India Orphanage Project

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India Orphanage Project


India Project Story: How it Began, What Happened & Where it’s Going

At an event the incoming Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee, who was from India, gave a speech. A couple things he said resonated:

“We are a worldwide network of inspired individuals who translate their passions into relevant social causes to change lives in communities.”

“I’m fond of quoting Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” I believe we are in Rotary to change the world – for why else would we be Rotarians?”

Those words stuck as well as the fact he was from India. So when an email was received from a Rotarian from India, it got some attention.

The email arrived August 11th 2012 from Isaac Arullappan, the Past President of Rotary Club of Manapparai Club of India. He found our club through the Internet and was coming through after attending a course in Nova Scotia. He wondering if our club’s President would like to meet and on November 23 at our library, they met. Isaac described his activities with Rotary and explained that he and his wife decided to start and run an orphanage in one of the poorer parts of southern India. His story and enthusiasm for Rotary and his orphanage were infectious. His story was later shared with the club.

Isaac mentioned that in April a Rotarian from Australia was visiting the orphanage. In May an email was sent to him to get another perspective on the orphanage. To our delight Clive responded. His description moved me:

“Isaac and his wife Isabella are both school teachers who gave up their well paid jobs (by Indian standards) to come back and run the orphanage and DKSHA (Deva Kirubai Social Help Association). At present they have around 100 orphans. Isabella has a Bachelor of Commerce degree. They now have an income of around IR6,000 a month ($108 Can). Grants they were receiving from a group in Spain to run the farmers social help programme have dried up due to the economic situation in Spain (and Europe). The base of operations for Isaac & DKSHA is the Cornerstone Orphanage, but is really much much more than just an orphanage. They have social help programmes and have established 25 farmers clubs in nearby villages helping the farmers with land & plant husbandry ideas and training, they have established some women’s groups, they have some evening study classes for school children to help with homework. This is just a snapshot of the work they do.

I admit to being completely humbled by the amount of things they do with their limited resources compared to what some of our Clubs think they do.”

In late May we received another email from Isaac. They were having serious water problems. Their wells had gone dry and they were now buying water. They were looking to raise money to drill a borehole. Could anyone help? As fate would have it a short time afterwards our President Richard Gauder I found himself speaking with Don Gleed, President of the Rotary Club of Bowmanville. Don explained his club was still having trouble spending all the money they had planned to that year. Richard explained the borehole project and asked if Don’s club might be interested. After a few emails The Rotary Club of Bowmanville agreed to provide $1,200 the full amount of the borehole. Isaac was emailed the good news and the funds were transferred.

Eventually we received an email detailing the project:

“I am happy to inform you that, after making serious efforts we managed to get one Bore whole drilling machine and technicians. After a first attempt that came up dry, I requested the operator and manager of the Bore Drilling machine to wait until morning to drill another bore whole in another new location near the fencing that I had marked earlier with the help of another diviner. 

In the morning we started drilling. At about 60th feet the rock got cut and suddenly we saw water coming out ....all were thrilled and filled with joy and happiness.”

Later I received an email announcing that the pump was connected and a proper pipeline connection would be hooked up to the tank they have at the orphanage for the children to take bath and to wash their clothing etc. He said that the water is not 100% pure/clean and that they are sending a sample for testing. He thanked us again on behalf of the orphanage and DKSHA.

After the water tests came back our club decided to send over $500 for a good water filter and servicing. That filter was a godsend as later we found out that the children weren’t getting as sick anymore.

Since the original project we have helped fund a security/support wall for water harvesting. We have also applied for a District Grant with two other clubs. The project will replace an old asbestos roof with one that will also be used to harvest water.

The Rotary Club of Port Perry will continue to support the orphanage, the surrounding area and other International projects. Because, as Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee pointed out, we are in Rotary to change the world – for why else would we be Rotarians?”