Saturday, December 8, 2007

Holiday Blessings

The holiday season is in full swing and it just seems to keep getting busier. To be completely honest, in years past the holidays have been a little depressing for me. Watching our family spend lots of money on wonderful gifts, most of which we don't need, always seemed so sad. Sure, seeing my kids faces on Christmas morning is nothing but complete joy. But in my mind are always the children who don't have the amazingly joyful time each year of giggling over what Santa brought, or thanking countless relatives for their gifts.

This year is different though. This year I seem to be thinking about all of the blessings we have been able to provide to children around the world. I'm beyond words when I think about the grant Angel Covers recently received, which will provide all of the children at Humble Hearts lunch each and every school day of 2008 and 2009. I'm moved to tears by the nutrition report we recently received about the children of Huaibei. After only 3 months they have gained weight and look so much healthier.

Individuals have asked to be put on a waiting list for our next sponsorship program in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The last Mama's Wish college student was sponsored in full. Some of these children aren't even aware yet that they have so many people who love them. Can you imagine what a gift they will be given when they learn they will have the opportunity to reach for the stars?

I'm thrilled beyond belief that the holiday cards so lovingly organized by a wonderful volunteer are FLYING off the shelves. Ok, time for a shameless plug. :-) Get your cards fast! We only have about 60 boxes left and all of the funds raised from these cards will be used to benefit the Humble Hearts school. We are overwhelmed (in a good way) that so many of you are ordering our products by the dozens for your holiday gifts, knowing that you are also helping so many children. We are printing gift cards for teachers, grandparents, friends, and so many others by those of you who want your gifts to be a donation in a loved ones honor.

Today I had the honor of packing yet another box of blankets to go to an orphanage in Ethiopia. We were blessed to be contacted by a woman whose family is adopting a beautiful little boy in January and they have agreed to find room in their suitcases for 83 of our blankets for their son's orphanage. Hats are soon going to Kazakhstan, additional blankets will be going to China, and countless supplies will be going to Kenya, all because of volunteers willing to make room in their suitcases. The volunteers who provided Christmas gifts to all of the children at Humble Hearts during the annual Christmas party showed those children they are loved and valued by strangers around the world.

Although there is still plenty of time to order, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you who already have provided lovely gifts to your loved ones, and have done so by helping so many beautiful children around the world. The need is great! But, with everyone's support more and more children will have a blessed holiday season.

Kari Fillmore

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holiday cards helping kids

Kids never cease to amaze me. They are creative, positive in the face of adversity, and always dreaming. The children of the Humble Hearts School for the deaf are no different. This small school (only 230 students) is the only school many of these children have ever known. They are studying in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya in classrooms with leaky ceilings, dirt floors infested with fleas, and tin walls that heat up like an oven. And yet, they are so thankful! They are thrilled to be studying without enough textbooks or desks, with a train passing within yards of the school each day, and with few school supplies.

Within these difficult conditions, the teachers are providing the best possible care and the children are creating beautiful artwork. We have had the privilege of turning some of that artwork into holiday cards. These are are now available, but only in limited quantities. Each box contains 10 cards of one design and are perfect for any holiday. The proceeds from the sale of these cards will go back to the Humble Hearts School to fix the leaky roofs and will put cement on the floors.

Please consider ordering some of these beautiful cards. They will truly change lives while you wish your loved ones a happy holiday season.

Kari Fillmore

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nutrition is oh so important

Approximately 6 weeks ago, Angel Covers partnered with Love Without Boundaries to provide extra nutrition to the children in the Huaibei, Anhui Social Welfare Institute in China. Each month 120 boxes of rice cereal and 168 bags of formula are being sent to this SWI to help them provide these beautiful children with even more nutrition.

