Comments from first-hand witnesses
What a wonderful experience to walk through the gates of the Center and see the light in the eyes of « Our Children » who were lined up in two rows, their hands joined together welcoming me to their abode, their secure home, their school of learning, their playground.
Here they finally have the right and honour to be children, free from pain, free to play, free to dream of a better tomorrow, free to learn, and receive an education that will one day give them the possibility of transcending the fate of their past generations. I saw pride in their eyes, because they finally have the free choice to decide for a better future, and break the circle of slavery and ignorance in which they were born. They have the possibility of becoming leaders, of helping their parents find financial peace and equality.
A few days before my departure from the Center, we had a parent reunion. All the parents were present, and the children were beaming with pride and happiness at the sight of their own. In return, the same sentiments were mirrored in the parents’ faces; the love permeating the atmosphere was truly tangible. The children performed dances, sang, and recited poetry which spoke of freedom from bondage and slavery. Some of the parents spoke about the blessings they received because of CCI’s presence in the community, and the possibility for all their children to have a chance for a better life, an opportunity that they could never have dreamt of in the past but which is now conceivable.
Every day of my stay was unique: so many delightful experiences to share and which were shared. I can only say ‘Thank you’ to all of you who have supported us to help our children become the possible leaders of tomorrow that they are. You are all part and parcel of the reason why they have a chance for freedom.
-- Serge Lusignan
President of Children's Care International
January 1st, 2006: Here I am, newly arrived at the Rainbow Center to spend about 10 days doing the exact opposite of my daily routine in Quebec. What a way to start the New Year!
This is my first visit to the Center and I am very happy to really get to know it. It’s so different from the photos I had seen of it; it’s so much more … real!
The entrance is along the edge of a highway and there is nothing around the lot: No crops, no houses. I can just make out the outline of CCI’s blue building peaking through a bunch of diseased palm trees, which will soon be cut down. The children are crowded at the gate, impatient as I am for us to meet. They greet me with an earsplitting, “Good morning Sir!”
Once the cake I brought from town is doled out and gobbled up, I am treated to a musical show with songs and percussion instruments. One of the school children wrote a sing-along song to the tune of the Rainbow Center’s anthem, in Telugu, the language of Andhra Pradesh. Everyone sings along with pride. Then more songs follow, tunes from their home villages.
My arrival coincides with the children’s exam period. During the next few days, the entire Center vibrates with frenetic revisions. The boarders learn and recite their lessons everywhere in the house, in the yard, in the morning just after getting up, at night just before going to bed. The teachers are there to answer questions and help.
One of my goals in coming here was to report on the Center’s daily routine for the benefit of our Canadian sponsors. So I am bringing back some audio material (those memorable welcome songs) and a lot of photos, so that I can testify to some of the current big changes at the Rainbow Center: Roxana Robin is supervising the construction of a new building, which will enable the Center to triple in capacity.
I also accompanied Roxana when she went to a fishing village to identify child candidates. It’s a rather tedious task since one has to go through an interpreter-social worker, a village representative, and then the family, which all makes for lengthy and drawn out communications. The purpose is to ensure that each child meets CCI’s admission criteria.
I also painted AIPE/CCI’s logo on the front of the Center and took some pictures of all the children with their names: There were some new little ones, those that Roxana was telling us about in her newsletter dated December 23, 2005.
Despite the lulling rhythm of Indian life, I simply didn’t see the time fly by.
I was uplifted by my stay, and gained much respect for what CCI is able to do: Concretely alter the future of children less fortunate than others. Their smiles will from now on shine in my heart. Being a volunteer makes it possible to receive much more than one can imagine.
I did my end-of-BA internship with CCI. I went to India with Roxana in the spring of 2003, to open a new home: The Rainbow Center. This was not only a golden opportunity for me to put into practice all those notions I had learned at University, but also a chance to put them to the test against other methods.
The apprenticeship that ensued transcended the professional, and literally coloured my entire being: Attitude, behaviour, perception, etc. I also learned what is often not taught at school: To follow one’s heart. In this respect, the children of India and of the Rainbow Center certainly won over mine—because we give as much as we receive, and that’s exactly the type of give and take provided by CCI.
The first time I met Roxana Robin, she interviewed me: her organization
needed a translator and I was looking for a way to gain practical
experience. I initially wanted to find work that paid, but two
years have passed and I am still doing volunteer work for Children’s
Care International (CCI). I fell under Roxana’s spell:
her soft-spoken and oddly comforting voice. She is genuine and
her love for children is obvious. I just knew I had to be a part
(in my own way) of her cause, which is to help child victims
of slavery, sexual tourism, and exploitation.
In the past couple
of years, I have translated numerous documents, reports, letters,
and certain portions of CCI’s website.
Although the work I do is not directly linked to the children,
I believe it does help the organizers promote their cause and
gain the crucial help that ultimately benefits the helpless victims.
humbling to see how dedicated some people are to making the world
that much better–They are the role models worth
looking up to. It’s a good feeling knowing that the little
I do is helping along an amazing cause.
-- Angelina Bondi
B.Sc. Food Science, B.A. Translation