One of Child Haven’s goals is for each home or project that we have oversees to own their own land and building. This has of course been a struggle, but with the help of generous contributors and incredibly kind donors, we are well on our way to making this goal a reality. Our most recent endeavor is our children’s home in Gujarat.
Gujarat has some the strictest rules for governing children’s homes in all of India. One rule that is causing some issues here is that girls and boys must reside in separate buildings, not just separate rooms. Since we are currently in the situation of needing to rent houses and given the fact that not too many landlords like the idea of a renting to a house full of children – here in Gandhinagar the girls and boys houses are unfortunately about 4 km apart. Not only is this double the rent and double the staff, but by separating the children so much they hardly have any opportunity to mingle with their friends and relatives in the other house.
Several years ago Child Haven, with the help of a very generous donor, purchased a plot of land with the intention of building one unified home for these children with two separate dormitories for the boys and girls. It was a slow start, but the buildings are now nearly complete and we got the chance to visit them recently.
The new site is located about an hour from the current home location and on our drive out there we passed by a whole menagerie of animals. Cows, water buffalo, and goats of course, but also a whole family of monkeys and quite a few camels too. It is a beautiful piece of property, set amidst rice fields and farms in a very rural area near the village of Meu.
Here in India, the majority of the work is done by hand, many hands to be precise. Pan after pan of concrete, sand, gravel, and the like are passed from one set of hands to another then another, over and over again until all of these pans of material begin to form buildings. It is an amazing process to watch unfold and we are grateful for the many hands that have taken part in the building of this beautiful home.
Under a slight drizzle, this is monsoon season after all, we toured the site and received updates of the progress from the architect and contractor working on the project. The girls dorm is close to being finished. It still needs windows and doors and eventually painting, the toilets and taps still need to be installed in the washrooms. There are still many things here and there that need to be finished, but for the most part, it is nearly finished.
The boys dorm still have quite a bit of work left. The exterior plastering needs to be completed, as do all of the flooring. The washrooms still have quite a bit of work, like tilings and plumbing installation. Work has slowed a bit in the past month due to torrential rains from the monsoon, but it should pick up again soon. We hope to have the two buildings at least to a state where they can be lived in by late fall. This way the children can switch schools at semester break and not have to wait until the end of the school year in May.
Everyone here is so excited for their new home, and so are we. The anticipation is palpable.
We look forward to helping celebrate the grand opening and many more visits to this wonderful new home.
Until next time,