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My favourite thing about #India is hands down the colours and textures. They are bold and fearless! I revel in it. Last time I was here 4 years ago, I got some beautiful coloured scarves (that I bought back with me) and long tops. This time I found this gorgeous patterned dress. The weather is hot here and these dresses/pants combo are so comfy to wear, plus they are so pretty too. #everydaystyle #wvaindia

I was chatting to mothers in a government run school in the city with 1,200 children in attendance (these are the adorable 2-5's at rest time). @worldvisionindia has been partnering with the government to improve the spaces for the children for six years now. Examples are painting the rooms with educational murals, providing educational toys and other materials and furniture, making spaces for hygiene, play and learning. The mothers said there are two things that have changed since World Vision started work here. 1: they feel safe sending their kids here. And 2: the kids are learning more because of the better resources for teachers here. I resonated because I'm a mother too, and that desire to keep your kids safe is strong. And you want them to thrive and learn and grow and have all the potential! @worldvisionindia @worldvisionaus #wvaindia #wvabloggers

We visited a village yesterday where drinking addiction is a big problem for men. Before we head out to the village, we had a meeting at the @worldvisionindia office where the staff shared the deep challenges in tackling alcohol addiction, most significantly, the reluctance and resistance of men to partake in the program or recognise the issue. Boys of just 10 start drinking (that's 1 year older than my son) and so by the age on 30, they are deeply addicted. I enjoy hearing about all World Vision projects, but I have a special heart for women and children centred projects...but what I found when I listened to the stories of these men is how much it IS about women and children. Many of the men said it was their children who motivated them to seek help and the beaming smiles of the women spoke without me needing to understand the words. And what is interesting about this village is how it started small, and the incredibly positive changes were so evident, it motivated more men to complete the program which consists of 10 days of rehab, and then another 2 years of follow up. This village has about 121 families and over 50 of them are deeply affected by alcohol addiction. 10 men have already completed the program, and they encourage others to do the same by their example and words of encouragement. It's one of those projects that spreads like a pebble-dropped-in-water ripple. The World Vision field staff member working tirelessly in this area is a beautiful woman called Sudah. Time and time again as these families shared their stories, her name would pop up in honour and gratefulness. You can see 4 pictures here of 4 mothers with their beautiful children, all of them share how harmony entered their family life in replace of violence and strife. They hold sleeping bubs in their arms, they wrangle robust siblings, they shush and smile at their little ones. I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived at this project, but I know what I didn't expect. I didn't expect to be so inspired by the openness of the families as they talked about their challenges and I couldn't anticipate what a privilege it would be to partake of their new found joy. #wvaindia

Ready to board the overnight train to Pudokatti. 😁
#wvabloggers #wvaindia #travel #india #trains

Beautiful children in their classroom. Kids here LOVE having their photo taken.
#wvaindia #wvabloggers #india #education #kids

New post up on my blog. Thank you to those that have supported us on this trip. Means so much. Heading home today and I can't wait to seems family 😍😍 #wvabloggers #wvaindia (link in profile)

I've seen a lot of these bright pots around. When I chatted with one of the world vision staff, they said they use these pots because they only get a certain amount of water each day to use for everything: washing, cleaning, drinking etc.
Water is filled into tanks each week and rationed out amongst the residents each day. Just one of the many challenges faced by residents here. #wvaindia #wvabloggers


When I was travelling in India with @worldvisionaus, there were two things that I found vital to have with me at all times. Water and hand sanitiser. I chose to buy and take with me the Thankyou brands for my staples. I'm bummed I wasn't at #pbevent to hear @thankyouaus speak yesterday as I've heard they were so inspirational!! 💕 I love that purchasing the Thankyou products provides real help and hope to others around the world that need it. Such an easy way for us to help make a real difference. Look out for the Thankyou products when you shop and swap to make a positive impact. #notsponsored #thankyou #makeadifference #everylittlebitcounts #wvabloggers #wvaindia

Rows and rows of drying washing. There are 356 families who live here and laundering as an occupation has been in these families for generations. They collect clothes from the surrounding residents and wash and dry the clothes. The mothers I spoke to here said they wanted more for their children. They didn't want them to be stuck in the same occupation. #wvaindia #wvabloggers @worldvisionaus @worldvisionindia

It was an honour to meet these courageous mothers who are fighting for a better future for their children. Empowering women has shown to be an effective way to affect change (and I'm not surprised). One way @worldvisionindia does this is by establishing Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the area. @learnwithplayathome asked one of the ladies how these groups typically form, and they said there are usually 2 or 3 that are really keen so it starts there, and then others who want to join can (up to about 15-20). Members have to want to be part of it (not forced) or it won't work. World Vision teachers them how to run it and offer support along the way but the members own it. World Vision is all about partnering, not just giving. It's about empowering, not controlling. So the onus is on the people being supported rather and that contributes to long term (true) positive change.

