Sunday, 31 January 2010
Interview with Amanda Clegg
Amanda, tell us a bit about the 2010 mission to Delhi.
This is the fifth team going out to work with Asha. We have a really good relationship with this Christian organisation, which does amazing work in the slums of Delhi. We’ve sent teams out on specific projects for four years now. Each year the mission is a bit different.
Where will you be this year?
We’ll be working in the Seelampur slum, in the east of New Delhi.
Tell us a bit about Seelampur...
It’s a Muslim slum. 90% of the inhabitants are Muslim. If you type it into Google you’ll find scraps of information about disease, child labour, and homes and businesses being raided and razed. Asha built a communications centre for Seelampur, which is the only communal building in the whole slum. We are going to refurbish the centre.
What will that entail?
There are about eight rooms and we’re going to paint as much as we can in one week. We’ll be painting murals in at least two of the rooms as well – the children’s resource centre, and the IT room. We’re also going to create a London room. We’re taking London to them!
I see there’s a pic of the team outside Hampton Court...
We picked 11 tourist spots – one each – and we’re creating posters of our destinations for the London room. We’ve got the London Eye, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Lord’s Cricket Ground, to name a few. Many of the kids are fascinated by London.
Tell us about the Delhi 11.
There’s Heather Brown, my second-in-command! Heather’s been to Delhi before, and is amazing with the children. She’s a primary school teacher, and can paint fantastic monkeys for the murals. John and Elena Pickston are going, as are Chris Gavin and Helen Putland. Both Chris and Helen are in IT, and will be seeing what they can do out there with their skills. We also have Julie Ward, Chris Brecht, Karen Jones, Allan Branch and, last but not least, vicar Jez Barnes – who is hoping to play some cricket with the kids!
Sounds great. What else will you be doing while you’re out there?
This is the first time we’ll be doing motivational workshops. We’ll be working with kids aged 14 – 17, with the girls and boys separately. Our aim is to encourage them to dream dreams, and to go for it. Asha managed to get 130 slum kids into Delhi universities last year.
So education is a focus for Asha?
Absolutely. They put a lot of time and energy into working with kids and their families, who often just want their kids to earn. They explain the value of an education, and work to raise everyone’s sights. They help kids choose subjects and get loans. It’s incredible what doors Asha can open for children.
...It sounds like you’re excited about the trip.
I’m really excited. As well as doing the workshops, which is a new opportunity, we’ll be making pastoral visits as we always do, chatting and praying with people. It’s so humbling being invited into their homes. We go with Asha staff and a translater, wherever we are invited. People are often queuing for prayer! It feels a bit like the stories from the gospel, with people being lowered from rooves... They just so badly want healing and help. We pray our socks off.
This is your third time going out to Delhi. How does it feel?
Each time the team has something different to give. This time I feel there’s a real gentleness. I think people’s strength is going to be completely in Him, and that they will minister in a special way. Personally I feel excited and challenged. I have led a trip once before, but will be more on own this time, without my husband. I feel God has prepared me for that, which is exciting.
Can we keep up with you while you’re out there?
Yes, we’ll be posting when we can on www.ststephensdelhi.blogspot.com
(This interview was featured in the February edition of the St Stephen's church magazine, along with prayer points.)