5 Insights on Poverty Reduction in 2022
Satya Narayan Vaddi, OneChild Country Director for India
When we think about helping kids in poverty in places like India, it’s easy to turn to statistics and strategies, and those can be helpful. But hope always begins locally, through relationships.
We were reminded of that recently by Satya Narayan Vaddi, who serves as OneChild Country Director in India, bringing hope to children and their families living in some of the poorest communities.
As Satya looked back on 2022, sharing some of the main causes of poverty, and spoke of his vision for helping kids in 2023, we noticed a common theme. It’s the men and women serving kids in their own communities – we call them Child Champions – that bring hope to struggling families one at a time.
And the faithful support of sponsors (also Child Champions), supporting kids one at a time, empowers Child Champions in India to deliver practical, tangible help when it’s needed most.
Child Champions visit families at home to encourage them and check on their well-being.
What were some of your biggest challenges last year?
People continued to face health challenges and personal losses due to COVID-19. The pandemic also intensified an already spiraling economy; The rising cost of living and growing unemployment made life extremely challenging for all.
During much of the year, our children could not meet in person due to health and safety regulations, so many felt isolated. I think at the darkest time, the hardest part for them was to hold onto hope.
Could you highlight a few ways that Child Champions at the Hope Centers addressed these challenges?
Child Champions make extraordinary efforts to visit children who have temporarily relocated to distant villages.
Despite these trials, our Child Champions persevered in their commitment to bring hope in hard times and in hard places. When children were unable to come to our Hope Centers, Child Champions carried food and other essential commodities to the children who were confined to their homes. In spite of innumerable hazards and limited resources, Child Champions regularly held online classes so the children did not fall back on their studies. They never wavered in their support and encouragement.
What impact did programming have on communities surrounding the Hope Centers?
Manissha’s Child Champion encouraged her to pursue her education despite the obstacles of poverty. After graduating from high school, she went on to University.
Our OneChild Hope Centers have been well known in the surrounding communities because our graduates become living testimonies. When they see how their children walk into Hope Centers as kids and graduate from the program as successful young men and women, it is a proud moment of achievement.
Last year, many people in the community received assistance from our Hope Centers and then became more interested in the programs.
OneChild is a community that celebrates. How did your Child Champions and Hope Centers celebrate children and their accomplishments?
Kids love special Hope Center celebrations on occassions like Children’s Day in India.
We celebrated Children’s Day in India on November 14, where Child Champions organized and presented a special program for the children followed by refreshments to appreciate each child. Likewise, on September 5, we celebrated Teachers’ Day where the children organized a special program to appreciate their Child Champions.
We also held a celebratory function to honor students who performed well academically and to showcase their talents. In December we had a special get-together for Child Champions and Hope Center staff to appreciate them and celebrate their success and hard work.
What do you hope to see happening this year – for the programs in India and as well as for all the children who attend the Hope Centers?
Our vision for the OneChild program in India is to ensure a holistic program is in place across ALL our Hope Centers so that each child is able to grow and thrive. Our goal is to bring out the best in each and every child.
We want to grow in our capacity to serve more children, which means forming new Hope Centers. We also wish to expand the areas of nutrition and basic healthcare (including mental health) as well as place more emphasis on youth and family engagement so our children and their families will have a stronger sense of ownership.
Learn more about India and how Child Champions are helping kids thrive.