An emotional journey

A Kelowna city councillor says she's been deeply touched by a journey to visit impoverished children in India who are being helped by an Okanagan charity.

Mohini Singh called Castanet from Delhi just before getting ready to fly back to Kelowna on Friday.

She spent three days at orphanages and a day care supported by the East Meets West Foundation while on a family holiday in India.

Singh said she was exhausted, but overjoyed.

"Oh my god. I got out of the car, and there was a lineup of kids holding roses and signs ... they sang for me," she said.

The day care is in a tiny village a five-hour drive outside Kolkata named Bara Anduliya.

"It's a very poor area. Most of the parents work in the mustard fields or trade their hair for wigs. They make 25 rupees a day, and there's 60 rupees to a dollar, so that's about 25 cents."

The day care is shelter for about 40 kids who might otherwise be at risk of kidnapping, malnutrition, running away, or worse, said Singh.

"I wanted to see how the project was doing, if the money was being used properly... (It was) brilliant. The children are fantastic.

"They are so very, very grateful. It was just an amazing experience. There is so much love and so much care – and this is all the people of Kelowna's doing."

Singh said it was an emotional journey and a testament to the generosity of the foundation's donors.

"We could pay for more children, but there's no more room at the day care," she said.

Since 2008, she estimated the charity has raised more than $200,000.

"The children were full of love.... They are so poor, yet the people are so happy."

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