A young Vincentian and young missionary, Rebecca Bowman, a 2015 Bethlehem High School graduate from Lebanon, Kentucky (USA), recently volunteered her time with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth to work at a house for girls who were at risk for being victims of human trafficking. The home, Asha Kiran, is located in Dharuhera, which is about 42 miles away from New Delhi. Bowman was in India from Oct. 12 to Nov. 4.
Bowman said some of the girls’ backgrounds were “overwhelming” and made her aware of human trafficking issues.
“They had been abandoned at train stations, or pulled out under the beds at the brothels and taken from families that were abusive or just picked up off the street,” she said, adding that the girls ranged in age from 3 to 18.
The nuns who run the home send the young girls to school, help with their homework and give them chores to do around the house, making sure their everyday life is structured.
Bowman said volunteering at the home taught her a lot.
“I learned the importance of having a good family structure because the nuns have kind of created a safe house for these kids, and they’ve taught them family responsibility and the importance of having people to trust and count on,” she said.
Bowman has experience with mission trips before, traveling to Haiti twice and Belize, but she said her trip to India was different.
“I spent more time with the people that I was helping,” she said. “I had never been involved with a group for that long.”
Bowman said it was also difficult getting accustomed to the culture of India, such as wearing certain attire and not doing actions that may cause others to be offended, but she bonded well with the girls at the house.
“It was easy for me to go in and just be able to form a relationship with them because they were so sweet and they just wanted your attention and your love and your help,” she said.
While in India, Bowman took many pictures and posted them on Facebook, which attracted the attention of her former Bethlehem art teacher, Mara Huston. Last Wednesday, Huston invited Bowman to share her photos with her current students.
Huston, who used Bowman’s photos as a way to teach her students about photography, said she keeps in touch with her former students.
“I always appreciate it when they come back and have something to share,” Huston said.
Bowman will start college at the University of Massachusetts Amherst later this month. She would like to go back to India if the chance arises, and is currently planning another trip to Haiti.
[Ed.] #IamVincent. So is Rebecca, and thousands like her, who catch the charism and are impelled to serve.
Source: The Kentucky Standard
Tags: IamVincent, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Vincentians of Wherever