31 Million Orphans. Tell Their Story!

One of the things I love best about blogging is having the opportunity to tell stories.  Not just the stories about my life but the stories of people around the world.  Stories of wells dug and women freed are powerful.  Stories matter.

UNICEF estimates there are 31 million children orphaned and abandoned in this nation of 1.2 billion.  Just like I have a hard time wrapping my head around the 27 million people enslaved worldwide, the idea of 31 million orphans in one country leaves me overwhelmed.  What can one person living in North Alabama do about a crisis of this magnitude?  Where could anyone even begin to make a dent in this situation?

Mother India film ww.terilynneunderwood.comToday I watched an incredible documentary telling the story of 25 orphans who have made their own family unit in India.  David Trotter and Shawn Scheinoha traveled to India “hoping to find kids who would be willing to trust them enough to show them life through their eyes. Filmed over the course of two weeks in early 2012, Mother India gives a glimpse into the life of unaccompanied children as they seek to survive on a daily basis.” {from the Mother India website}

Interviews with these children left me in tears.  As powerful as the story is, the emotion of hearing these children share their experiences will etch their faces onto the hearts of those who watch.  Girls who were sold into prostitution and abused.  Boys who are continually bullied and beaten by older orphans, police, and railroad workers.   Children who with AIDS who know how the disease is transmitted but need the high from the shared needles or the money from selling their bodies.

These are children who are inject themselves, they call it “ample.”  With no idea what fills the needles they push into their scarred and battered skin, they continue to share needles knowing simply this, the liquid will take away their pain.

A girl, now 19, who had been sold in the red light district, tortured, and abused, was finally recognized and returned to the youth hostel.  Explaining her gratitude for being freed, she simply said, “I would have had to go through that torture longer.”

Another girl shared her story of giving birth to a baby boy who died within a few days.  She cuts herself every time she thinks of that baby, born and died too soon.  The thick scars covering her arms are evidence of the magnitude of her loss.

31 million orphans www.terilynneunderwood.com

But these kids still dream of a better life.  These children who sleep huddled together, begging for food, fearing for their own safety, long for a home, a job, a family, a future … “like the regular people.”

I watched and listened and realized I’m one of those “regular people.”  I live a very boring, very normal life.  In all likelihood, so do you.  But we can do something extraordinary with our ordinary lives.  We can tell these stories, we can spread the word.

The makers of Mother India invite us all to join the story.  Here are three ways:

  1. Sponsor a child through Harvest India.  For $35 a month, you can provide a child with food, shelter, clothing, and education
  2. Spread the world about the Mother India project.  Tweet or Facebook about this post, share a link to the Mother India website, pin an image about this project. You can also host a screening of this incredible film or purchase a copy of Mother India: Life Through the Eyes of the Orphan
  3. Serve with organizations helping orphans in India.

Watch this trailer … and then, help tell their story!

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