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From third grade dropout to college student-- one girl's journey out of the slums of Bangalore.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS — Angel Kumar grew up in the slums of Bangalore, but on Friday, April 17, over 150 Lilly employees gathered to hear her inspiring story. Angel’s parents were day laborers who could barely provide life’s necessities. “My parents somehow managed to keep me in school until third grade,” said Angel, “but after that I had to quit school due to a financial crisis at home.” That is when Angel found Christel House.

Christel House is a tuition-free school for children, like Angel, who are born into extreme poverty. Angel received much more than a quality education. To help ensure her success, Christel House also provided her with food, medical services, uniforms, transportation and college and career counseling. The odds were against her, because less than 10% of Indian students in India graduate from 12th grade. But Angel was determined to take advantage of every opportunity Christel House offered. She graduated in 2013 and is now pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology at Kristu Jayanti College. After graduation Angel plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology or with the Indian civil service. She traveled to Indianapolis at the request of Christel House International, to fulfill several speaking engagements for the purpose of sharing the transformational impact of Christel House.

Members of the Lilly India Network (LIN), the Organization of Latinos at Lilly (OLA) and Africa, Middle East and Central Asia (AMECA) joined Lilly Foundation President, Rob Smith for the ‘Lunch and Learn’ event.

“Christel House is very unique as it gives us an opportunity to make an impact locally, but globally as well,” stated Wilfred Mascarenhas, LIN Chairman.

Community outreach is a strongly shared value among LIN, OLA and AMECA members and is a key component to their organizational goals. Wilfred Mascarenhas, LIN Chairman opened the event by reminding attendees of the importance of their networks giving back. He also noted that Christel House aligns well with LIN, OLA and AMECA due to its focus on education, and the fact that Christel House maintains learning centers within the countries that each affinity group represents.

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About Christel House International

The mission of Christel House is to transform the lives of impoverished children around the world—breaking the cycle of poverty and building self-sufficient, contributing members of society. A focus on academic excellence through a robust K–12 curriculum is combined with a strong character development program and holistic human development to give students the skills and competencies necessary to compete successfully in complex 21st Century society.

Much more than a school, Christel House was established in 1998 by Founder and CEO Christel DeHaan, and currently serves more than 4,100 impoverished children through seven learning centers located in India, Mexico, South Africa and the U.S.A. Christel House maintains a 96% high school graduation rate, and the majority of its graduates go on to pursue higher education. They become productive citizens, and many secure employment with top multinational corporations. Christel House graduates are confident, hardworking, responsible and ethical, with a passion for giving back to their communities and caring for their families. For more information, please visit www.christelhouse.org.