Our Paradise in the Woods
There are three components to OneSky’s model for children in villages
and each is equally important: the early learning center, family skills training for caregivers, and community engagement.
It’s not easy to find ways to heal rural villages disrupted as young parents leave home to seek work in distant cities. Our community engagement team seizes every opportunity. In one village, they enlisted the help of OneSky preschool teachers and family mentors and managed to bring the whole community together to create a summer paradise for the children.
The plot of land they chose was one frequented by villagers seeking a bit of shade on hot summer days.
When they approached the landowner with their idea, he was so enthusiastic that he broom-cleaned the whole area himself.
“It is such a good deed you are doing!” he said. “I’ve never known anyone who would make every effort to help our children just like that. I’m happy to do my part. This place will become much livelier when the children play here.”
By the time the sun rose next morning, word had spread.
Villagers arrived from every corner, lugging sand, tires, timber and rags – whatever they could find to contribute to building paradise.
And everyone pitched in to help.
They made sandboxes and play structures and tunnels from woven rags.
The children couldn’t wait. They were underfoot everywhere.
“Let them help,” our preschool teacher said. “They will learn that they are an important part of our community and that they can make a valuable contribution too.”
“What a happy place our village has become,” said one grandma.
“The children are still too little to know many things, but somehow they know this place belongs to them. They know we are making it for them. And we are making it with our love.”
“That’s all we have to give them,” said a grandpa.
“That is enough,” the teacher said.