Seeing the boxes of formula and rice cereal arrive is always exciting. The staff at this orphanage love the babies so much, and they work hard in exhausting conditions to provide wonderful care for the children. This week we received pictures of the beautiful babies with full bottle and pudgy fingers.
Good nutrition isn't just about full bellies. It's about healthy lives, and strong bones. It's about being able to develop physically and emotionally without the stress of a an empty tummy. It's about aunties who don't have to hear a baby cry of hunger and wish they could do something about it. This nutrition program is important for the children as well as their caregivers. If you'd like to help us make a difference in these children's lives, please go to and click on the donation button. It only costs $15 per month to help feed one of these precious babies so any amount, large or small, makes a huge difference in their lives.

There is nothing more peaceful than a happy baby and these beautiful, happy faces are what Angel Covers is all about.

Kari Fillmore

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Xuri School Visit 2007

Xuri School

The Xuri School is a poor Tibetan all boys school set along the beautiful yellow river. We were greeted by a Lama who is the head master of the school. His eyes beam with pride for his students and he has a heart that is bigger than the river itself. He takes in the poorest of students, many who are orphaned. These students do not pay tuition as none can afford it. For many of these students, being provided this schooling is a matter of survival for them. The head master has taken many loans to provide the food, shelter, clothing, and books for the students. Most of the teachers at this school are monks and do not get paid. This school does not receive any government funding. The children here receive a home, a traditional Tibetan education, with Chinese and English language classes, food, clothing, and other essentials.

These children have such beautiful smiles and welcomed us into their school. We gave each child a small token gift and the excitement in their faces was barely containable. It was such a joy to know that our visit put a smile on their faces. It was such an honor to meet these teachers and children at this school.

During our meeting, the head master asked if there was a way we can help fund a tree program. They would like to plant trees that produce a fruit that is valuable in the area for food and medicine. This tree program will provide ongoing income each year for the school. The fruit from these trees can be harvested each summer, beginning on the 3rd year. They provided the fruit for us to sample and we realized it is the Goji fruit that is beginning to circulate the markets in recent years.

I have many pictures of these students. We are hoping to find sponsors for at least six of the younger students who are orphaned and have no where else to go. I am posting a picture of these six precious boys.

Laureen Dorow
Angel Covers Education Director

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tongren Home Visits

TongRen Home Visits

I had the unique opportunity to visit the homes of some of the girls in the Mama’s Wish Program. One specific home visit had a profound effect on me. It was a home of a college student who lives with her high school sister. They do not have a mother and the father does not show up very often and has alcohol issues. The uncle checks in on the girls and helps them the best he can, but he too is poor and lives a bit of a distance away. The home is very small. It consists of one room about 10X15 with no running water or electricity. There is a raised cement block with a rug on one end of the room for sleeping. There is also a small room to the side that holds a cauldron and firewood for cooking purposes.

The two girls and their uncle were very excited to have us visit. The home was very orderly and clean. Even though they did not have money, they managed to serve us Yak milk and fresh bread. They took so much pride in what they offered; it brings tears to my eyes. To know the financial difficulty it must have been for them to provide for our visit is bittersweet.
As the uncle talked about the family situation with the father and the difficult lives these girls are faced with, you can see the love and concern for the girls in the uncle’s eyes. It moved everyone in the room to tears.
It was a cold damp day and these girls did not have a coat to keep them warm. The pipes from the well washed away last year and they no longer have water. We were able to arrange to have coats delivered to them for the next day, but I wonder how many more children were nearby that we don’t know about who desperately need coats as winter approaches.

I couldn't resist taking this photo of six children peeking through the doors watching us at one of the home visits-we caught them!

Laureen Dorow
AC-Education Director

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Our First Visit at TongRen...2007

As we round the turn to enter the school there stood lines of students, teachers, and parents in two long rows to welcome us. We climb out of the car and are greeted with the placement of Heda’s around out neck. Heda's are Tibetan prayer shawls. To see the parents who some have traveled many miles, even days to meet us was a humbling experience. Most do not have transportation and so must walk or they may catch a ride for some of the way, but again, many spent most of their travels on their feet. The love for their children and the appreciation they have for the opportunity of education given to their children is seen in their eyes and faces, but difficult to express in words.

