A team of twelve young people and youth leaders from Christ Church Downend have recently returned from an amazing working visit to the Haven Home orphanage and nearby mountain villages in Eastern India and would like to thank all the compassionate people in Downend, Bromley Heath, Mangotsfield and Staple Hill who donated children’s clothes, shoes and toys, along with financial gifts.
The team, including five pupils from Downend School, were able to see the significant impact these gifts will make as they spent 16 days in India, covering over 10,000 miles in travel through air and over land. The main focus of the trip was to serve the communities they visited and to demonstrate God’s love in practical ways, in so doing so, they aimed to be a blessing and an encouragement to all they met.
Whilst at Haven Home, the team set up a computer room, taught the children English and computer skills and taught the staff first aid. The team and the children had great fun playing together, especially with the parachute kindly donated by Christ Church Junior School. The team also led a fantastic sports day which everyone enjoyed. The team worked predominantly at Haven Home, but also within rural village projects where they were able to open a bore-well and run health clinics. The bore-well will make a huge difference; providing clean drinking water to a very remote rural community. They previously had to walk a kilometre to a stream and even further in dry weather.
Youth leader Diane Paddon said; “I can't find the words to describe how wonderful Haven Home is. The children are so loving, so full of fun and thriving in what is a very happy home. The family and staff are men and women of deep faith, integrity, compassion and humour. Their hospitality went above and beyond”.
The visit had a significant impact on all the young people who went. Phoebe, who started the trip aged 17 and finished it aged 18 says, “My time at Haven Home has been life changing. I still can't get over how lovely all of the children are despite the challenges they have faced at such young ages. Even though each morning involved much earlier starts than when I am at home, the children always brought the energy out of me with their excited approaches and drive to learn, as well as their hugs and 'hello sister' welcome”. Similarly, Josh (aged 12), the youngest member of the team, said; “I loved how welcomed we were when we arrived and how much love there was in this place. My personal favourite day was the sports day, as we all got to encourage the kids and watch them participate in the sports”.