The SHGs meet monthly to discuss issues, and also put money aside as a group into savings. For example, one group explained they all put 100 rupees in each month, that's 15 of them, so 1,500 rupees is saved each month. This means the women have a pool of funds to access and don't need to go to the money lenders when unexpected expenses arise. Getting caught in a cycle with money lenders is a very big issue here. It's all very official. Members can't just loan money from the pool whenever. You have to apply for the loan, through the group process. The SHG discuss it together at the meeting, agree on the outcome and record everything carefully. As they explained it all, I could see what pride they take in their groups.
One group share they are doing so well, they are able to support the children's club with snacks, so they aren't just helping each other, but giving back to their community. These women have to fight so hard for their children to give them better futures, and they are. They are amazing. #wvaindia #wvabloggers

I've seen a lot of these bright pots around. When I chatted with one of the world vision staff, they said they use these pots because they only get a certain amount of water each day to use for everything: washing, cleaning, drinking etc.
Water is filled into tanks each week and rationed out amongst the residents each day. Just one of the many challenges faced by residents here. #wvaindia #wvabloggers

The women who live here face so many challenges every single day. I often feel overwhelmed with the enormous challenges that come with urban crowding. There seems no easy answer. I used to wonder if we just throw money at the problem, it will just go away, but it's not as simple as that. There are many complex issues here. Through decades of experience, @worldvisionaus developed certain projects that work well in these areas, and one is the importance of empowering the women. Empowering the women helps the children, and the children have better opportunities and break the cycle. Positive change is slow here from the outside looking in. But for the people who live here, changes like learning to save and getting out of the cycle of debt, taking parenting courses, receiving assistance to grow a business, it makes a big difference.
#wvaindia #wvabloggers

Don't underestimate the power of art as inspiration. This is something I learned today. The head mistress of a government school of 255 students (grade 6-10) in Chennai said one of the best things to come out of @worldvisionindia partnership with the school is the bright murals that decorate the rooms and buildings. Seems such a simple and insignificant thing (to me) but it's come up time and time again at different educational facilities World Vision works in. The head mistress explained three ways the artwork makes a difference.

1. It makes children feel part of the school. They are proud of their school, it's bright and lovely and has good facilities. This makes them feel part of it, and they are more likely to continue with their schooling.

2. It makes children curious. They ask questions; artwork opens up conversations and learning.

3. It motivates the children. Especially the portraits of the various freedom fighters that line the hallway walls. They are there, every day, as a presence singing out for justice, and kindness, and strength, and hope.
#wvaindia #wvabloggers @worldvisionaus

New post up on my blog. Thank you to those that have supported us on this trip. Means so much. Heading home today and I can't wait to seems family 😍😍 #wvabloggers #wvaindia (link in profile)

A final dinner with these three amazing women and then a quick photo with our mate Raj (India's favourite movie star apparently) #wvaindia #wvabloggers

And she wore jasmine in her hair. It's a wrap!!! 13 projects visited, thousands of kilometres travelled, minds blown, brain in overload and two sleeps until I am back with my babies. Hashtag blessed. Hashtag Namaste. #wvabloggers #wvaindia

This area has around 365 families running a cleaning collective that services hospitals, hotels and private laundries. They are collectively working towards their children getting an education that means never working in 'the washing business' #wvaindia #wvabloggers

These "Ironboxes" run on coals and weigh 7kilograms each. Owning their own irons has changed these families futures #wvaindia #wvabloggers

These women ❤️❤️❤️❤️ kick our butts when it comes to motivation and strength. #wvaindia #wvabloggers

Teachers at the schools and preschools we've visited are so thankful for the educational materials supplied by World Vision. They wanted to show me every single thing. I get it. I understood their excitement. It's the same excitement I feel about my materials. As a teacher, resources are important to engage the children and make learning hands-on and I can only imagine how difficult it would be to teach without them. Little things like this make such a difference and the teachers proudly point out the students in their classes that are sponsor kids, as it's through child sponsorship that this is possible.
#wvabloggers #wvaindia #education #kids #educationalmaterials #teachers #india @worldvisionaus @worldvisionindia

Everybody knows the word #selfie. Ah Australia! You're awesome. #wvabloggers #wvaindia

This slum is home to three self help groups run by women who have implemented economic measures which are allowing them to run businesses, improve parenting and upgrade their children's educations. Seriously awesome ladies #wvaindia #wvabloggers

They say culture leads from the top and Chennai High, primary and kindergarten are very lucky to have this lovely lady as their headmistress #wvaindia #wvabloggers

A toilet! I can't believe the difference it can make! This slum area was completely covered in the floods in #Chennai last year. @worldvisionindia helped with the initial recovery, and now that is complete, they are helping in other ways like installing bio toilets for families. Each toilet here is used by a nominated 10 families, and they each have a key to their nominated toilet. This young girl on the right said that she now feels safe when needing to use facilities. You know what? I never thought about safety when it comes to the importance of toilet facilities. Never even crossed my mind! In the past I always focused on the obvious sanitary benefits. You see, often the women/girls have to find a friend who will come with them. Then they need to try and find somewhere private...and there are snakes in those areas, plus there is a risk of being attacked for women. The girl explained of a time when she went to a spot with a friend where she thought secluded, only to discover men creeping up from a nearby construction site. They ran away as fast as they could. Can you imagine doing this process everyday? She's smiling because it's made such a big difference. It's about dignity. #wvabloggers #wvaindia @worldvisionaus

Now we are back in the city, we are looking at the urban challenges. Urban issues are extremely complex: poor literacy, low wages, poor hygiene and living conditions, high alcoholism, unemployment, water borne diseases, child marriages, high school drop outs, child labour, unemployment, domestic violence, population density. With the population rapidly increasing in India, the challenges seem, to me, so overwhelming. And yet, @worldvisionindia consistently tackles the challenges with patience in many different ways and I'll share more specifics as we go along. This is such important work. #wvaindia #wvabloggers @worldvisionaus

This is life changing #wvaindia #wvabloggers

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