We had lunch with the girls and later on in the evening there was a party where the girls performed with singing and dancing. They had a great amount of talent and enthusiasm. We ended the evening with the exchange of gifts for the college students.

The next day we began taking photos of each of the girls and began the interviews of each of the girls. This process took two wholes days and into the evenings. I learned so much about the girls through these interviews. As sponsors, when you get the reports you will too learn more about the girls you sponsor. What I found most intriguing at the beginning was many had similar answers to the question of if they needed anything. They want composition books and English/Chinese and other translation dictionaries. The most difficult answer that a few of the girls said was to have money to able to go home on the weekends even just once a month. I asked them how much a taxi would cost for the round trip and found that the cost is between 5-7 RMB, yes less than $1! It was very difficult not to reach into my pocket at that moment and give them that wish.

They all spend most of their time studying and all want to go to college when they finish. Most said they want to be a teacher or a doctor and want to come back to Tongren or their home village to help others they way Mama’s Wish is helping them. Almost all the students say that their most favorite activities are singing and dancing, and many said badminton and reading.

When I asked the students to tell me about a favorite memory, some said when they found out that they can go back to school, many said it was the day they graduated from middle school and the teachers took the students to a field for a party to celebrate their completion of middle school. What I found most touching is that some of the girls said that on the weekends that they get to go back to home, their favorite memory is brushing their moms hair and washing their dad’s feet.
Despite the extreme poverty and challenging lives, these girls have hope and a sparkle in their eye. They study very hard because they know that if they succeed in school, it will provide the opportunity to alleviate the poverty for them, their family, and even the village they are from. They are all thankful to their sponsors who have given them the gift they thought was denied…the gift of hop, the gift of education!

Laureen Dorow

Education Director

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kids Helping Kids

Angel Covers has amazing supporters all over the world, but the ones who make me smile the most are the kids. They have the biggest hearts and complete joy with doing things for others. They have such pride in what they are doing and have the purest intentions.

This summer, children around the US raised money for kids around the world by selling lemonade and so many other ways. Two kids held lemonade stands and raised money for a guard at Humble Hearts, and for a little boy in China to have heart surgery. We received the saddest news this week when we learned that the little boy in China died before receiving surgery. We aren't clear as to what caused is death....was he sicker than the doctors thought? Did he have another undiagnosed illness? What I do know, is that the children who tried to save him, did so with as much love in their hearts as any of us have. They didn't know him, and didn't want anything back. They just wanted to help another child. And the funds they raised will be used to help another baby with a heart condition as soon as possible.

Although the news this week was so sad about this precious baby, we also received a beautiful donation from another little girl, Mia. Mia asked her friends to make donations to Angel Covers for bouncy seats rather than receive birthday presents. She raised $88, enough to purchase 11 bouncers for babies throughout China! Her selflessness will allow so many babies to see their world and be out of their cribs. The babies receiving these bouncers will grown and and be a part of the world like they never have before.

We should all be like Mia and so many other children supporting children less fortunate. We should always give of ourselves without expecting anything in return. I've always know that we can learn so much from kids all over the world. These children are living proof of that.

Kari Fillmore

Thursday, September 20, 2007


This past weekend I was asked to come speak at a church in Kansas as well as an open house. I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be interviewed by a T.V. station and radio station. All weekend I met wonderful people who care deeply about the children we work with. At each talk I gave, children were sponsored, products were purchased, and people expressed great interest in getting more involved with Angel Covers.

While speaking at a church, I was asked if I consider Angel Covers to be successful or when we'll know that this organization is successful. My first instinct was to say, "Of course Angel Covers is successful. We have volunteers around the world who work hard and give their own financial resources to travel around the world. We care for thousands of children on a regular basis and they are healthier and have a better education because of it."

