Caitlyn's Sacrifice for a Good Cause
12th July 2018
Teenager Caitlyn Balderstone is looking forward to undertaking the trip of a lifetime this month helping out at an orphanage in India even though achieving her dream meant sacrificing her waist-length hair to fund it.
The Way to Life Orphanage in Denkankotta, Tamil Nadu State, Southern India has connections with her much-loved late grandfather, David Balderstone (an ADRA volunteer). Towards the end of his life he became a Trustee of STOP International which helps five orphanages in Tamil Nadu. During this time the charity purchased a plot of 6½ acres to build this orphanage and its associated Vocational Training Centreand he also took part in two trips to help with specific projects.
Caitlyn (15), who attends a school in Luton but still makes the long trip to help with the monthly Messy Church meetings at Stanborough Park Church, had a special bond with her grandfather. So when she heard that the charity's project this summer involved decorating the Vocational Training Centre at this particular orphanage for the orphansshe knew she had to be part of it. However, she needed to come up with a way to obtain the money to pay for the trip. "God was pushing me. I needed to go and see what was done and leave my mark in the same place," she says.
Speaking of that special bond between them her grandmother Audrey explained, "David adored Caitlyn and she talks about him frequently. I feel proud, and very emotional, that the bond he forged with her is still so strong after eight years."
Determined to be part of the project she decided to seek sponsorship by cutting her long hair short. However, when her friend said she would give her more money if she dyed it red as well Caitlyn rose to the challenge and adapted her plans. For her this was no big deal as she felt that people attach too much emphasis on physical beauty and she felt sufficiently passionate about this cause not to worry about not looking like other girls.
Caitlyn's long hair was cut last summer and three plaits of 40 cms were donated to the 'Little Princess Trust' which provides wigs for girls who lose their hair following cancer treatment. She says that friends, family and school staff were all very supportive of her actions which led to her raising £1200 in sponsorship money - divided equally between 'The Teenage Cancer Trust' and funding for her trip.
Setting off for the orphanage on 22nd July with her father, Adam, and twelve others including leader Kish Poddar. Caitlyn will spend two weeks working there followed by a week travelling the Golden Triangle of tourist sites including the Taj Mahal and visiting some of the places featured in Michael Portillo's recent BBC TV series.