RISHIKESH, INDIA, May 19, 2007: (HPI: Parmarth Niketan Ashram and India Heritage Research Foundation sent a press release on the opening of their joint sponsored tsunami relief operation.) An orphanage for the tsunami orphans has been constructed in Cuddalore by Project Hope, the organization founded by H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh and Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi, operating under the auspices of India Heritage Research Foundation, Rishikesh. The project includes: dormitory facilities, school rooms, computer center, vocational training center, dining and kitchen facilities, medical room, arts and crafts center, science laboratory and, due to the divine vision and compassion of Project Hope Founder Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the orphanage has been constructed on the same land as a home for widowed or abandoned and impoverished ladies. Now, the orphaned children will have mothers, aunts, sisters and grandmothers, and the ladies will receive that joy, meaning and purpose in life that comes from having young children to look after. It is a beautiful concept as it will provide them all, not only with facilities and amenities, but also with that loving connection which is so important. Project Hope has also built a vocational training center for the ladies, and the new huge dining/kitchen facilities are shared by both the children and the ladies. It will be truly a divine village of love and support with a total of more than 600 ladies and children. It will be a silver lining in that dark, tragic cloud of the tsunami.
The official inauguration of the center took place at 10:00 am on the May 12 by the hands of H.E. Honorable Governor of Tamil Nadu, Honorable Shri Surjit Singh Barnalaji with H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji in Cuddalore town at Sevai Illam/Ladies Service Home.
The governor asked a few of the little girls, spontaneously, "What do you want to be?" One said, "a doctor," another said, "a scientist" and the third said, "the Collector." The district Collector is the government in-charge of the area. In North India they are called district magistrates. The Collector had been helping the project quite a bit in terms of local logistics (water, electricity, etc.) so the children probably kept seeing him coming and going from the site, being the one in charge. So, this little girl, orphaned by the tsunami, the daughter of a poor fisherman, wants to grow up and be the Collector! The Governor said this is the gift of hope and faith!