Holi, the joyous spring festival of colors in Hinduism, is quickly approaching. In Hindu tradition, people of all ages celebrate Holi by covering each other in bright, colorful powders in a show of love and friendship. These vibrant colors mark the time of year to say farewell to winter and welcome the start of spring. Holi is also a time for new beginnings.
SOS Children's Villages provides new beginnings to children around the world each and every day. Take Rati for example. Rati came to the SOS Children's Village in Shillong, India when she was just two weeks old.
Rati's family lived in abject poverty and hardly managed to eat one meal a day. When a counselor from the SOS Village saw Baby Rati, she was barely surviving on water and vegetable juice, and was extremely malnourished and severely sick. The counselor brought her to the hospital at the SOS Village.
The SOS Village Director contacted her father but was unable to take his daughter back. He said he had nothing to give to her, but that he wanted her to go to school and have a good life with SOS Children's Villages.
During the following months, charming Rati became one of the healthiest children in the entire village.
"Rati is now everyone's darling. She is the center of attention in the family. All the kids are extremely fond of her," said her SOS Mother.
Rati will celebrate Holi this year with her SOS mother, brothers and sisters. One of the great things about SOS Children's Villages is our respect for the culture and traditions of each child that walks through our doors. In April, some of our children will celebrate Easter, while others will observe Ramadan in June and July.
Unfortunately, many children won't get to enjoy any festivities or traditions this year. Orphaned and abandoned children around the world often don't have the luxury of thinking about holidays.
In India, one in four people still live in poverty; literacy rates remain low, especially among women; and lack of adequate health care results in high infant, child and maternal mortality rates. Two million children continue to die each year from preventable diseases. Around half of those deaths are due to malnutrition, which is more common in India than Sub-Saharan Africa. When children are struggling to survive, they don't get to take part in the celebrations that many of us take for granted.
That's one of the many reasons SOS Children's Villages works hard to provide these children loving homes. SOS currently has 41 Villages throughout India taking care of more than 5,000 children. SOS children have the benefit of a stable, loving family environment that includes the necessities of life such as clothing, meals, medical care and a high-quality education.
Over the past 50 years, SOS Children's Villages has given thousands of children, like Rati, a chance at a new beginning. Please consider giving another child the chance to celebrate with Rati this year by donating to SOS-USA or by sponsoring a child today.
To new beginnings!
Follow Lynn M. Croneberger on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LynnCroneberger