“Hello! How are you doing?”
“Hello! How are you doing,” they replied back.
Not quite perfect, but it’s a foreign language to them and they’re still learning. Besides, the excitement on the faces of the kids at Miracle Children’s Home implied they were having a good time half a world away in Kadali, India.
Their country is like many: a booming population trying to find its economic footing in a developing world. That’s easier said than done, but the math is simple enough to understand. When you have more people than money for people, some people get left out. And that causes problems – poverty, abandonment and abuse.
Enter Pastor Shravan.
A vision of heart, mind and skill
Pastor Shravan opened MCH in 2001 as an extension of his Christian mission, Miracle Ministries. His goal was to give those children who are left behind a chance to live, grow and develop in a safe and comfortable environment, instilling character and values through Bible study and sermons. Faith obviously plays a big role in Shravan’s vision, but he understands the children he watches over will also need skills and education if they are to be successful when they leave MCH.
The local school the children attend is nearby, but Shravan knows what the kids learn outside the classroom is just as important as what they learn inside the classroom. With MCH Wi-Fi enabled, Shravan gives the kids time each day to experience technology through Gift1 tablets. He sees this time as critical to developing the skills they’ll need to be functional in a future work environment, but he knows it’s probably still not quite enough. Ultimately, he would like to expand and found an IT school for the underprivileged.
The youth of today
At present, MCH is home to 20 kids, ages ranging from first to tenth grade, with a couple of college-age students still residing at the facility from time-to-time (one current student is studying electrical engineering and three female alums have gone on to become nurses).
Though the Wi-Fi and power are sometimes spotty – the nearest city is a three hour drive away – that doesn’t seem to slow the children down too much when it comes to their tablets. They’re literally taking learning into their own hands, downloading apps and games. In school, learning to read and write in English is mandatory, but because of the tablets, they are able to download apps that teach them how to speak it.
Connecting two worlds
It was late February when the Gift1 team spoke with Pastor Shravan, his wife and the residents of MCH over Skype. It’s hard to experience a place through an online video chat (especially the warmth), but you don’t need to be standing next to someone in person to experience their smiles, excitement, joy and passion. And that’s exactly what we saw expressed in the faces and hearts of our friends in India. We were thousands of miles away, yet we were two worlds connected. That’s the beauty of technology, and the beauty of Shravan’s vision. Technology can bring us together – educationally, economically, emotionally and communicatively.
But it can’t just be Shravan’s vision. We must all share in it. Perhaps if we do that, more people will have a good answer to our original question:
“Hello! How are you doing?”