Chakra:
In the News

In the News:
Tamil Nadu devotees provide food and blankets to Tharamani orphans

by Jahnava Nitai das
Bhaktivedanta International Charities

Posted March 15, 2005

We would like to thank all of you who have come forward to help in the tsunami relief effort, as well as those who have participated as volunteers helping cook and distribute sanctified food to thousands of tsunami victims over the last two and a half months. Our team of volunteers in Tamil Nadu have worked tirelessly to help as many people as possible recover following the disaster. Besides feeding thousands, we distributed over a thousand blankets to affected familiesr. The situation is now slowly returning to normal, and we will begin focusing on more long-term help for children affected by this disaster.

We must keep in mind the needs of these children who will face hardship throughout their lives. The government will ensure that children are placed in orphanages, but this is hardly sufficient to make up for all that they have lost. The children need real love, caring and friendship. We have begun programs in orphanages whereby our volunteers can bring happiness and friendship into the lives of these children. Below you can see some recent photos of a program held at an orphanage in Tharamani. Our devotees and volunteers cook a special meal of prasadam for the children, and hold enjoyable activities for them, from playing games to painting.

We would like to expand this program to orphanages throughout Tamil Nadu, adding new activities as we develop more experience with the children. The aim is simple: to just add an element of friendship and caring. It may not seem like much to paint a picture, play a game or give a few toys, but it can bring unimagined happiness.

Orphanages in Tamil Nadu are cold and difficult places; orphans have to sleep outside on the concrete floor. Nearly all of the orphanages that we visit are in the same situation. We decided to make orphanage programs a priority for our relief activities. We will also be launching a penpal program where you can bring happiness by simply writing a letter a month to a child, sending a few photographs. Please commit yourself to writing one letter a month to an orphan in India.

We thank all of you who have come forward to help this cause. Your kindness and generosity has allowed us to serve our brothers and sisters in their time of need.

We would like to thank Senthil Kumar for donating a small piece of land in Tharamani, Chennai to be used for the Bhaktivedanta Ashram's new relief headquarters in Tamil Nadu. We will be setting up an office there next month to coordinate relief activities. We would like to open similar centers throughout Tamil Nadu. If any of our readers have land they would like to dedicate to this cause, we request them to contact us by email at www.foodrelief.org