MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- As American students sleep at night, a group of 22 underprivileged children gather for school in India at 5:30 p.m. IST, which is 4 a.m. EST, thanks to Mamaroneck resident Truike Boekholt-Daly's charity Children of the Ganges.
Boekholt-Daly, originally from the Netherlands, took a summer trip to India to study yoga. During her time in Rishikesh, on the Ganges River, she was struck by the young street children that begged for money and sold flowers, water bottles and other items by the side of the Ganges.
"I started giving them money, but, I thought I should do something bigger," Boekholt-Daly said.
The music and movement teacher at the United Nations International School in New York City decided an education would be the best thing she could give them, and went about finding a location and instructor. Rana Naveen, owner of Hotel Narayana Kunj in Rishikesh, donated a section of his hotel for three years and provides a hot and healthy meal daily.
Didi Swati volunteers her time to teach the underprivileged and street children reading and writing in Hindi and English, meditation, social skills, art and music six days a week.
"Children anywhere are the same, and obviously, the needs of children in India aren't being met," Boekholt-Daly said. "I have learned that all children just want to be loved and cared for, and that's a right. I've experienced it, and now I do my little thing."
The mother of two's "little thing" is now looking to grow by getting their own building and hire paid teachers for their school. To accomplish that, the charity raises money, for instance, by taking the children's artwork and turning it into postcards.
Children of the Ganges post cards, among other native-Indian items, were on sale Jan. 26 at Brigit, a Mamaroneck boutique that strives to support women artisans and those in need. Breda Leahy, owner of Brigit, held a benefit for children's charities, including Children of the Ganges and Cecily's Fund.
Children of the Ganges have also benefited from donations of school supplies, such as winter clothes, backpacks, benches and even a laptop.
To make a donation to Children of the Ganges, visit their website.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.