January 28, 2015 by Nancy Enriquez ·
Two super Spartans travel to India on a mission to help raise awareness about gendercide.
TJ is known for its involvement in the broader community, and now that involvement extends to the international community as well. Recently two seniors, Kellsie Forfar-Jones and Alisse Fullerton, travelled to India for seven days to raise awareness of gendercide, the systematic killing of women and children simply because they are female, and help orphaned girls.
Forfar-Jones had always dreamed of travelling to India and her dream became a reality when her church offered its members a chance to travel to India with an organization called Freedom Ministries. Nelson and Janet Thomas-Raja founded the Freedom Ministries Angel House project. Once Forfar-Jones discovered the mission trip, she told Fullerton about it. “I decided to go because I thought it would be an amazing opportunity,” explained Fullerton. “It was a mission trip, so I thought it would be an amazing way to explore my faith and help people in the process.”
A total of 13 people from Forfar-Jones’ church went on the mission. It was a ten day trip, including three days of flying and seven days for the mission. They arrived at a small village called Billy Gundu, where gendercide is a major problem. Gendercide is a deeply rooted cultural tradition that has been practiced in India for centuries. “Our mission was to raise awareness about gendercide and hopefully start the long process in ending it,” described Forfar-Jones. Fullerton added, “Women are seen as less than men in India to an extent as far as kicking out women who are going to give birth to a girl, or killing baby girls once they are born.”
Another part of the mission was to simply interact with the girls. Forfar-Jones and Fullerton, along with the other members of the group, all brought items such as coffee, cheese, candy, glow sticks, toys and coloring books. The Rotary Club, which is the sponsor for TJ’s Interact Club, donated 30 soccer balls. Interact Club advisor and Rotary member Danny Showers gave the Interact Club flag to Forfar-Jones and Fullerton to take to India to show and explain about Interact Club. Their trip to India counts as the international project for Interact Club. Not only did the girls get new toys to play with, but they were also taught some essential skills. “We did an activity with the kids which taught them how to brush their teeth and we gave them toothpaste and a toothbrush,” explained Fullerton. “Most of the kids had never owned a toothbrush before.”
When Forfar-Jones and Fullerton weren’t playing with or teaching the kids, they participated in other activities as well. “While in India, we did tons and tons of shopping! Everything in India is so cheap since our dollars equal about 61 rupees, so you could get an entire meal for about fifteen people at a really nice restaurant for like seventy dollars!”, mentioned Fullerton. “We also went to a small fishing village alongside a river on the way to Billy Gundu and took a tiny little boat tour at Karnataka Falls in these flat circular boats. It was so incredibly beautiful!”
Forfar-Jones was able to fulfill her dream of going to India and she was able to help take a step towards ending gendercide. Fullerton described “being in India changed my whole perspective on life. There are people halfway around the world who literally have nothing in their homes apart from a bed, and are still so eager to love and do anything for you. We are so privileged in everything we have in the U.S., and yet most of us aren’t happy, and aren’t as willing to spread love and peace.”
These two seniors have impacted the orphaned girls in India in a very positive way and have also inspired TJ students to go beyond with their learning. TJ principal Suzanne Morris-Sherer stated, “This trip has helped students see how privileged they really are in this country and how truly underprivileged others are. This trip has opened up their minds to what they want to do with their future and to help others. I think that was another big piece of this trip.” Forfar- Jones concluded with, “I can’t begin to stress how important it is to treat people and other living things around us with love. I think once a few people start to live this way it’ll spread and the world will become a better place.”
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