City of Joy Aid Organization
November marks the beginning of the IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER Campaign to raise awareness and funding for WhyHunger in its fight against childhood hunger and poverty for Hard Rocks around the globe. Dedicated to its LOVE ALL – SERVE ALL motto, proceeds from Hard Rock’s campaign will directly benefit WhyHunger and its grassroots partners around the globe in hopes of finding a long-term solution through sustainable agriculture.
Hard Rockers from 52 different countries unite during the IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER Campaign with the common goal of feeding the children of four different foundations in Kenya, Haiti, Thailand and India. After visiting the children at the City of Joy Aid Organization in Kolkata, I can guarantee we are helping some of the most adorable, thankful faces the world has to offer.
All of us decked out in our red Imagine bracelets piled out of three cars and into a sea of curious faces. Only after we were adorned with bright orange garlands and pink chalk did the children decide we were suitable for entrance into their peaceful home, Udayan.
Reverend James G. Stevens explained how his 2 year plan of helping India has now turned into 42 years of pure bliss after meeting the Mr. & Mrs. Dominique Lapierre. Six pair of eyes fall on me as 2 years sounds like a very similar time-frame, and then quickly back to Reverend James as he fills us in on details of the organization. Phew!
Although I could write a novel of the City of Joy Aid, I will keep it short and sweet since Dominique Lapierre already has that covered. After a meeting with Mother Teresa expressing the desire to help the people of India, the Lapierres’ were sent to Reverend James whose organization was in desperate need of funds. They now cover all overhead expenses allowing City of Joy Aid to have no offices or paid staff. Absolutely remarkable.
We are whisked off for a full tour of the zen like Udayan Home consisting of a school building, laboratory, doctor’s office, multiple housing units, gardens maintained by the children, and of course a cafeteria. I admired the concentration on the children’s faces as I popped my head in and out of classes being instructed in Hindi and Bengali. My body felt sore and teeth clenched watching the boys vigorously dig and swing sickles hoping to win the weekly competition for “Best Housing Garden”.
My feet tapped to the song and dance performances in the assembly… And my heart melted like a Popsicle on a hot summer day watching the faces of the roomful of children praying so intensely you’d think they were asking their one final breath. What these children of lepers, some suffering from leprosy themselves, were thankful for was the daily guarantee of love and care.
Rocking their new red bracelets and content bellies, the children bid us adieu and headed back to their studies. Sporting ear to ear smiles and pride in our hearts, we headed back on road to continue our journey.