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First Update From India

23 February 2010

I am writing my first post from India while sipping a cup of chai in a restaurant in Bodhgaya, a small town in the southern part of Bihar. This is where Buddha was enlightened while beneath a Bodhi tree some 2600 years ago. Today, temples are dotted throughout the town and monks come here from all over the globe. This town is important to Paper Kite as this is where Tarik Kadri stepped into an orphanage and declared no child should have to live under the conditions he saw. At that moment, Paper Kite was born (see the Our History page on our website for more information).

How did I end up in a small village half-way across the world? Step by step… I had decided to spend a year in Buenos Aires to learn Spanish and enjoy the local culture. A couple months into it I helped write a plan for Paper Kite. I was able to meet more of the volunteers and was impressed by their commitment to work together to help children they had never met. I continued to help with projects and learned more about the extreme poverty in Bihar and the long list of challenges facing orphans. I happily accepted when asked to become the Executive Director of Paper Kite.

Not all orphanages act in the best interests of the children. Knowing that in-person is the best way to screen the orphanages, I left the comforts of Buenos Aires and came to Bihar. I will be inspecting orphanages and interviewing their managers to ensure Paper Kite only works with reputable ones. We want to enable reputable orphanages to improve the care for their current children and, if possible, to accept more children. To participate in our programs, orphanages must only use the donated materials and services to benefit the children, and must agree to treat all children equal regardless of such things as caste and gender.

I am scheduled to complete my work here in early April 2010. I look forward to sharing with you my discoveries including my successes and challenges while here. Bihar is not an easy place to live or work and I have already had a few experiences that I’ll write of in future posts.

I welcome your comments and questions, please contact me by email at your convenience and I will respond when I have internet access

Please note: as part of our commitment to ensuring your financial or time donation is responsibly spent, I am paying my travel and living expenses while here. No donations to Paper Kite are being spent on my travel and living costs.

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