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TESTIMONALS FROM THE PROJECT TEAM
“ When I joined the Hope Project in 2010 as ED, I took a conscious step in directing my skills towards developing the Grass Root Organization to become a stable sustainable support centre in its community and carry the success stories from there to more and more areas. Constrained living surroundings for the young in the urban slums leave hardly any space for a happy carefree childhood. I support the Kids in Nature Program because I see the urgent need for the children living in such conditions to connect to nature in order to develop their hidden potentials so they may grow up to become contributing members in their societies.”
“ Exposure to nature has always been one of the core elements in my work with young children. Since my initial involvement with the Hope Project in 1985 I have dreamed about expanding the scope of nature experience for the children at Hope beyond the short visits to the nearby parks. Once I was on a pilgrimage with Deborah Morin, a close friend and well-wishers, in the upper Himalayas, completely absorbed in very beautiful natural surroundings. Here the vision of bringing the Hope kids to nature for the sheer experience of such beauty and harmony was planted.”
“ I have a long-standing relation to the Hope Project since 1986. As a sociologist I am concerned, among other things, with research about miserable living conditions among poor people in low-income habitats and communalism in Indian society. Children in such an environment suffer severely, and are at high risk by exploitations such as drug addiction, prostitution and domestic violence. I support the „Kids in Nature“ programme because I recognize that children’s play in nature contributes to their future in peace and harmony.”
“ The idea for Kids in Nature first occurred in 2002 on a pilgrimage to Gangotri with Carmen Hussain. The Hope Project had realized its vision of meeting the basic needs of the people it served. They helped nourish, educate, provide care & micro-loans, and set families up for sustainable, independent, healthy living. All that it lacked was an element of play and connection to nature – an outlet to not just sustain and support life, but enrich and enliven it as well.
In my life, I have always found communion with nature to be the ultimate source of peace and pleasure. The Kids in Nature project was created to give that to the children, who deserve most to smile and laugh and run and play and grow in all the ways that nature intends for them. The future of this project is bright. Endless opportunities exist to expand the Kids in Nature vision in connecting kids to nature. I’m humbled and grateful that the Hope Project now not only meets the needs of the people it serves, but instills within them a sense of fulfilment that transcends survival and becomes joy. “
“When I was studying the Hope Project’s Kids in Nature program in 2005, for most of the Basti children the little Chatri Park in the neighboring district of Nizamuddin West was the only place where there was any nature at all. On the trips there, I noticed how the children spent happy hours in the park. I realized how important it is for children from poor inner-city backgrounds to experience nature as a living space – especially in contrast to their spatially cramped conditions, in which they have to fulfill roles that are not suitable for children……”
“Children unfold their potential in nature. Wonderment, exploration, and a sense of natural expansion and possibility in open air environments fosters creativity and imagination.
As a community-based program, the Hope Project’s Kids in Nature program provides a structure that builds self-esteem and shared values that fosters each child’s uniqueness. Such an environment provides a strong basis for emotional resilience and enhances individual gifts and strengths. Kids in Nature offers common interests that bring kids together rather than personality interest which limits perspective. Children, when tending animals, feel freedom to express love and care to creatures who accept their affection unconditionally.
Too often, stress can be prevalent in a child’s life. Nature can soften that stress and the peer pressure that comes with it. Hearts and minds need space to stretch their feelings, experiences, and intelligence.”