A Real Giver

by Sherry Loshnowsky (Peru Tribune Staff Writer) 1/24/09
(((This made it to the front page of the weekend edition. *smiles*)))
As Americans, most of us are sheltered from the poverty, suffering, and oppression that is a daily reality for most of the world’s popultion.

But one Peru resident is getting ready to embark on a journey that will give her a little taste of that and much more.

Sandi Giver, a 2003 Peru High School graduate, has recently been accepted to participate in a four-month mission trip to Calcutta, India, where she’ll be building relationships with women who live under the most dehumanizing conditions– those who have been exploited in the sex trade.

The great prevalence of prostitution in India and Southern Asia is something no one wants to talk about. Giver will be ministering at an organization called Sari Bari, where women can cut their ties with the trade, have their dignity restored and experience new life in the making..

Every woman at Sari Bari has a story– many Indian girls are sold or forced into the trade as young as 12 years old, according to the ministry’s Web site. There are stories of desperate poverty that compelled a choice no one should have to make.

Giver has always had a heart for hurting women and children. She worked for a year as a house mother at Nesting Doves, a home for pregnant women and teens ages 13 to 23 in Kokomo, and she’s also worked as an intern at Rainbow Christian Camp for the last two summers. For the past four years she’s worked at group homes for the mentally handicapped with Bona Vista.

“This is me living out my dreams and desires,” she explained. “I think there’s a greater good and that we should help people– I don’t like to see other people hurting.”

Her dream of being a part of the program in India started to materialize about two years ago, when she was inspired after hearing a woman speak about Sari Bari at Crossroads Community church in Kokomo.

The ladies at Sari Bari earn a living by making blankets and purses from old saris– a shawl that’s traditional attire for Indian women.

“It’s an awesome part of the process– they take something that’s old and make it into something new,” Giver said, explaining how the process parallels the amazing transformation that takes place in the ladies’ lives as they walk away from their former lifestyle.

Giver will be a part of a team of seven ((((Actually, there are only 4 of us)))) that will work to build relationships with the pepole there. They will be living at a rescue mission ((((I found out we are staying at a house)))) during their stay– living amongst the people in an effort to gain a small glimpse of their poverty and culture.

She’s getting a bit nervous as the day to leave approaches– she will be overseas from Februay 9 to June 10. Her time working at Nesting Doves, however, was certainly good preparation for what she’s about to face.

“There were people there who had been raped and had come out of all sorts of bad situations,” she said. “It really opened my eyes.

“For them, it’s one way they can make money, to sell their bodies,” she said of the women at Sari Bari. “There is definitly going to be some culture shock.”

Her plans for mission work stretch beyond this trip– Giver has already been accepted to the Peace Corps as well and will be going to Africa in August to work with youth development in the HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness field.

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