But, I also started thinking about success for the children we have the privilege to work with means to them. Sometimes success for these kids isn't measurable. Instead, it's in their attitudes about life and the hope for the future. Angel Covers is successful because it has given children around the world the confidence to dream of a different life, to hope for the future, to believe in themselves…you can see it in their eyes when you meet them. The kids I have meet, seem to believe that that I’m the one who has given them this sense of relief and joy in their lives. They don’t understand yet that this isn’t from me or any of our volunteers, but from themselves. Maybe the conduit is the programs we set up, or the food we provided, but they used those things and allowed themselves to believe they are capable of achieving more than they ever thought before.

AC will be successful when these girls graduate from high school or college. When the kids in Kenya graduate from high school or a trade school, and are able to support themselves and have a better life than they grew up with. When they don’t feel like they have to abandon their children as the only way to care for them, when they can work all day on a regular basis and afford to put food on the table each and every day, when they don’t contract AIDS or other diseases because they have the knowledge to prevent it….that’s also when AC will be successful. These kids look at us as if we are their hero’s, but what they don’t yet understand is that they are ours. If we can ever convey that message to them and have them truly understand it….well, I can’t think of a greater success than that. And when our first group of high school girls graduates, or the first group of Humble Hearts kids graduate, I’m going to be there tell them they are my hero’s. Because that’s what this is all about.

Kari Fillmore

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What an amazing 5 years!

This weekend I'll be traveling to Kansas for a couple of speeches, as well as TV and radio interviews. Throughout week as I've been preparing, I've been looking through 5 years worth of photos and trying to select just a few to take with me. Never did I realize just how difficult that would be. We have thousands of photos from dozens of of the most beautiful children whose lives we have been privileged to touch. Babies who didn't know what a full belly felt like, but now have cute chubby rolls of skin. Children who had no toys, now have hula hoops and smiles on their faces. Children who couldn't hear, now have hearing aids and a speech therapist.

My goal this weekend is simply to spread the word; about our work, about our amazing sponsors, but most importantly about these children. I completely believe that every child has the potential to reach for the stars and grab them. Children around the world will be the ones to cure the various forms of cancer, find a vaccine for AIDS, or be the next leaders in peace. These children are being taught math, science, history, and other school subjects. But, more importantly they are being taught to believe in themselves. They are being taught that there is a world past poverty and despair. They are now believing they have a future past wondering where their next meal will come from.

Sometimes it's easy to feel like their are to many many children who need help. But I was reminded this week of the huge impact we are making for the kids we serve. And although we aren't helping every needy child, we are doing everything we can to care for as many as possible because they each deserve to hope.

Kari Fillmore

Monday, September 3, 2007

Our Sponsors Make a Difference...Thank You!!!

When I first became aware of the needs of the girls, I was astounded. I really wanted to make a difference, but the need is so big. How can one person make such a difference? I realized when each of us takes one small piece, it is suddenly very achievable and the difference we can make is surmountable.
I would like to say thank you to all our wonderful and generous sponsors and donors. Each and every one of you has taken on a piece and together we are making such a positive impact in the lives of so many girls. Your generosity has truly impacted the lives of these girls. The hope for a better future with an education that they never thought possible is suddenly in their sights! It is a gift that they will possess for their entire life.

Some quotes from our sponsors:

“I wonder who gets the larger feeling of "being blessed? I kind of feel right now like it is me. Mama's Wish" really is doing amazing and wonderful things in this world.”

“I'm so excited. (its funny how one can feel such an affinity and excitement for a total stranger - guess that's something we get passed to us with our own motherhood). Thanks so much!

“Thank you for your help and the work you do to help these students find support.”

“Thank you for raising awareness and helping these girls.”

“One of my fondest memories is 'back to school' time for me and my children - the excitement about a new teacher, back to school supplies and new clothes. My children are grown but my grandchildren remind me that some things never change. As Labor Day week-end approaches and my family's plans are underway for our final 'official' summer celebration, the thought of helping young women across the globe
create those memories was too much to keep inside for this grandmother. Every girl that chooses to go to high school in that province will have a sponsor - you have my word.”

