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The same 24 hours…………

May 7, 2009

We all meet people throughout our lives who seem to be able to stretch the clock. They make more happen in one day than it seems possible to accomplish in a full year. And yet they do it – over and over again. We are left to marvel and wonder – do they eat, do they sleep, do they have a magic vitamin, have they been invaded by aliens? Where do they get their energy from?

Let me introduce you to Anou. She created Project Why.

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In short, she created Project Why to help those who cannot help themselves. Of course, the story goes much deeper than that and it begins with her own daughter. Anou’s daughter struggled with the academic challenges of school. When I first met her, she laughed that she did what every good parent does and told her she did not have to go back. Then she resolved to help those children who struggled in this world.

This is Rani. She came to Project Why when she was 15 from not the best of circumstances. She exemplifies why Project Why is so important. She is now traveling the world to share Project Why’s story. She is a confident, beautiful, unassuming, and gracious young lady – her life is better because Anou carved out enough minutes in her day to help her. And now she is making her own difference in the world – carving out her own minutes.

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This is Meher. When Meher was a little bitty thing, she was burned terribly. I am not exactly clear what happened. But it doesn’t really matter – Meher needed some angels to lift her up and help her along her life’s journey. Guess who spread her wings once again? Anou and Project Why. They have raised enough money to help Meher with reconstructive and plastic surgeries. She is a vibrant girl who is full of joy and laughter and I believe a good dose of mischief. She lights up the room. And I am sure eventually she will light up the world.

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This school is one of the centers that Project Why uses to help children who live in slums. If I understood it correctly, they attend government schools as well, but Project Why teachers supplement their studies with much needed extra help. The boys go in the morning and the girls come in the afternoon.

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This is what the neighborhood looks like right outside the school.

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The American’s Womens Association had donated money for building materials for a roof for the school house – so these boys presented our Outreach Chair with a beautiful handmade card.

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We also went to visit the Women and Children’s Center. Here women learn to sew and how to become beauticians and children up to about age 14 take classes.

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I think this is their guard cow. He’s on it.

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This is another classroom. The children here were learning math.

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No, I did not offer to tutor. Remember, they are trying to improve their math skills. Ironically, this almost looks like something you would see in a shabby chic catalog.

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True to her original mission, Anou opened a center for mentally disabled children. Across the street from this center is also a residential center where a few of the children live.

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This girl could put any bollywood dancer to shame. She was magnificent.

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I had never heard of brittle bones disease until yesterday. This little girl has it. There is no cure. Her bones are deteriorating at a ridiculous rate and she will die from the complications from this disease – probably sooner than later. She is a bright, enthusiastic child who is eager to learn. She gets to do just that at Project Why.

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There is so much more to Project Why than just this blog post. Anou and Project Why help over 700 children in 7 locations throughout Delhi. They have made it possible for several children to receive open heart surgeries through their Hear Fix Hotel. They have given local women a safe place to fall when they need to escape from the toils of their daily lives. Project Why has taken in disabled children and given them a home. Five children from the slums are now attending a boarding school and are getting a proper education. The list goes on.

So I spent my day yesterday with some amazing people who stretch the bounds of compassion and generosity beyond all reasonable limits. Their clocks do not tick in real time – their clocks allow them to add minutes to each hour with spaces in between where kindness grows and humanity flourishes.

At the end of the day, I felt pretty much like an underachiever, realizing that I hold my minutes too tightly together and lose too many of them for no good reason. I realized how ungrateful I am at times for the complaints I have voiced in my life and I hope to spend my time, talents, and energy more wisely. I am sure to fall flat on the face of my watch with those ambitious goals – but I can dust myself off and start a new until I get it right.

There are a lot of different ways to support Project Why if you are so inclined. Here is a link if you are interested – Support Project Why.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. esayward85 permalink
    January 14, 2011 6:01 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Odette permalink
    May 28, 2009 1:43 pm

    This is wonderful – thanks for sharing.

  3. Patty permalink
    May 9, 2009 7:48 am

    Thanks for the wonderful post! It truly makes you count your blessings! Hope to see you all when you come back to the U.S.

    Patty

  4. Tottsmom permalink
    May 9, 2009 12:22 am

    Wow, this is another amazing thing you have been privilaged to experience in India. And, we, by association have been able to experience. Makes me take a look, a real hard look at what more I could do. Thanks for the ride.

  5. May 8, 2009 10:35 pm

    Anou – I moved your comment to the top so everyone can see it – you are amazing and I feel blessed to have met you! You are changing the world one minute at a time – thank you for sharing the possibilities with us!

    Pam – the possibilities are endless!

    Monika – maybe I can go with you! 😎

    Caitlin – she is amazing

    Badass – the cow was on it!

    Bindu – yeah I know – the Slumdog crew got lots of attention for helping a few kids but Anou is helping hundreds with much more limited resources and none of the limelight – it is amazing that she still feels there is more to do – there is – but she has certainly done more than her share already!

    Kathleen – yeah! congratulations!

    Lola – it shocks me how accessible they are – she was available to answer any questions – she showed us pictures of her grandchild. Just amazing!

  6. May 8, 2009 10:26 pm

    There are some amazing people in the world. Thanks for introducing us to a few!

  7. Kathleen permalink
    May 8, 2009 10:21 am

    This is a great post and the pictures really bring it to life. Thanks also for the link!

    oh and we are officially moving to Pune in June! I accepted the offer!

  8. bindu permalink
    May 8, 2009 10:10 am

    Sweet. Love the dancer and the cow. I wish there were more people doing such things rather than filthy politicians squandering money by bringing movie stars to the campaign and mud slinging activites. There are tons of people everywhere who can use every little bit of help. Shame there is no one to do anything for them These pictures reminded me of the movie Slumdog Millionaire. People often ask me in the US- are there really slums in India?And then you read about a father selling his daughter for money because she has become a star after the movie’s release. Going off topic now…I will stop.

  9. May 8, 2009 7:24 am

    Glad you got to go visit and learn about Project Why. I’d heard about it from another Delhi blogger and was fascinated by Anou.

    Excited to hear what you do with your minutes!

  10. May 8, 2009 7:05 am

    The world is made better by people like that.

    Also? I kind of want a guard cow.

  11. caitlin permalink
    May 8, 2009 4:18 am

    amazing. such a wonderful project…am going to look at the link to their site. you always find and write about such things. thank you!

  12. May 8, 2009 12:59 am

    this is commendable… kudos, i have my eyes wet…

    i will meet her when i am in delhi next

  13. Pam permalink
    May 8, 2009 12:13 am

    Great post! It’s so nice to hear about such amazing and giving people. We are all capable of it, it’s simply a choice we make. Thanks for the reminder!

  14. May 8, 2009 12:05 am

    Ellen
    Thank you so much for the wonderful post. I am overwhelmed and deeply touched. Project Why has been a beautiful journey where I have discovered an India that I never knew existed but which is replete with all the images my parents painted for me when I was a little girl growing up in faraway lands. But more than that project why has enabled me to discover who I am and what I am capable of. I feel truly humbled and know that there is a lot more to do.
    Nothing could have been possible if there were not people like you who reach out and help. I am deeply indebted to each one.
    Thank you for being there.
    And for those who want to know little Meher was 5 months old and sleeping under a nylon mosquito net in her village home. The mosquito net caught fire and she was badly burnt. We hope to be able to give her back the use of her hands ad then get her a sound education.
    For those of you who are in Delhi please come and see us and spend some time with our children.
    Thank you again Ellen. Your are a very special person!
    anou

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