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FINAL #OrphanSchool Fund raising campaign Video’s & Updates
Campaign completed Funds raised $114,417….. Building will be achieved ….
Read the amazing Sam’s story
via John Marshall
Sixty days ago, the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission and I launched our most ambitious fundraiser to date. Faced with growing enrollment and limited space, we were looking to raise $100,000 to expand the orphanage’s school. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure we would do it. My network of friends along with the Mission’s networks are only so large. But we stepped out on faith and started to spread the word.
Overall, it went very well. As the campaign closes, our Indiegogo total says $45,620. We also received $4,160 from a 10-year-old girl named Ruby who ran her own $10 challenge campaign to support us. (This sum included $200 in pennies from a classroom of Maine 3rd graders!) Offline, friends in Australia held a Bollywood dancing night and collected $1,337, and private donors offered a whopping $8,300! Altogether, more than 400 contributors managed to raise $59,417, for which we are both humbled and grateful.
But even this is only half of the story
As it happened, we were introduced to a young man named Sam Saxena, and something amazing happened.
Sam was born in Gujarat, India in 1993, the same year my son Logan was born. On a Skype call from London, his mother described Sam as a beautiful, happy boy with a big generous heart. “He’s always been this way,” she said. “When he was quite young, I remember him seeing a beggar boy in the street with a monkey that was doing tricks. When the performance was over, Sam turned to his father and said, ‘Dad, give him all the money you have. He shouldn’t have to do tricks for money ever again!’ Most children would have asked for the monkey. But Sam was always thinking of others.”
His father was equally proud as he told his own story. “It is our tradition that at Diwali, each member of the family writes a letter to God, asking for blessings and for our wishes to be fulfilled. Most letters written by kids are similar to letters to Santa Claus at Christmas. But Sam’s letters were different. He would ask for things like truth and health, wisdom and knowledge.”
The family moved to Australia for a while, then on to Japan and finally to London for college. Sam was going to study banking, not to become rich, but to serve others. “He wanted to start a hedge fund and give all the money away,” his mother told me. “That’s just who he was.”
But that was never to be.
For whatever reasons these things happen, Sam died last September shortly before his 21st birthday. As a father with a similar-aged son, the idea of losing one of my children hollows me out when I consider it. But I imagine the loss of an only child, as in Sam’s case, must leave a hole that threatens to swallow what’s left of the world.
For Sam’s parents, it was as if time had stopped. Where do you go when the future you’ve built your life around is frozen in the past? How do you make sense of something so senseless?
Many months later, as they were searching the internet, looking for a way to move forward…they came across, of all things, the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission website. They watched our Orphan School campaign video. They read the Maxton Strong School motto which mirrors Sam’s own childhood wish to God. “Strength through wisdom and knowledge.” It felt like a sign.
Reaching out, they called the Mission and told their story to Clifton, crying as they did so, Clifton crying as he listened. Then, in an act of generosity that honors their son’s life, his selfless spirit, and the love they will always feel for him…they made a spectacular offer.
Not only are they funding the rest of our campaign, adding $55,000 and bringing our total to a staggering $114,417…they are also offering college scholarships to two Mission children, gifts that will change their young lives forever.
Parents without children helping children without parents. There is such a simple beauty to this equation, I’m sure, somewhere, Sam is smiling.
Why do we do the things we do?
After speaking with Sam’s parents, after sitting with Sam’s story for a while, I’ve been wondering: Maybe all that we do is not for ourselves at all. Maybe we actually live our lives for everyone else. If so, our actions, our efforts are nothing less and nothing more than our gift to the collective web of the world.
Sixty days ago, I thought we started our Orphan School campaign to raise money, build new classrooms. But that turned out to be only a small part of what we’ve accomplished. By launching that campaign at precisely the time that we did, we were able to provide an outlet for the grief and love of a heartbroken family. Who knows? Maybe the healing, the connections, are only beginning with the telling of this story.
To everyone who took part in this project, who shared our campaign, who promoted it, who donated, who attended Bollywood Night, who brought pennies to school, all in support of orphaned children in a distant corner of the world…thank you. The Maxton Strong School expansion is going to happen! And the ripples from this fact will continue to spread out for many years, many lives to come.
Finally, to Sam, I can tell you this: You are deeply missed, as I’m sure you know. But your desire to serve, to give, is alive and well. May we all leave such a powerful legacy, no matter how long we live.
THANKYOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT!
Our Indiegogo campaign has been a huge success! We have now raised our final goal of$100,000! In actual fact we have raised more than that! Thanks to an incredible 10 year old girl, a Bollywood/Curry night in Melbourne, Australia and many other amazingly generous people who have given independently to our campaign we can now ‘check the final funding box’!
The most touching story of all our supporters is about a young man named Sam Saxena. We would love for you to read his story here. You will surely be blown away by the goodness and generosity of the world.
It is incredible to think that we started the campaign just 60 days ago. Such a huge amount of work has been done since then. Here are some photos of the building as it now stands (literally):
Outside the building, work has already begun on the First Floor.
The internal verandah. Window frames are now installed and ready.
Inside a classroom: The walls/floor still need plaster/concrete.
Thank you for believing in us, in our children and our dream. For your donations, your shares, your emails of support and your love we are forever grateful.
