It is a wonderous thing to watch a young girl grow with confidence in a world where she is not wanted.
Roja is a smart, determined young woman. She was 8 when she became a part of the Hope Now family. Her father and mother died of AIDS. She lost what Warren Buffet calls the “ovarian lottery.” A path set by the happenstance of geography. India can be very unforgiving. Upon the death of her parents, she was not wanted and had nowhere to go. As an HIV-positive child, her extended family would not take her in. The Indian government does not take HIV-positive children.
Over the years, this now 22-year-old woman has been a shining example of what is possible when a life is cherished, nurtured and given the opportunity to rise to her best.
At Hope Now we firmly believe education changes everything. We are a family, a home, a consistent, diligent push against the forces at work in India that systematically keep girls down. Every one of our kids – all 58 of them – receive a quality English medium education from pre- school through college or a trade school.
We are living in a world where girls – especially in the developing world – are still considered less than their male counterparts. Access to education should not be determined by a child’s gender, yet nearly 40% of adolescent girls in India lack access to education. A country cannot progress if half of the population cannot read or write!
Roja is in her senior year at KIMS Medical College working toward her bachelor degree in Physical Therapy. She has dreams of getting her masters degree and working in a hospital helping people who need rehabilitation whether from an injury or rheumatoid arthritis.
We currently have 11 kids in college and 5 kids in trade school. These kids amaze me, inspire me, show me what it means to fulfill a purpose and continue to press forward even when the world around them is actively working to keep them from creating a life of their own design.
Every child deserves the right to an education and opportunity. Roja will be our first college graduate. She will graduate in early 2020 and is already looking for her next opportunity. We cannot wait to see what comes next for her and we will be there every step of the way.