Photo: Girls in our orphan care program are happy to have newly renovated rooms including tile work to provide for easier sanitation and cleanliness in their living quarters.
Today we bring you good news from our native team in India. Thanks to your support and generous contributions from our donors, we were able to purchase a small plot of land today that is known to be on top of a strong water table where we will drill a new water well. Our old well ran dry due to an extreme drought that the area is experiencing. All tap water for the entire local city near our campus is dry. All residents are buying water for bathing, washing, and drinking. Drilling this new well will provide immediate relief for our children and staff, and save funding as we avoid having to buy our water. The well being drilled next week will be some distance from our campus, so we will build a pipeline from the well to our campus to deliver water to our purification system. From the water purification system, clean water will once again be delivered to drinking water taps for the children.
In other good news, we have been outfitting all of the rooms on campus with tiles on the floors and walls to help maintain sanitation and promote more ease of cleaning. The tile work in the dining hall and girls’ dormitory is complete, and now the tile work is underway in the boys’ dormitory, the kitchen, and our 7 classrooms — it should all be completed by the end of May. With more gratitude for your generous support, we also recently added to our campus 4 washing machines, a deep refrigerator, new mattresses, new bed covers and pillows, more dining tables, a generator, and a new Xerox machine for the school office. Our field director reports, “All of our children are so happy for all of these improvements, really these are all more than their imagination, some are have seen the washing machine first time in their life, when they are watching while drawing clothes from washing machine, they surprised. And same also about tile work, they are giving thanks to the Lord for these wonders, all the Glory to God.”
Photo inset: (Top-left): Our water purification system delivers clean water to our children and team on campus. (Top-right): Four new washing machines were recently added to our main campus. (Bottom-left): Construction of our on-campus high school is on schedule to be completed in time for the new school year. (Bottom-right): New tile work, mattresses, bed covers, and pillows were recently added to our girls’ and boys’ dormitories on campus.
We are also happy to report that we are making good progress with the construction for an on-campus high school at our main campus — we are on schedule to complete the high school in time for the new school year which starts in late June. Most recently, the concrete roof slab was poured, completing phase one of the construction project: the framing of the building. We have already laid down the concrete beams to secure the foundation, and we raised the concrete pillars — both enabled us to create a strong, durable building. We’re very happy that from now on all of the students on our campus will be able to attend school without having to leave the security of our property. Previously, students beyond 6th grade had to leave campus to attend other schools, presenting security concerns.
We decided to start a high school on our campus because our children have had to travel very far to attend higher classes, sometimes the girls struggle with social problems, and our children are treated carelessly because they come from families below the standard poverty line — they are of the lower castes and Dalits (outside of the caste system, “untouchables”). Often times culturally, they are considered to be the lowest people in the society, so we want to encourage them, love them, and display their talents to the society, as well as give them sufficient care and protection. There is no high school in this area, so we also hope to offer our high school to the tuition-paying students from the public — not just our orphans living on campus. We hope that the tuition paid by outside students will help generate more funding for our orphan care program, bringing us closer to our goal of 100% sustainability.
To round out all of this good news, we harvested 4.6 tons of rice in January at our new rice farm, which will provide an important staple of nutrition for our children for 2-3 months before we prepare for the next planting season in June. The rice has to dry after harvest for 30-60 days, so we started consuming the rice in March. As we use the rice for the children’s meals we will realize a savings of about $2,651 — the value of the rice had it been purchased in the market. It may not seem like much, but in India, that’s 4.5 years’ worth of average annual income.
We are extremely grateful for your prayers and for your faithful support, and we look forward to reporting back with our progress in improving the lives of our children.
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