Every year there are many girls who are prepared to enter high school, but they have one huge obstacle that prevents them from attending. This obstacle is tuition. For a girl to go to middle and high school the cost is about $10 per month, but with the average family income of $100 per year, how could one possible afford tuition? When a sponsor steps forward, an impossible dream becomes a reality! Many of the girls who have been sponsored have graduated from high school, taken and passed the national exams, and have been accepted to University!
Angel Covers wants to give this opportunity to every girl who wants to go to school to learn to better her future for herself, her family, and her village. Thank you to each and every one of you who has made an incredible difference in someone else’s life. Thank you for your continued support and spreading the word about the needs of these incredible girls!

Laureen Dorow
Angel Covers-Education Director

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Deja Vu:

The Mama’s Wish Miracle Continues

August 2005 stands out vividly in my memory because I witnessed a 48-hour miracle. We received photos of 23 girls and were asked if sponsors could be found for any of them. We agreed to try, and hoped that perhaps 3-4 of the girls would be sponsored, as time was extremely limited. The outpouring of concern for these girls was absolutely overwhelming, and in very little time we had not only those 23 girls sponsored, but many, more than that, and several college students too!

Fast forward to 2007, and once again I am witnessing a Mama’s Wish Miracle. This time we were given information on 51 girls, plus a possible 14 more who had left school the year before due to lack of funding. I admit that I had low expectations; after all, many families are cutting back financially right now and I was skeptical that we would be able to get word out quickly enough to help all but just a few of the girls. Oh, ye of little faith! Yet again I am awestruck by the generosity and commitment by so many people to see that every single one of these girls be given the opportunity to attend school. This should no longer surprise me, because word of mouth is lightening quick in these days of Internet and e-mail lists. Thank you to all of you who forwarded our plea for sponsors to family and friends. Although we still have a few girls in need of sponsorship available on our website, I am thrilled to let you know that as of tonight every one of these precious girls has been told to pack their bags and get ready to travel to boarding school in TongRen. Isn’t that wonderful? Teacher Jian Cuo, one of the founders of the Mama’s Wish program, delivered the good news personally to families in villages far and wide. I received the following email late last night from Nicole Fan, our China Facilitator who works with Jian Cuo to manage the program in China:

“Jian Cuo spoke to all the sponsored girls today. He told me that all of us should have witnessed this. He said the girls and their family members gathered together and some were laughing, some were crying and some were jumping. He said that these girls are the happiest kids in the world. The new college girls can't believe they are sponsored too! They are so much blessed! Everybody said 'Thank You' and they said they wish there are more words exist to express their feeling.”

It has been so moving to read all of the wonderful notes that sponsors are sending in with their sponsorship payments. We gathered several of them together and send them to Nicole so that she could see just how wonderful and generous you all are. She forwarded the email to Jian Cuo, and a short time later replied with the following:

“I wrote the following to Jian Cuo and told him that these love letters from sponsors are very touching. I asked him to have some Mama’s Wish college girls to translate the letters and read to our new students so that they will know how lovely and respectable these sponsors are. I wish by reading their letters, our students can learn to be grateful and to be happy by giving and loving others. Jian Cuo told me the college girls have already started the translation and he is going to make copies and hand to every student.”
School starts on September 5th and thanks to you dozens of bright, beautiful, and promising girls have received the gift of an education and ultimately the gift of changing the course of their lives. Thank you for helping them to reach for the stars.

Angela Taylor
Mama’s Wish Education

For information on how you can help change the world by educating a promising young girl in the Mama’s Wish program, please contact We have one college student and a few more high school students in need of sponsorship.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Amazing sponsors

Once again we are humbled by the response from our sponsors to children in need. From around the world you have come together to support the children of China. In the past 36 hours, more than 30 children have been sponsored! Girls who never would have had the opportunity to go to high school and college are now packing their bags. Girls who had to leave school last year because their funding ran out, are now going to return.

