SPRING 2020 NEWSLETTER

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 Empowering Youth Through Education!

Dear friends of HUGGS,

We are truly in unprecedented times, worrying about our health, families, friends, colleagues and communities. In the face of all this, we are thankful for the HUGGS community joining together to show courage and determination despite these challenges, just as we see our HUGGS students do every day.

As you may have read in a recent email from my fellow board member, Nargis Abraham, we are keeping in close contact with HUGGS staff and students in India, which is currently in lockdown. While home visits have been suspended and the study center is closed, we continue to communicate with the students and staff via WhatsApp. Rations continue to be provided, including the addition of hand sanitizer, and measures have been implemented to ensure rations are handed out while maintaining social distancing measures. We will continue to provide any relevant updates via our website as the weeks go by.

On a more personal note, as a registered nurse in the emergency department, I have been blown away the way our communities have come together to support each other. I still tear up every evening at 7pm as people cheer from their windows and balconies for the front line workers.

On behalf of the whole HUGGS team, I thank you all, not only for your continued generosity and support, but also for continuing to lift each other up and connect, despite the isolation. If you do have any questions or concerns, you can still contact us at info@huggscanada.org or +1 (604) 988-4898. We hope you and your families remain healthy and safe. Keep up with the social distancing, hand washing, and looking out for each other, and together, we will make it through!

Rachel Samuel,

Board Member

 

India's Fight Against COVID-19

How is one of the most densely populated countries in the world fighting COVID-19? Here's what the Indian government is doing to keep HUGGS students and other Indians safe:

  • The country announced a three week lockdown (absolutely no stores open, no transport, ban on leaving homes) which started on March 25 and will most likely be extended
  • 5,000 train coaches are being converted into quarantine wards which will provide 40,000 extra beds. They are also prepared to convert 15,000 more coaches if needed.

Isolation Ward Covid-19

       Isolation Ward in a Train Coach

  • The Indian Railways catering division are using their kitchens to cook up meals for the poor.
  • The government has removed the customs and duty on the import of masks, ventilators, testing kits and other COVID-19 related medical equipment
  • Various private Corporations are banding together to form COVID-19 response teams, to source and provide suppliers for hospitals and medical workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

A Revitalizing Week in Vizag

HUGGS Board Member, Nargis Abraham, visited the HUGGS Center in Vizag from January 31 - February 5, 2020. Below is her account of the trip.

I was so excited to be able to visit Vizag once again to reconnect with old friends and meet new faces in the HUGGs Community. This trip, my agenda would be focused on three things:

  • Interviews with new applicants
  • Home visits
  • Our annual Alumni Dinner

The day after I arrived, I set off to the HUGGS Study Center where I was greeted by a sea of eager new applicants. Their interviews were conducted seamlessly as usual, thanks to the meticulous planning by our coordinator and administrator. All 25 applicants seemed eager, studious and grateful for the opportunity of a HUGGS scholarship.

While at the study center, I also had the opportunity observe the distribution of monthly rations to students' families. Bags of rice, lentils, cooking oil and hygiene items for the boys and girls, were handed out efficiently by our team to extremely grateful students and their families.

Student Interview  Ration Distribution

Conducting Student Interview        Ration Distribution at HSC 

         Home Visit

             Home Visit     

After the interviews, I visited the home of three students - Rafee, Ghousiya and Balaji. I was even treated to lunch at Balaji's home! Their hospitality was humbling and it's always an eye-opener to get a peek into the personal lives of our students.

Finally, on February 2, was one of our most special events - the Alumni Dinner. HUGGS believes in maintaining connections with its students beyond their graduation and entry into the world of work. Once a year, we bring all our alumni back together for a beautiful evening of fun, games, delicious food and most of all, comradery. Twenty-eight alumni came to the dinner, dressed to the nines in sparkling outfits, overjoyed to meet their old friends again.  It was truly gratifying to hear about their success stories:

  • Gayatri is now a senior police constable
  • Reshma had morphed from the shy girl I had met six years ago to a confident young lady, earning a handsome salary and set to marry a man of her own choosing
  • Satibabu spoke excitedly about teaching Vedi Maths to high school students
  • Sai Venkatesh, now an enthusiastic young engineer, explained his work on defence equipment

Alumni Dinner  Alumni Dinner 2020 Group Photo

Alumni Dinner

All this, the Alumni dinner, rations and of course, our tutoring program, is only possible because of the generosity of you, our donors and friends. So, thank you for giving because as you can see, you are truly transforming the lives of the leaders of tomorrow.

Art Gratitude from the Father of a Student

"HUGGS is the tree with branches that protect and encourage students to grow".

Art by a Father of a Student

To make a donation visit www.huggscanada.org 

or contact us at 604-988-4898 or info@huggscanada.org 

*Annual Sponsorships Available

Full $1500 - $2000

Shared $500

Visit our website at https://www.huggscanada.org

Charitable registration number:87497 9305 RR0001

 

 

Madhu with Students

You can help more students realize their dreams! Every dollar makes a difference. Thank you to our amazing donors - your generous support positively changes young lives!

HUGGS Charitable Registration Number: 87497 9305 RR0001

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