CWS School Kits and Our Indian Mission

Jeanne Jacoby Smith | January 3, 2014

If anyone has wondered what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a CWS School Kit, my husband and I recently had that experience. Two years ago, we were assigned to do short-term teaching at our seminary in Gujarat, India. One evening we were taken out in the country to the Church of North India orphanage – the Paradise Orphanage. We visited them the previous year and were very impressed with the way Father Albert and his wife cared for the 72 children on the premises.

This year, before we returned to India, five women from the McPherson Church of the Brethren sewed 80 CWS School Kits using the CWS pattern. Herb and I took them with us on our flight, along with pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers and other items to fill the kits. Since notebooks were too heavy for our luggage, we bought them there.

One night after class, a driver took us back to Paradise Orphanage. The children were told we were coming and, when we arrived, they piled against our vehicle so tightly we could barely get the doors open. When we managed to crawl out, they quickly lined up in front of us, smiles bursting their sweet little faces. Then, one by one, they stepped up to get their kits.

When each child received their kit, they called out loudly and distinctly, “Dank you!” They held their kits up high so all the others could admire them, and then each child zipped to the side so the others could get theirs, too. In the half hour it took to distribute them, not a single child failed to say, “Dank you!”

We’ve never seen such joy as those children expressed that night. None complained that they got the wrong color. All were genuinely happy. Their excitement was truly inspiring. I was overwhelmed with their graciousness from the minute we arrived and overcome with love for those beautiful children.

If the people who sew School Kits for Church World Service could see the faces of those who receive them, they would sew non-stop all year. The kits are so appreciated by recipients. Thanks be to God for generous hearts of those in our churches who endorse the CWS Kits ministry.

Jeanne Jacoby Smith, McPherson (KS) Church of the Brethren