THE long wait is finally over and the dream of a self-contained, self-sustaining village catering for many hundreds of underprivileged children of all ages is about to become a reality for HEAL and its visionary founder Dr Koneru Satya Prasad. Admittedly, there is still a long way to go before Paradise Village opens its doors and becomes home to as many as 1,000 orphaned and needy children from Andhra Pradesh and other parts of India. Large amounts of funding are still required to allow HEAL to complete by far its most ambitious project to date, but a significant milestone was reached this week with a successful ‘puja’ ceremony at the site of the village in Thotapally, near the city of Vijayawada.
Final drawings have been submitted to the local authorities and among the VIPs who attended the laying of the Ceremonial Foundation Stone on November 16 were Dr Manga Devi, who runs the school next to HEAL Children’s Village at Guntur, and Dr Bala Vardhana Rao, Member of the Legislative Authority for nearby Gannavaram.
One hundred people were invited to the puja ritual ceremony – performed to bless the building and the project as a whole, regarded as an important stepping stone to ensuring its success.
The ritual for the Paradise Village was performed at 9.54am local time – an auspicious moment, or ‘suba muhurtha’, calculated for a particular geographic position within the frame of a specially chosen day and using the time of sunrise for that particular position as the starting point. Among the many HEAL representatives from India and the UK in attendance was Amanda Smith, who has been visiting Andhra Pradesh to check on progress prior to taking up her new role as vice- principal of the HEAL Paradise Village.
“HEAL Paradise is a kernel of hope and from the 16th of November we can begin building a school and a future for underprivileged children to have the best education we can provide,” said Amanda.
“The school I am here in India to set up ready for admission in June 2012 may not yet have been built, I am assured that once building work commences, it will happen very quickly.”
In addition to providing vital schooling and a home for many, many children, Paradise will offer so much more to the local community, including an institute for the blind, industrial training, a health centre and a junior college. Much detailed planning has gone into ensuring that the village operates in a self-sustaining and eco-friendly manner, taking care of the children in a holistic environment that will help them to develop to their potential. To achieve this the Paradise Village aims to make use of the latest technologies in energy generation and conservation.
The site itself is nestled amidst beautiful surroundings, its borders demarcated by the expanse of Lake Brahmalingam to the south-east and canals to the north-east and south-west, which provide irrigation for the local farming communities. Entirely self-contained and secluded from the busy highway that connects the village to the city of Vijayawada, the site provides the perfect setting for the harmonious growth and development of the children who will come to call it home.
An array of sustainable techniques and systems like solar and wind power, hydroponic vegetable gardens and solar cooking are incorporated within the site’s design proposals, including the recycling of waste materials to create energy. The village will have extensive green cover and the planting of fruit-bearing and shady trees will increase the scope for self-sustainability. HEAL’s vision is for this centre to be a model of excellence in design, sustainability and management, which will care for the most needy children and prepare them for adult life with education, skills, an awareness of their responsibility to protect valuable resources, and a caring attitude to the less fortunate people in society.
Plans are in place not only for the construction of a school, family-style dormitories and a range of recreational facilities, but a visitors’ centre, auditorium, artistic and manual workshops, which will combine to maintain the traditional Indian ‘gurukul’ system, whereby residential students are provided with education, values and life-skills. HEAL is appealing to individuals and businesses to help us to speed this project along by sponsoring a classroom, a dormitory, a workshop or arts building, or by providing funds for tree planting, or eventually by sponsoring individual children.
Sponsors can even have rooms and buildings named after themselves, a business or a loved one, and trees can be planted in memory of a loved one, and a named plaque attached. If you would like to support the project, and help to improve the lives of thousands of Indian children in the future, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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