In just the last few years, the orphanage has been forced to move a number of times. This was caused by the rising rents in Kanchipuram. Each of our past landlords forced the orphanage to leave in order to rent at higher prices to more affluent tenants. Landlords also preferred a family or two rather than the orphanage with more than twenty children and a few adults to supervise and to care for the children.
In addition, this summer (2014) new government regulations for orphanages were formulated. Unfortunately, the house our orphanage inhabited, did not conform to these standards. The house was considered structurally unsafe. In order not to be forced to close down, we quickly had to find a different place.
It is extremely important for the orphanage to keep its legal status as recognized by the Indian government. If this is not the case, the government might shut us down and place the children in several different state run orphanages. This has happened to many orphanages recently. If this were to occur with our orphanage, the friendship, support, and community the children have built up over years of living together would be broken. Sad to say, a number of children from recently closed orphanages placed in state run orphanages have run away preferring to live on the street.
We therefore had to act very swiftly. However, the only place we could find is a former open space storage hall without much daylight and ventilation. The only daylight and air circulation comes in through a few openings in the ceiling. There are no windows at all. At the moment the owner of the space has built some additional walls to divide the space into rooms, and is installing bathrooms, toilets and a kitchen area. While the space is in fact big enough, I think that it must be extremely difficult to live in. The necessary additional walls to create separate rooms take away the little daylight and ventilation there is. Moreover, in the very hot summer there are frequent electric outages (6-8 hours is not uncommon), and during this time the children will have neither light nor will the fans work. I dread the time the children have to live in this space!
The children will move into this space in October 2014.
We have to do something about this very soon! The children need decent living and learning conditions. Importantly, they also need a stable home.
Our hope and plan is to build a new house for the children.
In the summer of 2013 an Indian philanthropist donated to the orphanage a piece of land on the outskirts of Kanchipuram. We wish to buy an adjacent plot, and then build a house for the orphanage on this land. This house would be built according to our needs. Importantly, the reality of having to relocate again and again would finally be gone.
However, to buy an adjoining plot and to build such a house will cost us at least $40,000.
Let us all mobilize together along with our friends and colleagues – together we can do it!