Meet 16-year-old R. Hepzibah, daughter of Arrayi — a flower-seller of Chennai’s Link Road. Hepzibah might be born and brought up on the street, but she has just returned from Brazil, where she represented India in the World Street Child Games which was held a week ago. Hepzibah has bagged three medals in the competition, including one gold and all in the field of athletics.
Hepzibah’s journey is a tale of inspiration for many more children now. Hepzibah lost her father when she was just three-year-old and since then her mother is the sole breadwinner of the family that includes four daughters.
Hepzibah realised her dream of athletics when she was in sixth standard. Since then she has been participating in many local and district-level competitions. But when Karunalaya, an NGO for street children in Tondiarpet approached her, she got the opportunity of her lifetime to participate in the World Street Child Games. The NGO funded her for her entire trip.
With her success the family has been since then receiving a lot of well-wishes.
Retiring after spending 32 years in the Indian Army, Col Chris Rego is helping change the destinies of hundreds of children in conflict-affected North East India through his “White Bullets” initiative. With this initiative, he hopes to bring peace and progress to communities across North East India.
Luminouswanted to bring out the Colonel’s story to the world to inspire and motivate others as it believes that education is a strong tool to empower women. It is supporting Col Rego’s cause through an initiative called #Luminaries – the brave people who stand up for causes like girl child education and make a difference in the society.
Col Rego’s journey started over a decade ago in Manipur when a tribal woman knocked on his door pleading for support for her daughter’s education. Touched by the woman’s story, Col Rego and his wife delved into their savings and arranged for the money for the girl’s education. Two years down the line, the woman returned, this time with a small pumpkin and a shawl that she had knitted, and all the money she had borrowed. Moved and realizing that their money could make lives rather than earn paltry interest, Col and Mrs. Rego embarked on a journey to arrange for sponsorship of many more underprivileged children.
Retiring from the Army, Col Rego took over as CEO of Sunbird Trust, a not-for-profit organization which he founded in 2014. The Trust now sponsor over 1,000 children in 21 locations acrossNorth East India. The centre of Sunbird Trust’s activities is at beautiful Ijeirong, Manipur.
Recognizing Col Chris’s immense work, Luminousacknowledged him as their first Luminary. Through this, they hope to bring more power to his elbow in the notable work he is doing. The Luminousteam travelled to remote Ijeirong village and installed solar products. These solar products will help in providing power to the entire campus 24/7 for the very first time.
The Logical Indian salutes Col Christopher Rego for his untiring efforts and leadership. His efforts are already having a cascading effect on people from across India joining the “White Bullets” endeavour. Quite amazingly, education, in itself so empowering, is merely a means to PEACE. We hope the path illuminated by #Luminary Col Rego and his Sunbird Trust team acts as a beacon for others to follow.
If you too have stories of change, share them with us. And if you want to connect with Colonel Rego, click here.