Out & About: Nonprofit Offers Intimate Glimpse of an India Not Often Seen

  • Five year olds practice writing their names in English and Tamil alphabets at one of the creches that Help Kids India supports. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Calendar Editor
Saturday, August 12, 2017

East Corinth — For five years during the 1990s, Catherine Kidder and her husband, Tom, taught at an international boarding school in India.

During their travels around the country with their children, they’d noticed the amount of poverty and need. The experience had a profound affect on the family. “It’s hard to respond to,” Catherine Kidder said.

Upon returning to the states, Kidder became involved with Help Kids India, an East Corinth-based nonprofit organization that financially supports three creches — Indian schools that provide nutrition and schooling to children ages 2-5 who are living in poverty.

“We feel a responsibility for having had such a good time there and the desire to give back,” said Kidder, of West Newbury, who is vice president of the organization’s seven-member board of directors, four of whom live in Vermont.

Education isn’t the only service the schools provide.

“Part of the creche program is to provide complete health care to the children as well as complete nutrition,” Kidder said.

Each creche requires $16,000 a year to run. “It’s really hard to raise funds,” Kidder said. “We’re not big enough to apply to fancy grant organizations, but we’re too big for a bake sale.” Most of the fundraising is done through direct appeal. “We badger our friends,” Kidder said with a laugh.

A couple of area churches give the organization money each year and St. Johnsbury Academy also raises money, in addition to sending students every few years to work at the creches.

On Saturday, at the Bradford (Vt.) Congregational Church, the organization will hold a dinner called “Acha Khana” (Hindi for “great food”). The authentic Indian, vegetarian (and not too spicy) dinner will be prepared by Sheena Arora, of the Asian Super Store in Lebanon. The dinner takes place from 6-8 p.m. and costs $20. Reservations are recommended by calling 802-222-4029.

On Thursday, Kidder will give a talk about the trip she and her husband took to India last fall called “Love at the Creches: Education, Health and Hope for Impoverished Children in South India” at West Newbury Hall at 7 p.m.

“We went to all the creches,” she said. “We visited the homes of the children, so it’s a really intimate look at where they come from and what their communities look like. We don’t see that part of India. It’s very seldom seen.”

Attend Kidder’s talk and the dinner to see that part of India and get caught up in her enthusiasm for helping kids. Because even more than education and health care, the creches provide the kids with something intangible: Hope.

Editor’s note: For more information about Help Kids India, visit www.helpkidsindia.org. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.