2014 has been a busy year at 7 Sisters Home. We were pushed beyond what we believed was possible for ourselves, our girls, and our home. It hasn’t all been easy but, looking back, we are amazed by how far we’ve come. Here are some highlights from our past twelve months:
Eighteen new girls came to our home this year, bringing the total since we first opened in 2013 to thirty-two, and we currently have twenty-one girls in residence. Two of our new girls were pregnant when they arrived and this past month both of them safely delivered healthy babies. We now have three babies at the Missionaries of Charity foster home awaiting adoption.
We dealt with persistent water problems. Monsoon-related floods brought contaminated water into our living room three times while at the same time, ironically, our well went dry. We needed thirty-six water deliveries (nearly 10,000 gallons) to meet our daily needs before the well was finally repaired.
We also required dozens of workmen to keep the house in good repair including electricians, masons, plumbers, painters, laborers, and well specialists. They constructed walls, lowered our well pump down to 360 feet, installed new water tanks on our roof, picked mangoes and coconuts, trimmed our trees, painted the outside of our home, emptied our septic tanks (twice), cleared out drains, and rebuilt our electrical system after a dramatic melt down.
As the number of our girls increased, our staff increased as well. We now have twenty-two part-time and full-time staff members—including a new psychologist, new case worker, and five new teachers. Sadly, we lost our dear friend and colleague Anupam Sharma earlier this year and as we go about our work we are constantly reminded of the void in our lives and how much he meant to all of us. To read more about Anupam and his legacy, click here.
Our staff traveled far and wide for home studies, investigations, social welfare meetings, court appearances, training programs, and meetings with key organizations. We went by planes, trains, buses, autos, and rickshaws to places like New Delhi; Shillong in Meghalaya; Phek and Dimapur in Nagaland; Nagaon, Diphu, Baksa, Tinsukia, Bebejia, and Dumdumma in Assam; and Chiang Mai in Thailand. We met with thirteen outside groups, visited nine hospitals, eight police stations, and went to the dentist forty-three times!
We also became an accredited YWCA extension school with uniforms, ID badges, exams, and official certificates. Our girls were invited to dance and sing at the YWCA’s Golden Jubilee celebration and they were the stars of the show. They performed One Billion Rising’s “Break the Chain” and were much complimented for it.
We took the girls to ride elephants and see rhinos, to swim, to hike. We went to the movies and the planetarium. We lost countless games of badminton at the park (our girls are champion badminton players).
We welcomed six visiting groups, both local and foreign, who taught our girls swimming, jewelry-making, drumming, self-portraiture, and also brought us craft supplies, legos, vitamins, books, and musical instruments. Our visitors have been a great encouragement to us.
Thanks to everyone who made 2014 such a remarkable year for us at 7 Sisters. We look forward to another year serving the dear children of Assam.