Last night we had the opportunity to tell Mr. Jian Cuo to "call" the 14 girls who had to leave school last year and tell them they will be able to return. Bus drivers are telling farmers on horseback, farmers on horseback are telling village leaders, and village leaders are walking to the houses of these girls to tell them to pack their bags for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Because of your generosity, girls will learn not only their academic lessons, but will learn they are capable; capable of achieving more than they ever imagined. These girls are no doubt being moved to tears knowing there are people around the world who care enough to believe in them, just as i have been this week. You are not only their sponsors, but their mothers and fathers who want them to have the world. You are fulfilling their mama's wish.

Kari Fillmore

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mama's Wish

Most of the time we do not approach you with a financial deadline. That is because the startup of our programs is generally funded and we are expanding and growing programs. We recently announced our partnership with Love Without Boundaries to expand the Mama's Wish program, sending young women to high school and college from remote and poor villages. Without the Mama's Wish Foundation overseeing this program, these young women would never be given the chance to achieve a high school or college education. As school is starting here in the U.S., the same holds true in China. Without sponsorship, the young women who are candidates to attend high school and college, may not be able to attend. Fees must be paid for their tuition on September 1st. As we approach this deadline, we look at the number of sponsors who have signed up and the number of women remaining unsponsored. We are thrilled to have every sponsorship received so far. The reality is that our general budget will not be able to sustain all of the unsponsored young women, and the hope and dreams of their high school and college educations are quickly disappearing. Last year, 14 students had to leave school because the Mama's Wish Foundation did not have adequate funding. We ask everyone of you to read the following excerpts from a report Angela wrote for the Love Without Boundaries sponsors after she traveled to visit the schools and meet the students in May of 2006. After reading this, we ask you to truly consider helping the remaining unsponsored students.

The students in the program at this school all appear happy, healthy, and well-fed. Though the dorms are old and over-crowded by my standards (eight girls per room), the facilities are as clean as can be expected in this region. They definitely take pride in their studies and in their school, and their families are (for the most part) incredibly grateful for the opportunity for the girls to attend school. There are a few exceptions, as some families did not want the girls to get an education, and some had even arranged marriages for the girls to try to keep them home. The families now appear to be very proud of the girls, and have accepted the idea that educating girls is a positive thing.

On the other hand, I also met with families who defied local tradition and wanted the girls to be able to go to school, despite contrary traditions that were hundreds of years old. One father I met was the village chief, and his daughter is the first girl in the village ever to attend high school. He beamed as he told me through the translator that his goal now is for every girl to go to high school. I will never forget the proud look in his eyes as he stood with his arms around his daughter, and the determination in his voice as he spoke about his desire to see every child in his village educated, rather than just the boys.

I also spoke with families from villages where no one – boy or girl – had ever gone to high school. These girls are true trailblazers from their villages. The accomplishment of a girl being the first person in her village to receive a high school education cannot be overestimated. What I loved about these girls was their confidence. They stood before me as though they belonged in high school – which, of course, they do! I met so many future leaders in this school, and I am privileged to have met each one of them.

I was impressed by the teachers, school officials, and most of all the students at this school. (Can I say that again? These young men and women are impressive.) It is a poor school which has large financial needs – in need of new dorms, science labs, library, etc. – but they are humble in what they ask from us. In fact, all they asked was whether or not we could commit to sponsoring our current 40 students for the next three years so that they can finish high school. They are hospitable, friendly, and devoted to education.

Mama’s Wish Foundation:
Established in 1992 to help young women who have the intelligence and ability to pursue an academic career, Mama’s Wish Foundation is an extension of the Rebgong Cultural Center. The young women in the program are from nomadic or farming families who do not have the resources to enable their daughters to get an education. The goal of Mama’s Wish is to provide real help where it is needed most.

