At our orphanage "Ashagram" in the state of Tamil Nadu, we need, among other things, a new safety wall around the property, due to wild elephants tramping through the area on their way to a lake to drink water. Support the project and help give the children a better future.
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"Ashagram" Orphanage today
Ashagram is a 20 acres property located in the interior of Pathakotte village. It is 6 KMs from the RDC (Rural Development Centre) located at Kamandoddi adjacent to the National Highway between Bangalore and Chennai. The land was barren and dry with rocky soil. Over the years we have removed the rocks and made the land cultivable by replacing the soil with fertile red soil. And we have thus succeeded in planting more than 1000 fruit trees of different fruit varieties. We have a two-storey building and an small community hall with sheets roof. We have a borewell for which we have been able to secure government free electricity connection. Its water is now being utilised for the irrigation of all the planted trees. Two persons are residing in this area 24x7 throughout the year. One is the gardener and another one is one of our Senior staff (Mrs. Elizabeth) who take care of the premises. The property is under development. Work is carried out whenever we have some savings with which to pay for these infrastructure development works. This has resulted on this work getting extended over several years.
We have been running here an Orphanage taking care of around 50 orphan children. With Government regulations being very strict, and discouraging orphanage homes, we have closed down the orphanage until the infrastructure is suitable for proper care of children. Proper care of children is assured, if there are suitably trained staff to take care of them. In order to attract suitable staff, we need to provide several basic facilities at the location, such as safe stay. During the nights the area is visited by wild elephants from the nearby reserve forest. However, this year such elephant visits have been rare as the Government has blocked at several points their entry into the human habitations. In order to prevent the elephants visiting Ashagram property, we have been constructing an inner safety wall. Safety of the children is the first pre-requisite to bring back the orphan children at Ashagram. Government permission is needed in order to run an Orphanage. And the Government doesn’t give permission to run the Orphanage unless all the conditions are met. And the first of these conditions, is the safety of the children. The second condition is the capacity of the organization to provide proper care to children. And an Organization can provide such a care to children, if there are suitable staff to provide such a care. And we are able to recruit suitable staff, only if the environment is attractive and appealing to them, and if they are paid decent salaries. In the absence of assured funding, we are unable to recruit suitable staff. As a result, we are focussing to ensure that we are able to generate the needed income in the property itself. With that in view we have planted lot of fruit trees. By selling the fruit, we should be able to earn sufficient income to run the Orphanage. Presently, we are using the Ashagram premises and the campus to conduct various programs for the children of the neighbouring villages. Several such programs are held at Ashagram.
We have planted more than 1000 fruit trees. And many of these trees are now yielding fruit. We have plans to start horticulture demonstration cum training farm in the Ashagram campus, to train the farmers and the families around. And also to grow vegetables for sale in the market.l Being adjacent to the lake, there is no water problem. We have our own borewell which provides us sufficient water for the trees that we have planted. We have constructed a water tank from which water is supplied to all the trees at different places in the Ashagram campus. However, we have been able to get from the Government, free supply of electricity for pumping water from our borewell.
We plan to bring orphan children to live at Ashagram at the earliest we can. But we want to do that only after securing due permissions from the Government. And we want to apply to the Government for the same, only when we are in a position to provide good and proper care to children. In the meantime, we want to make use of the premises for conducting various programs aimed for the development of poor children from the villages around. We are already conducted lots o f such programs, and we want to increase it. We want to also set up there a Multipurpose training centre, and also an Arts and Crafts manufacturing centre, including pottery crafts, etc. We are also planning to have a Goat farm, a poultry and also a dairy. We would also like to have there a Veterinary care Centre for the benefits of farmers of the villages around Ashagram. We are also planning to develop some playgrounds for the Orphanage children. To ensure steady supply of electricity, we are planning to have some solar and wind energy equipment to produce electricity needed for us.