A local team of 10 have returned from a hugely productive expedition to India where they continued the work of The Francina Foundation.
A registered charity, The Francina Foundation is working in partnership with the Rays of Peace Ministries in Southern India where the latest working group included members of High Kirk and Muckamore Presbyterian Churches.
Lorraine McAllister, who led this ‘mature and enthusiastic’ collective, said: “By working with our Indian partners, and in particular with the Rays of Peace Ministries, we are starting to bring relief from poverty, encourage educational attainment and develop long term facilities for those marginalized by society.”
Rays of Peace Ministry is run by Pastor Mark Jayakumar and his family. It has one orphanage – the Victory Children’s Home – in the Sasalu region and currently 50 boys and girls live there although such is the demand that children often have to be turned away.
The ministry also operates a drop-in facility in Chennai where children from very deprived home situations come to get fed and encouraged in the development of their young lives.
Lorraine said: “We needed to refurbish the kitchen area and cleared out half of the kitchen before repairing the floor and doing some re-plastering. New work benches and a sink were also added.
“As a consequence of government directives we undertook further work to protect the home with new fencing being erected at the front of the property and maintenance on the roof of the orphanage which was leaking as a result of the recent monsoon deluges”.
During a five-and-a-half hour visit to the local town, the funds raised by the team were used to purchase 102 pairs of shoes, school bags and raincoats for the children.
“We also helped in the daily routine of devotions at 5.30am and then again at 7.30pm as well as crafts and games with the children during the hectic ‘return from school period’,” said Lorraine who underlined that developing closer relationships with the youngsters was one of the highpoints of the trip.