When Ric Foxley woke one day in April with the words "bricks for India" in his head, he knew he had both an idea and a load of work.
The Ashhurst man had not even gone to bed thinking of the situation his friend Sura Mahat Samal, who runs a girls' home, had found himself in.
Now Mr Foxley wants everyone to think of Mr Samal and the 33 girls at least long enough to buy a virtual brick.
Mr Samal runs Love and Serve India in Bhubaneswar, in the Indian state of Orissa, and needs money to erect a building for Bethel Girls' Home. The girls are living in rented, cramped, unsuitable accommodation. They do not have proper bedrooms, enough bathrooms, a place to study or an assembly hall. And outdoor space is needed for recreation and gardening.
"Also, the premises will give proper identity that they are in an independent building exclusively meant for them," Mr Samal said.
He thought he had secured funding for a building from a Canadian charity. The arrangement fell through but the charity continues to fund the home's monthly running costs.
Through its Bricks for India campaign, incorporated society Bricks for Life hopes to sell 100,000 virtual bricks at $5 each.
Mr Foxley said that by buying a brick people are making a difference in the lives of fellow humans.
They are children with all the normal thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams of any child any where, he said.
"We are giving them a crack at life that they just wouldn't get otherwise and to me that is incredibly special."
Mr Samal said the Bricks for India campaign "is surely from God, and God is wonderfully moving to answer the long-awaited prayers of the girls and everyone here".
Mr Foxley said of his friend: "He's actually seeing hope where before he was very flummoxed".
In 2008, Christian families who had lived in the Bhubaneswar region for years were attacked in the worst communal violence since Indian independence.
Though Christians had suffered persecution before, this was a particularly fierce bout, Mr Foxley said.
Some of the girls at the home are from families affected by the violence. Sabita's house was burnt down during the riots and her family moved away but has faced "great difficulties" resettling in a "faraway place". She likes the discipline and neatness of the home and wants to be a nurse.
Gladys' family was forced to flee their village during the riots when all their household goods were ransacked and destroyed.
She wants to be a nurse when she grows up.
Mikhal's family has moved to Chennai in southern India to work in the construction industry but she and a sibling were left at Love and Serve India homes.
Donations to Bricks for Life can be made at any National Bank branch or visit bricks.org.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News