By Heather Hintze
ANDHRA PRADESH, India — Orphan Faith Home is India Partners’ longest running project, started more than 25 years ago.
Staff there not only give kids a place to stay, but a family to love them.
“It’s entirely a new life we are giving to the children,” said Gadelli Parishudhea Babu, Orphan Faith Home President.
They are given a new life they never would have otherwise known.
“If we don’t get these children, they will be in the streets, they face death because of starvation,” Babu said.
Consider these 165 kids a few of the lucky ones.
Rather than searching through trash cans for something to eat, they are getting an education.
A stark contrast to the reality so many of their peers are dealing with, it’s a second chance at life all thanks the Orphan Faith Home.
“Their faces just light up and the moment you say hello to them, when you shake their hands, they are just a very happy group of kids,” said Brian Palmer, India Partners Sponsorship Coordinator.
This is Eugene resident Palmer’s home away from home.
He is in charge of finding sponsors for the kids.
“Basically will provide for a child’s education, for daily food, clothing, any medical care they might need,” Palmer said.
India Partners has played a key role in helping these children get a much needed education.
Kids grades one through seven attend class on the campus, while older children are bussed into town.
And as important as traditional education is, the hands on work they receive is just as valuable.
The sewing program that started 15 years ago teaches teenage girls how to use sewing machines and embroider.
“You see the reports and you hear the updates, but it’s all just words on a page until you can actually see them. For me it’s been fascinating and literally a dream come true,” Palmer said.
While many of the children are true orphans, others have been given up simply because their parents couldn’t afford to keep them in the family, and it’s that sense of loss the orphanage tries to recreate for the kids.
“It’s a big family. Though all the children come from different backgrounds…everyone treated as if they only have one father and mother,” Babu said.
Orphan Faith Home hopes to open a trade school to give some of the older kids skills before they go out on their own.