I’ve been reflecting this month on my trip to India in 2015 and some of the common career issues that came up when visiting the school my church has been sponsoring since 2003. After conversations about this, the principal invited me to speak with the 9th and 10th grade students, which was a fun surprise and challenge. Yep, that’s my photo of them.  It all reminds me that as different as groups may be with language and culture, we have quite a bit in common….something helpful for us to remember about humanity.

One shared pattern was the influence and wishes of parents on their children’s education and future.  I certainly hear this with at least half of my career counseling clients.  In India I learned of two divergent parental influences.  In this poor, rural farming village, I learned many parents were discouraging their sons from finishing higher grades since they were needed on the farm.  On the other end of the spectrum, I met a mother who said she would go without food to pay for school expenses.  This mother was so proud of how many of her children later became teachers!

Another common thread was about whether school seems relevant to the tasks of actually earning a living.  I remembered hearing frequently from engineering students at Carnegie Mellon who thought many of their courses would not be used and were simply hoops to go through.  In the case of the India farming community, I was coached to share with students that a good education would enable them to write farming grants and that math would be needed to make calculations for crop planting calculations and efficiency.

A third common thread was the idea of nepotism and networking.  I recall hearing that in India, it very difficult to get a job in the government unless you are related to someone.  Here in the United States, I naturally encourage networking as a job search strategy with a 50-80% success rate. Networking is simply a foot in the door to get an interview. Hopefully in both countries, the employer wants to hire someone who can actually do the job well.

The reason I have been reflecting on my India experience is that I spent the last three months helping launch a crowdsource funding campaign for a rainwater harvesting facility for the school so students can have water with every meal.  I hope you will take a moment to read the article that follows this.


Most of us take for granted having a glass of water with every meal. At this school in the Khasi Hills of India, these children don’t. This is the school that I visited in 2015 and among other things, gave a career talk to the 9th and 10th grade students. There is no reliable source of water for drinking or plumbing in this poor, remote area. Despite the fact that the region has a monsoon season, there are months during the dry season when the water harvested during the rainy season has run out.

The last three months, I have been coordinating a crowdsource funding campaign to help them raise money for a Rainwater Harvesting facility.  My relationship with the school started in 2003 when I became a sponsor to a student to pay for school expenses until government funding kicked in.  As a woman without children, supporting her had special meaning.  Nubrilon went on to college and became a teacher, and I had the opportunity to actually meet her in person in 2015.

I hope you will take a moment and CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THIS SCHOOL AND CONSIDER A CONTRIBUTION. Do please view the two-minute video that I’m pretty proud of producing with the help of my tech savvy sweetheart.  Thank you for indulging me in my request to help in the education of children and their futures, which is naturally close to my heart as a career counselor.