TUTICORIN DORMITORY PROJECT
Update: Spring 2009
For any traveler who has visited the Good Shepherd School for the Deaf in southern India you know how dire the living quarters were. As you have read in previous newsletters, Lutheran Partners has worked hard to raise funds to build a new, larger and safer place for these children to live. LPGM representatives were at the dedication of the opening of the building in February. Gordon Olson, LPGM’s Executive Director, writes:
“Walking in, we were greeted by the children and staff. The children were dressed in new uniforms with shoes and socks–all purchased by a local businessman who also recognized that these children were being helped by an outside agency. I think this was the first time these children had ever worn shoes! This visible help LPGM gave encouraged others to also give! The ribbon cutting for the dorm was followed by lots of speeches, a program, the giving out of another uniform and much ceremony.
“The dorm is beautiful and functional. The contractor went beyond the call of duty to provide a safe and practical home for the children. All in all I think we can be very pleased and proud of the new dormitory. For the children it is like moving from a slum to a 3-star hotel. Praise God for his goodness! Following the dedication the children were treated to a wonderful lunch — perhaps better than they had ever had — a 6-7 course meal on a banana leaf.”
Update: Winter 2009
Dormitory at Tuticorin Completed
After three years of planning and fundraising, the new dormitory at Good Shepherd School for the Deaf is finally complete–and paid for! The dorm with rooms that will sleep and feed 50 children, is a great step up from the desperate living condition the children have endured for several years. We are so grateful to so many donors, namely Bethel Lutheran congregation in Northfield, Minnesota, Peace Lutheran congregation in Bloomington, Minnesota, students and parents at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, and several generous individuals. A total of more than $67,000 was collected for the project over the past three years.
We praise God for the success of this important project that will improve the lives of children who have little opportunity in a society that undervalues children with disabilities. On February 4th the finished building will be officially opened, the keys turned over to the school and the children will move in. What an exciting day that will be!
Members of Peace, Bethel and Mt. Calvary, all Lutheran congregations in Minnesota, traveled to India on a recent LPGM vision trip. While all the experiences were outstanding, perhaps the most memorable of the trip was a stop at the Good Shepherd School for the Deaf in Tuticorin on the southern coast of the Bay of Bengal. So moved were they by the plight of these “throw away” children who have very little chance for a productive life, that they set a goal to raise enough funds in the months ahead to build a new dormitory and a second story to the present classroom building. Preliminary plans for the buildings have already been created by MSAADA Architects. Peace Lutheran member, David Dynneson, remarked that “we cannot see this and not do something! These beautiful children are living in very poor conditions with cramped sleeping areas, a very inadequate kitchen and no toilet facilities. I can’t get this picture out of my mind.” Lutheran Partners now supports 25 children at the school for the deaf with hopes of increasing to 50 children within a year. We trust that God will provide the funds to give these children a clean and safe place to live and a nurturing environment for learning and spiritual development.
Good Shepherd School for the Deaf was founded by Lutheran Church Missouri Synod missionary, Rev. Arnold Lutz, who built the original school in the early 1980’s with eventual plans for expansion. But Rev. Lutz retired, is now deceased and no one since has taken up the cause. LPGM has enlisted the support of students at Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis to support several of the children and perhaps help with some of the renovations with funds collected each year at Thanksgiving. Several classes in the elementary and middle schools are concentrating on a single child at the deaf school and are corresponding regularly as part of their outreach mission. We are so grateful for this school to school partnership. We will keep our readers posted on the progress of this worthy project. If you are interested in helping in some way, please contact us.