HEAL’s mission to offer hope and support to orphaned and poverty-stricken children in India has always been based upon the need for education.
At the core of HEAL’s work with under-privileged children in Andhra Pradesh is the belief that education is the key to emancipate those people struggling at the bottom of the social order.
So what better way to celebrate 20 years as a charity than to hear reports of a string of success stories from students at the HEAL Children’s Village in Guntur?
Veena Agarwal meets up with her family's sponsor child Srinivas Mande, acompanied by her friend Charlotte and HEAL administrator Mrs Marudwathi
Senior administrator at the Village, Mrs Marudwathi, has already delivered the excellent news that all HEAL children
passed the 10th public board examinations with good grades – music to the ears of Dr Satya Prasad Koneru, who founded the charity back in 1992.
But the real reward for long-term child sponsors has been to see children who arrived into HEAL’s care years ago, often from extremely distressing backgrounds, developing into strong, independant young adults with bright futures ahead of them.
Veena Agarwal, a medical student in the UK and the daughter of child sponsors Rita and Arun, recently spent five days visiting the HEAL Children’s Village along with her friend Charlotte, and got to meet up with Srinivas Mande, who has matured into a fine young man with the help of her family’s support.
“It’s amazing to see the difference this community can make to transform the lives of these underprivileged children and especially how many of them are going on to higher education,” said Veena.
“The children are fun, loving, enthusiastic and hard-working and we had so much fun playing with them and teaching. Ms Manga Devi, Mrs Marudwathi and Dr Satya Prasad are an inspiration to us all.
“They and all the staff volunteers show us what kindness, dedication and sacrifices have been made for the children. The beautiful gardens and playground and inspiring quotes create a lovely environment to live in. It’s exciting, too, to see the progress at HEAL Paradise and how many more children will benefit.
“I had the exciting opportunity to finally meet my family’s sponsor child Srinivas and to hear his success story and big ambitions for the future which I have no doubt he will achieve!”
Successful HEAL student Srinivas Mande
Srinivas Mande was taken under HEAL’s wing when his parents, who worked in a stone quarry, were no longer able to send him to school after his father became ill.
“I faced a lot of problems in childhood, but at the same time God had blessed me with people to encourage me in the tough times,” says Srinivas.
“I was admitted into Nandana, a free Telugu Medium school, run by Sri Venkateswara Bala Kuteer. By that time my father’s health was spoiled and he could not even feed the family.
“Then I was taken into the lap of Heal, and after that I found no need to look back for anything. Our teachers encouraged me in every aspect.
“I stood 1st in the school in the 10th Board Examination and I got admission into one of the best government junior residential colleges at Nagarjuna Sagar where I completed my Intermediate (+2) with good marks.
“I have since completed a three years Commerce Bachelor Degree in Sattenapalli, a place 25kms away from Guntur. I have written an entrance test into M.B.A. and now want to do a part-time job to continue my further education.”
Veena and Srinivas at the HEAL Children's Village
Expressing his gratitude for the support he has received over the years, Srinivas added that he plans to put something back into his community in the future.
“When my school gave me strength to stand firmly with good foundation, HEAL helped me to build a strong, career-orientated future.
“Now I am in a self-reliant position and I strongly hope I can help some of the needy children who are struggling hard in life. Thanks to my school, HEAL and my kind sponsors Aunt Rita and Uncle Arun.”
To read more recent success stories from the HEAL Children’s Village, visit our Child Poverty page at www.heal.co.uk/child-poverty and click on the Case Studies button. For more information on sponsoring a child, please go to www.heal.co.uk/sponsor-a-child and find out how you can make a difference.