Dear friends and benefactors of the Natrangal orphanage in Kanchipuram, here is an update on the situation of the Natrangal orphanage, and the project of building a house for the children:
Unfortunately, we are still waiting for the permission to transfer money from abroad to the Indian trust, so that they can start to build the house on the plot that the orphanage already owns. We hope that we will have the permit to transfer money to the Indian trust by December or January (the papers are sitting in Delhi).
As if we had not known about the urgency of this matter, we recently first had to send the girls home (for the time being), and then were forced again to find a new accommodation for the remaining children.
The new state regulations for orphanages forced us to temporarily send our girls home. This is because since 2015, girls and boys are not allowed to live in a shared apartment, even if toilets and bathrooms are separate. We could avoid this until the school year ended (May 2015), but then had to comply, since our present accommodation only accommodates either boys or girls. If we had not sent the girls home, we would have had to shut down the entire orphanage – and the decision to send the girls home, instead of the boys, was simply because there are fewer girls than boys. Even though this was a tough decision, this was the best we could do, we felt. At the same time, we continue do whatever we can to follow up the girls even though they have been sent home. Most of them continue to come in the afternoons to Mr Subramaniam’s work place (the marriage hall he manages), where they do homework with Mala, his wife, and where they both can follow up and see how the girls are doing. We also continue to provide them with cloth, toiletries, school clothes and other material, school fees and so on, and so far it seems to be going ok. Mr and Mrs also once a month visit the girls’ homes, to see how the situation is there. Only two of the girls, Vanmati and Anita, who had no place to go back to, had to be accommodated in a government hostel for girls.
This situation (the government regulations) also implies that for our house project we need to plan to construct two separate sections – either we will have to construct a separate floor for the girls (with an own entrance, and maybe even an own kitchen), or we will have to go for two separate buildings, close to each other.
Moreover, in July we came to know that we have to vacate the current apartment again – the astrologer of the house owner told him that his current residence is inauspicious, so he wants to move in the children’s apartment himself. Fortunately, the months of August and September are (also for astrological reasons) no good months to move, so we had some time to find a new apartment. One of the trustees agreed that we can move into the upper portion of his house (2 rooms, and a kitchen), but in order to pass as appropriate accommodation for the city administration, we again need to construct two more bathrooms and toilets. This can be done in September, so we are confident that we can in fact move into the new boys’ residence in Periyanagar (at the Eastern end of Kanchipuram) in October. The children will not change schools in spite of the shift, since the school year has started some time ago. They will take buses or share rikshas to reach their schools.
I will be in Kanchipuram in October and will then report back about my impression of the situation – I also will try to visit the girls at their homes to see how they are doing.
As soon as I am back I will let you all know what the state of affairs is.