Maria and Kathie !

Maria is back! And she got great company this time 🙂 Three years ago in 2013, Maria Niechwiadowiecz from South Dakota was visiting India to study abroad and to backpack the country. She wanted to learn as much as she could from mother India with it´s huge and colorful culture and it´s lovely people. With a wide open heart she entered the country and travelled her way through this big country as a solo female traveller.

After having absorbed so much life and meeting so many kind people in India  she returened home five months later and felt like a new person.

On her travel blog she said:

„I returned home, five months later, changed in many ways. Not only did I come home with an expanded religious perspective and culinary palate, but my view of mission and justice had also been challenged.

For the first time I really questioned what I believed and why, what others believed and why, and why justice looks different in every context. There are so many moments, so many stories from that experience that ultimately shaped me into who I am as a Global Mission Fellow today. Therefore, from the moment I stepped out of the country in 2013, India has continued to be in my heart and mind in various ways. I have always felt like I would be back someday…and now I am! “

ABC MAria

2013 was also the year when Maria was visiting Bodhgaya , where she was volunteering at A Bowl of Compassion. She immediately fell in love with the children from the villages whom she helped in many ways during her stay. She explored the villages by motorbike and Murari was slowly introducing her to the extreme poverty of the rural areas. While she was volunteering she was also thinking of ways to get more help from the US. It was back then when Maria had the idea to connect A Bowl of Compassion with the Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she was working at that time.

They really wanted to help us and they did!

The Presbyterian Church have raised 2000 USD for A Bowl of Compassion for the construction of a new classroom for arts and a new tile floor for the school´s lunch corner. We were speechless and so greatful for the huge help of the Christian Community.

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Pictures: The children inside the artroom. We now offer watchting documentaries and learning programmes to the students inside the artroom as well. Maria and Kathie brought some learning DVD´s along with them.

For the past 3 years First Presbyterian has continued to support A Bowl of Compassion with fundraising events, especially during Christmas time.

Now it is January 2016! Maria decited to visit India again to offer more help for our NGO. This time she didn´t come alone 🙂

Kathie Douma, the director of children´s ministries at Presbyterian Church, joined her to India where they both will offer a teacher taining for the teachers at Bowl of Compassion.

It is beautiful for us to see how both worlds come together and it is amazing that Kathie can now experience and see the project as well.

Last  December in 2015 the Presbyterian Church and it´s generous community was again fundraising more than 2000 USD for A Bowl of Compassion. Kathie and Maria brought the funds along with them and will now purchase clothes for all students of both schools. They have already started to purchase shoes for our primary school students in Tika Bigha Bodhgaya. You can see the pictures here:

Maria and Kathie will be staying for a whole week to help with the teacher training. I will update regular pictures and news of their experiences at Bowl of Compassion!

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Thank you so much for coming over and spending time with the children and staff. I know your stay will have an huge impact on all people you get to meet ❤ 🙂

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Today the students of 5th and 6th grade received a special gift! i cannot believe how smart they look. No babies anymore! 🙂

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Picture above:

On the following day Kathie and Maria were visiting the Village Karma, to meet the students and staff of the Flowers of Lakshmi School for girls. Entering Karma is like stepping into a new reality. The people in the village are incredibly kind , despite the enormous poverty they have to face. Most of them do not have more than one meal daily and there is no access to running water or electricity yet. When Maria and Kathie met the students they also brought some gifts that they really appreciated. Warm jumpers and new Shoes for all students 🙂

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Kathie, Sushma and Maria preparing Puris, deep fried flat indian breads, that are usually made for special festivals or special occasions.

Muraris wife Rita helps a lot at Bowl of Compassion. She is really a great host and cooks devine!

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Maria and Kathie also visited the Siddharta Compassion Highschool and told the students about South Dakota . On the picture you can the the chairman of the Highschool, Vivek Kumar. He is Muraris smaller brother. After our children pass their final exams they will all be enrolled at Siddharta Compassion to continue their educational journey

Update: Yayyy!! The new school dresses for the children have arrived. Sponsored by the Presbyterian Church !! ❤

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