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New Canaan Woman Organizes Charity Trip to India

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Ember Hobi wants her fellow New Canaanites to share in the joy of making lives better in India.

Hobi is organizing an aid trip to India through Rising Star Outreach , an organization working to assist children and families affected by leprosy . Hobi, 33, went to India for three weeks last year, teaching children and helping victims of leprosy, who are often shunned and considered cursed by Indian society.

Hobi became interested after volunteering with the group and working on its social media campaign. She had read blogs about previous aid trips. “I thought, ‘That sounds almost dreamy. I would love to go to India and help,’” she said. “Instead of asking people about their perspectives, I needed my own personal experience. So I made it happen.”

Visiting the leper colonies helped her see just how different her life is from the people of India, the world’s most populated nation. But “it’s different when you’re looking in their eyes. The connection I made with them was so valuable,” she said.

The families of leprosy victims are extremely grateful for the help, Hobi said. That’s why she’s bringing three of her children – Jarom, 10, Jennica, 8, and Jace, 6 - along on this trip. “It’s an amazing experience,” she said. “I want them to see the beauty, the filth and what good they can do in this world.”

In some ways, Hobi says, the members of the leprosy communities are better off as they get educated in a way they may not have otherwise. She’s hoping that people will realize how much work Rising Star is doing for the people.  “If they just get over there, they can see that Rising Star is making a difference,” she said, adding that she hopes that they can also change the stigma associated with leprosy.

Seventeen people are signed up to take the trip, which takes place from March 27 to April 9. She’s hoping to bring at least 30 people. Volunteers who make this trip will also travel to New Delhi to visit the Taj Mahal.

The cost is $1,300 per person or $5,000 for a family of at least five people, although that does not include airfare. For more information, contact Ember Hobi at or visit the Rising Star Outreach website.

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