Archive for June, 2013

Teach a Man to Fish…

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

While I was in India recently on personal business, I was also able to meet with some members of the Lumkyntung village council to discuss the completion of our final year of working with them (in 2014 we will be starting our next project at another village about 30 miles away). 

Thanks to the generosity of our kind donors, Visions for Villages will be able to complete the following in 2013:

  1. Help with salary for a new teacher who was hired for the 2013 school year as student body grew with the addition of new classrooms. 

  2. Self-sustainability program for the village. This program involves two organic fish ponds which will help this village community pay for ongoing teacher salaries as the school and student body grows.

  3. Construction of one girls toilet and one boys toilet at the school.

  4. Fencing around the Lumkyntung school premises.

  5. Playground for school which includes some swings and slides as the children currently have no playground. 

Here are some pictures of the fish ponds, during construction and  after they are filled with water and ready for the fish to be released. Visions for Villages is working directly with the Agricultural department of the Government of Meghalaya and the village community, to ensure that the proper process and training is being done to ensure the success of these fish ponds. 

On June 13th, over 320 pounds of various fish were released into the completed ponds. The village council on this project will be setting aside a percentage of the profits to purchase additional fish to supplement what has been marketed, and a percentage will go towards the salaries for teachers for the school.

It did not start out this way with a plan for community fish ponds, but as it turns out, after consulting with the local agricultural department, the farmers and other members of this community, this is one of the best sustainability plans for these communities, as demand for fish exceeds supply in this region according to the Times of India.

And we are literally practicing the old Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”. 

It is so rewarding to work with these villages, to see that what we are doing is truly making a positive difference to their lives. So thank you again for your continous support and encouragement. May you be blessed for being such a blessing to others. 

In Loving Memory

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

A Message from Connie Umbenhower, Founder, Visions for Villages, Inc:

I have some sad news.

A champion of our projects and someone who loved the children of Lumkyntung school, someone very near and dear to me – my mom – passed away earlier this month.

I have been in India since April and have just returned recently and this blog post is to honor her for her contribution to Visions for Villages.

My mother’s Role within Visions for Villages:

Since I live in the USA and my mother had a lifestyle of living six months in India and six months in the USA, she assisted by playing an informal yet critical role in Visions for Villages. She started initially with a visit to our first village in the Lumkyntung  community of  Meghalaya, India to do a preliminary determination of their needs.

She continued her involvement until the last few months of her life, to ensure that the needs of the village were being met and were in alignment with the vision and mission of the company.

Her last interaction with this community:

I would like to share with you her last interaction with this community – her closing prayer during the November 2012 inauguration of the second floor addition to the school. During this prayer, she asked God to provide wisdom for the teachers and help for the students so they may thrive and grow not only in wisdom but in honor and integrity. She also prayed that the students would remember as they grow up and are able to, to reach out in kindness and be a blessing to others.

She Made a Difference:

One of the school teachers paid a great tribute to my mother at her funeral. He stated that not only had my family lost a treasured mother, but the Lumkyntung village community felt that loss deeply.  He stated that she will always be remembered for her kindness and her dedication in helping to improve the school, so their children can have a better education and ultimately, a better life.

She leaves Visions for Villages her legacy of love, memories of her gentle kindness, her giving spirit and her compassion for others less fortunate.  She will be greatly missed.

P.S. Please enjoy a few pictures below of my mother during the various building phases of our village school.