Building better lives brick by brick

The Manawatu-initiated Bricks for India campaign will enable 33 girls to see their dream come true with a new building made for them, Love and Serve India founder Sura Mahat Samal says.

"All the girls will know that they are not alone and forgotten, but there are a multitude of people across the world who care for their needs."

Incorporated society Bricks for Life, chaired by Palmerston North school teacher Brent Costley, is running the campaign which hopes to raise $500,000 for the Bethel Girls' Home in Orissa state, which is currently housed in an unsuitable building.

Mr Samal is a good friend of Ashhurst's Ric Foxley.

For most of the past 20 years, Mr Foxley has worked in fundraising for World Vision or the Leprosy Mission.

He met Mr Samal in 1995 when he first visited India to look at World Vision-funded projects. The following year the two men met again when Mr Samal visited Palmerston North and other parts of the country as part of World Vision New Zealand's 25th anniversary celebrations.

They met again in India in 2003 and are now in almost daily Skype contact.

Mr Samal was a World Vision project manager for 20 years, leaving eight years ago to establish Bethel Boys' Home for boys from disadvantaged or poor Christian families.

Forty-four boys live at the home, which is fully funded and running "brilliantly", Mr Foxley said.

Two years ago Mr Samal opened the girls' home.

When his friend was left in a "real pickle", with funding for a new building falling over but a deposit placed on the land, Mr Foxley approached potential funders in New Zealand without success.

Mr Foxley said if the girls remained with their parents, they might get the chance to go to school, but by living at the girls' home they will stay in school longer and probably get married later.

"They are being given a chance at a whole better quality of life."

Mr Samal said the girls are role models for other students.

"We see there is a sea change progress among the girls before and after they have come to the girls' home," he said.

"The girls are provided with nutritious food, clothing, accommodation, health care, support, education, and most importantly moral and spiritual values being inculcated shaping their lives to become good and ideal citizens."

If more than $500,000 is raised, it will be held in a trust to be used for maintenance and development of the home.

Manawatu Standard