and charity.....whether it be in from a box filled filled with toys carried halfway around the world.....donating your time......or by opening your wallet or purse.For those of you who read this and are touched in anyway.....inspired to do something beyond your community, to reach out past the borders of the US...do something. If you are traveling abroad....do some research before you leave. If you are unsure or feel that it may be too complicated or you just want the assurance that your donation will be well received and will reach the right people...maybe feel compelled to donate to Project Why......I can personally vouch for it's legitimacy and the good work that is being done.....help if you can. See the links below.
Just look at this smile!