By Andrea Parker
It was a great privilege to return to BSS this February 2011. I first visited in April 2010 with four friends, and returned ten months later with a group of seven. What a difference a year has made to the children of Buddha’s Smile School.
The work going on at BSS truly is a transformative process. We felt fortunate to see the spectrum of change in the children. On this trip we met two little boys who were new to school, and they seemed nearly wild. Rajan explained they are like many of her student when they first arrive. These boys had had very little parenting or socialization at their home in the garbage dump. Rajan even had to change one of the boy’s names; his given name was not an appropriate name to be said aloud. We saw both Rajan and the teachers pour time, effort and love into these boys to help get them to a place where they could sit still, listen and learn.
I was so impressed with Rajan and the teacher’s patience with these two boys. Every student at BSS receives this same life changing love and attention – and for many, this is the only place they receive love.
In contrast, we met about 25 graduates of BSS who are now attending middle school. Their eyes are bright and their spirits are high. They told us they want to become doctors, policemen, businessmen and one hopes to become the president of India.
Rajan believes that education is the way out of the rigid caste system of India. Because of Rajan and BSS, hundreds of children now hope and dream for a better tomorrow in the midst of a social system that tells them they are worthless.
I eagerly look forward to our team’s visit next year to see the next steps in the journey of transformation for these precious children.