The [five founding members of Mama's Wish] have been friends for 20-30 years and have worked together for several years as well. They are all dedicated to educating the children in their region, and they have committed countless hours to the Mama’s Wish education program. The teachers outlined for me the required steps to becoming a student in the Mama’s Wish program. They are as follows:

Four Steps to Becoming a Mama’s Wish Student:

  • Teachers from area schools submit student’s name for consideration to the MW Foundation.

  • Student takes an academic test provided by MWF.

  • If the student passes the test, all five MW teachers visit the student in her home. They look for things to confirm that this is the student’s home, such as family photos and asking the family to provide documents that would be kept in their home (such as prior year’s report cards) .

  • The five MW teachers meet and vote on which students to accept to the program and which ones to deny. This is based on academic excellence, personal interview, and financial need. The teachers then make a list and rank each student. They then attempt to find sponsors for the students.
    In a normal year, they usually find sponsors for ten or less high school students and 3-4 college students.

Until last year, this was a very small foundation, because the region is remote and it is difficult to find local sponsors who can afford to help with tuition expenses. Last year they had 60 eligible high school students in total on their list, and we sponsored most of them. They are extremely proud to have sponsors for so many students last year, and so grateful to have sponsors for so many college students. The help that we are providing is “beyond their dreams.”

But of all of my memories, what I wish the most is that you could have seen the look of gratitude in their families’ eyes.

The elder brother of a college student, who walked for two days from his village before catching a bus and riding for hours to get to the school – not to see his brother, who was away at college, but to see us and thank us for sponsoring his education. He traveled over 100km just to say thank you.

The uncle of a college student, who made a traditional Tibetan gift and walked from his distant village in order to present it to us as a thank you for making it possible for his niece to attend university.

The elderly father who was blind and yet insisted that his wife help him to walk for hours to get to the school so that he could visit his beloved daughter and say thank you to us for not only giving her an education, but also giving her a warm bed to sleep in, food to eat, and clothes to wear.

The grandmothers, and aunts, and cousins, and mothers, who walked for hours – and some for days – to get to the school. They brought with them what they could give – the most precious gifts of homemade bread, yak milk, traditional Tibetan food. They have so little, and yet they carried all of these things to the school and presented them to us as a gesture of their gratitude.

The dozens upon dozens of students, teachers, family members, friends, and villagers who stood in perfect rows in the sun for 2-3 hours waiting for us to arrive, so that they could greet us and give us the hadas.

It was a joy to meet the children. It was a defining moment in my life meeting the parents, grandparents, family members, neighbors, and villagers. Again I am reminded of all that I have, and of how important it is to give back. Again I am reminded that love knows no boundaries between countries. The love of a mother for her daughter is etched in the lines on the faces and in the hands of the poorest of the poor.

The people I met had so much dignity. They arrived wearing their best clothes. Those that didn’t have good clothes borrowed clothes from villagers. They walked in a dignified way and they spoke in dignified voices. And yet when our eyes met…it was almost too much for me to bear. They looked at me as if I was their child’s last and only hope. They looked at me as if their child’s future was entirely in my hands. They looked at me as if they felt shame that I was providing something for their child that was their responsibility to provide. And I realized just how powerful two small words can be – THANK YOU – when it comes truly from the heart.

All of this – every moment – was meant for you, the sponsors. Language becomes a barrier which I am inadequate to overcome in describing this experience to you. I hope that in some small way, through my words and through the photographs, you will be able to understand just how much your gift of education has meant to these students, their families, and their communities. Each child, teen, and young adult that I met is so very precious, and each one now has an opportunity that one year ago was but a distant dream. Education is all about hope for the future, and you have given these students hope.

As Angela said, all of these girls "do belong" at school getting an education. Please help us make a difference in the lives of more of these deserving young women. Whether or not sponsoring is an option for you, join us in helping these girls acheive their dreams by forwarding this email to everyone you know. As more people hear about the dreams of these young women, more dreams will be realized.

Kari Fillmore

Angel Covers