Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sanjeev, Anita and Seva Chakara Samajam.

Sanjeev and Anita are long time asha volunteers who have been associated with Seva chakara samajam, the orphanage in chennai that Asha austin supports.

Last year they set out to raise $10K+ to help the children of the orphanage move into their own home instead of the rented premises. They were successful in their goals! Here is an update and follow up from them for donors and well wishers.

Dear friends,

We are writing to you to update you about the Seva Chakkara Orphanage. As you know Sanjeev and I trained and ran the half marathon and marathon respectively to raise funds for the building for the orphanage.

We might have also written to you about a couple of specific children we have been following over the years, in specific– Lakshmi who is now almost done with her college and Sivakumar and his brother who had left the orphanage with his parents and had managed to complete at least his 10 class.

1) Updates on the children:
- The children at the orphanage have been doing well in school and improving their chances of surviving in the real world. Recent rains that hit Chennai hard have also caused much inconvenience at the orphanage with power cuts and water accumulation, but things have improved.
- Lakshmi is in the last yr of her college and is looking forward to taking up a job or working at the orphanage as a teacher.
- Velayudham (the founder of Seva Chakkara) and the folks at the orphanage never gave up on Sivakumar; they have got back in touch with him and had him enrolled through the government-training program to be an electrician. These programs have a confirmed placement for all children who qualify to register for the program so this is very

2) Fundraising
As we promised we matched dollar-to-dollar your donations and contributed $5,300 till we met our target of $10,600. This we hoped would put the orphanage in a good position to purchase the building.

Also Suma Adapala, a volunteer at Asha NYCNJ and our long standing friend has taken up complete responsibility of coordinating the support-a-child program to continue raising funds for the recurring expenses at the orphanage.

3) Building Program
We eagerly awaited the possibility of the orphanage owning the building. Since the owner owed the bank funds they spoke to the bank and received an agreement from the bank to release the building from being held as collateral and also not penalizing the owner with the penalty of interest. This would, we had hoped, work well for all people involved and the owner would have left with some funds in his hand to help him rebuild his life.

However, when it came down to the final sale and closure of the agreement the owner filed for bankruptcy. It finally became clear that he had taken many more loans than he had been honest about and was using the fact that he owned a building to keep all his debtors at bay.

The building then moved to the courts to auction and pay back his debtors (including Seva Chakkara for the deposit to rent this place). Here the case lay for six months waiting for the wheels of justice to turn. They have now turned, the building goes on sale on 8th Dec 2005.

We spoke to Velayudham about the chances of getting the building. He says that none of the local people will bid since they would not want the orphanage to lose it's home. However, it is possible for large contractors who want to teardown the place and build an apartment complex not to care much about who lives there. In such a case if they are unable to get the land for a reasonable price they will have to move. He believes that they will be given at least a 6-9 months to find alternate accommodation by the court even if they are outbid.

We would like to thank you again for your generous contributions that have helped us get to the point of a reasonable chance of getting the building. We hope we have raised enough to either allow them to purchase this building or continue to look for a place they can finally call home.

Thank you and take care.

Anita and Sanjeev

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