For all the graphic lovers out there, here’s a more complete breakdown of the idea:
We will continue to update this page with progress of the building as well as our blog on www.indianorphanage.com. For those who would like to know more about The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission you can sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of our website.
Hey y’all. We’re coming around the home stretch. Only 12 days left. Clifton and I have been sitting on some big news…and will continue to do so until it’s official…but here’s a little updating that we can report.
We’ve had some donations on the side, so counting all current contributions, our running total looks like this:
Orphan School: $41,831
Ruby’s $10 Challenge $2,600
Bollywood Night: $1,337
Direct Donations $8,182
Current Total $53,950
And there is more in the works.
As you can see …. We’ve already secured the second phase of funding which is fantastic and who knows what is possible? On ward!
FYI: The attached pictures show a school in Maine who raised $200 for our campaign. They used the jar in the middle labeled “Coins for Kids” to collect loose change. Literally, every penny counts!
It’s been a while since our last update on our Primary School Extension project, but we’ve certainly been busy! Take a look at our progress so far! With two weeks still left on our Orphan School campaign, our ground floor windows and walls are already taking shape, with work on our school‘s first floor roof slated to begin soon.
Our hope is that the ground floor would be completed and ready for usage by the end of July and at the same time the first floor columns and roof would be finished. This is a reasonably goal but it will take some hard work by our builders to achieve. The brickwork is almost complete across the ground floor but the real time consuming steps will be the rendering of the walls, pouring of the floors, electrical wiring and painting.
Our workshop boys whipped up the frames for the windows at a fraction of the cost we would have had to have paid if we outsourced them. There are two different sizes 6ft x 4ft and 4ft x 4ft. A final coat of paint and the glass will be fitted later.
The room we are most excited about is the computer lab. At over 680sqft the room will be perfect not just for computer classes but adult vocational education as well as PD (professional development) classes for our staff. Our hope is the have a digital projector that can be used during the teaching process.
The exterior of the building will be closed off in the next 2-3 days -now blocking off what was previously the road for parents/visitors to the school. The benefit to this is that guests coming to the school come through our front foyer which is far more secure.
So many amazing people have come forward, fundraising, promoting and contributing to make this all possible. It has been incredible. And though there is still much work to do, we are beyond blessed by all that has been achieved so far.
Thank you for your support!
As if raising $2600 wasn’t awesome enough, Ruby was interviewed today by the legendary Kim Block from WGME in Portland, ME. Her story will air at 5:30 PM on Ch. 13 in southern Maine. Hope it inspires many more kids to get involved. Thanks, Kim!!!
Today, a classroom of third grade students contributed $200 to Ruby’s campaign! So crazy and amazing! As part of their community service lessons, these kids collected loose change in a jar and decided to use it to help a fellow Maine student help some children in India. If that isn’t a story of hope for the world, I don’t know what is. Huge thanks to teacher Rich Pickering at the Margaret Chase Smith School in Sanford, Maine. You guys are awesome!
Ruby’s $10 Challenge
I’m ten years old and I want to help an Indian orphanage get a bigger school.
Hi my name is Ruby and I am 10 years old and I am excited to help out my friend John with raising money for a school in India. He is helping some really great kids in an orphanage there get a bigger school and I want to help them out. Maybe you do too.
All the money I raise will go to help the Maxton Strong School in Banbasa India.
Hi everyone! The campaign continues to slowly move forward. $38,900 means that we are now just $11,100 from completing Step 2. The slab work has been completed for the first floor and we have now begun construction on the windows and door frames for the ground floor.
The colours of the Indian festival Holi hit our orphanage this week, we hope this photo of our kids in its aftermath brings a smile to your face!
The last couple of weeks our builders have been busy getting the frame work put together that will eventually work as a mould to hold up the first floor and its supporting beams; the process is a little different here in our part of India -as the video shows.
Finished! So awesome to have this done. Thanks to everyone who made it possible!
19 days in. Almost a third of our way through our 60-day campaign. Yes, we’re moving slowly…but in the past five days, we’ve raised $1000! So it’s still alive. And you never know. We’re like a business and we’re open every day, rain or shine. When the next big customer will walk through the door…we’ll be ready.
I hope you’ve been following the work being done over at the school expansion, because it’s really something. Some people wait for six months or a year to see results from these types of campaigns. We just poured the roof yesterday! Amazing!
Just know, we’re not finished yet. Tell a friend, back to basics. I have a class room here in America making a sister video to our campaign video. I wrote a script and the kids are taking turns saying lines, telling how they raised over $400 for the kids in India. They’re going to challenge the world to get involved. If they can do it with a loose change jar…one penny at a time…maybe anyone can. I’ll share it as soon as it’s finished.
Keep the faith and thanks once again for all of your support. We really are making a difference. Just look at the roof we built!!!!!
Please see the funds raised so far. Overall target is $100,000 for completion of the project.
Further information on the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission’s #OrphanSchool
- Lesson 1: GSAM ORPHAN SCHOOL Campaign
- Lesson 2: GSAM ORPHAN SCHOOL Campaign
- EXAM: GSAM ORPHAN SCHOOL Campaign STARTS NOW!
- Our GSAM Banbassa Indian orphanage visit
- GSAM Website http://indianorphanage.com/
Richard Bejah CFP® was appointed in the role of Ambassador (Voluntary) to The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission and their successful #OrphanSchool building campaign. GSAM is one of the oldest Orphanages in India.