Highlights of India Volunteer Trip

The Miracle Foundation recently returned from India, and another successful (and fun) volunteer trip. This was the first group volunteer trip to the Bethel Home, TMF’s newest home in South India.

The Miracle Foundation Ambassador volunteer group for March, 2012. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Evans.

TMF Founder Caroline Boudreaux and Travel Coordinator Barbara Joubert
share their Top Moments from the trip:

The boy who couldn’t smile

One of the housemothers was taking his picture and told him to smile.  He said he just couldn’t.  Then, TMF paid for these kids to go on their first ever outing. They went to a park, got a special treat and got to see some animals. On the way home,  the little boy went to the housemother and told her that a miracle had happened that day: he learned how to smile.

The pink bandana

Shubashree received a hot pink bandana. All day long, she would take off the bandana and carefully unfold it, smooth and then refold it. She would ask everyone to tie the bandana back around her head; but soon she would be taking it off and refolding it again, and asking others to refold it. She was so proud of that bandana!

Photo: Shubashree and TMF volunteer

Team spirit

The social status of kids living in an orphanage home is low; they are usually only the recipients of charity. The kids at Bethel were never asked to do anything, until TMF showed up and started a children’s club and Life Skills Education. “We gave them duties and make them responsible by implementing these clubs,” Caroline says. “The children take the clubs very seriously. They have a sense of themselves that the housemothers have never seen before. They’ve got a team spirit about them now.”

A paint brush for every child

The big project for the volunteer group at Bethel was painting murals in the school building. Many artists shined, and Barbara says that the kids are so talented that each one should have their own paintbrush, with their names on them!

Photo by TMF Ambassador Joanne Connerty

Hula hooping nuns

The Bethel home is run by nuns; one day, a field trip to the beach was planned for the volunteers, nuns and children. Volunteers had bought hula hoops for all the kids; but perhaps the nuns had more fun with them than the kids do. How often do you see nuns hula hooping on the beach?

Photo by TMF Ambassador Kathleen Evans

A special goodbye

As the volunteers were getting ready to leave, one wanted to say goodbye to the child who had been his painting helper. He asked for the child, and everyone went searching until that child was found, and brought to the bus so the volunteer could say goodbye to him. “That kid looked so honored that he was searched for,” said Barbara. To be sought out, to be asked for by name, to be noticed as special, is a very powerful thing for these children without their own homes and families.


About Shelley Seale

I'm Shelley, a journeyer and learner of the world, freelance journalist and author, yoga chick and dog lover. I pound the keyboard from home barefoot every day, and while my boss is demanding she also occasionally lets me have the early afternoon cocktail. I think not going into an office or collecting corporate paychecks are very good ideas, though not always profitable. I have written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, Texas Monthly and CNN, among others. Neither the New York Times nor Johnny Depp have answered my letters yet. I love yoga, indie movies, wine, and books, though not necessarily in that order. I believe in karma. Mean people suck. If I could have any dream job I would like to be a superhero. I have performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano and was once robbed by a monkey in Nepal. But, I don't know how to whistle. My mantra is "travel with a purpose."

Posted on April 16, 2012, in children, India, volunteer and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That’s what you always said too Shelley. Like Barbara said “to be sought out….asked for by name”. Just to know that someone truly acknowledges them personally & they are worthy of recognition & remembrance. What a powerful statement to their existence!!

  2. Thank You Miracle Foundation for bringing smiles to these wonderful kids. Your efforts are highly appreciated and much required to help such kids shine.

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