St. Thomas Orphanage,Guntur, India
St. Thomas Orphanage - India
Update: September 2006
As a result of the tsunami that devastated India on December 26, 2004, Gospa Missions decided to take a closer look at what we could do to help. We were especially concerned about the orphans, since God commands us to help these most helpless individuals. Our priorities were first for food to keep the children alive, then a building to shelter them, and then sponsorships to see to the continuation of this assistance.
We were blessed with a benefactor who donated $15,000 towards this cause. That got the ball rolling! We made contact with Bishop Gali Bali of the Diocese of Guntur, India. Although the Diocese of Guntur was not directly hit by the tsunami, many refugees from coastal areas came into the diocese to try to find assistance. We sent money for food. We then started discussions with the Bishop about building an orphanage.
The Bishop and his advisors decided that it would be best to build an orphanage for boys supported by a new parish community. The Bishop explained that there are many religious congregations of Sisters in the diocese who run several orphanages for girls only. The orphanages that are for boys, which are run by Priests, are few in number. Hence, the education of girls is comparatively better than that for boys. According to Indian culture, boys and girls should never live together in the same orphanage even if there is a separation by some wall. Even though they may study together in the school, there should be a considerable distance between the orphanages for boys and girls in order to avoid promiscuity.
Because of the generous support of donors, we were able to start building St. Thomas Orphanage. The orphanage is so named because the apostle Thomas was the first person known to evangelize India. In 2005, a 3-½ acre plot was acquired and a compound wall was built. In June of 2006, we started digging the foundation for the buildings.
On the map of India, you can see the Diocese of Guntur in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in south-eastern India. Gospa Missions has a dear friend, Mr. Dorai Raj, who lives in Chennai, which is south of Guntur. Raj went to the orphanage site and took the photos of the on-going construction in India on June 4, 2006. About 100 workmen were on site that day. There is no machinery being used for the foundation work – it is all being done with manual labor.
The compound will contain a Church, a rectory, an orphanage, a school, and a convent. The orphanage will house 60 boys. The school will have a capacity of 600 students (boys and girls). This enables us to educate the orphans as well as the children from the local village. Besides the buildings in this compound, we will be constructing up to 7 chapels in the Diocese.
By the end of 2006, we expect that the orphanage, Rectory, and the 1st level of the school building will be finished. The first school class will start in June 2007. By the end of 2007, the Convent will be built. In 2008, the Parish Church will be built.
This work is very expensive! The land and compound wall cost about $40,000. The work in 2006 will be about $200,000. The work in 2007 and 2008 needs to be estimated later, but will probably be at least $200,000. We need all the help that we can get!
Bishop Gali Bali was on a mission trip to the United States a few months ago. On July 6, Thomas and Mary Rutkoski and several others were blessed to meet the Bishop in Cleveland, Ohio. In the photo, you can see that Thomas is handing the Bishop a check for $70,000. This represents half of what the Bishop needs for completion of the 2006 work.
All this work would not be possible without you. Please help us complete this project. Right now we need general funds for the buildings. Later on, we will need orphan sponsors to pay for their food, clothing, and education.
It is easy to help. Click here to get in contact with us and tell us what you are willing to do. If you wish to donate to the orphanage, please click here . No matter how you help, God will bless you abundantly for your support! Thank you!
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