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STOP International Summer Project 2005
 
Summer 2005 saw 13 STOP International volunteers from various professions including a student, surveyor, secretary, council worker, IT consultant, teacher and retirees financed themselves to travel to the Tamil Nadu town of Hosur to work on a building, planting, education and maintenance programme for two orphanages. 

One of the projects was to construct a roofed verandah (5.6 m x 6.8 m) for the Anbu Ilam (Love Home) Orphanage.  STOP built this accommodation for the children of Love Home in 2004 (see Project 2004).  With space a rare commodity in any orphanage, the children can use the verandah as an additional living space for play, drying their clothes during the monsoon season and shelter from the sun during the hot summer months. 
 
The volunteers worked hard together carrying granite blocks, mixing concrete, carrying stones and mud, pounding, drilling, chiselling, roofing and painting.  After four days the verandah was completed with the finishing touches added by the local mason.  In addition the volunteers cultivated and planted a vegetable garden for the Love Home orphans.  The volunteers hand-tilled 30 square meters of land and sowed aubergine, bean, okra, tomato and spinach seeds. The seeds germinated, produced beautiful seedlings and are now benefiting the children with fresh produce. While at Anbu Ilam the volunteers were also able to build a small pump house and put up shelves for the children.
 
Suitably qualified volunteers began working with some of the disabled children of the BESSO Children’s Home. These children as a result of their disabilities do not attend school, and so have not begun to read, write and draw as the other children do.  One of the orphans, six year old Angelin, who suffers from cerebral palsy received physiotherapy from retired physiotherapist Romy Barham, while ten year old Shanmugam, who has lost 95% of his sight was helped by the one to one teaching given by Lorna Annable, a retired teacher. 

In addition to helping the disabled orphans the power supply to the home was upgraded and made safe and cupboards were built and erected.  Also our project doctor Derald Barham assisted by his wife Romy gave each child a medical examination.  All the children bar two who had a fever were found to be in good health.  The orphanage director sorted suitable treatment in consultation with the medical team.   

The following week the volunteers financed a day trip to a lion and tiger safari park for all the children from three orphanages (Anbu Ilan, BESSO, Captain Azariah Children’s Home).  Six minibuses were hired which picked up the 100+ individuals and drove an hour and a half on pothole ridden roads to the Bannerghetta Wildlife Safari Park.  The volunteers and children were thrilled to see lions, tigers, guar, bears and deer living in the wild.  The big cats looked magnificent as they were viewed from as close as ten feet from the security of the safari vehicle. Following the safari they settled down to a delicious picnic lunch followed by a tour round the neighbouring zoo that had exotic animals such as the great king cobra, the Indian crocodile (garihal), the Indian black bear, langurs, hippopotamuses, various birds and primates.

Parting is always sad and saying goodbye to the children with whom the group had so much fun was very difficult, however the memories of the two weeks will never be forgotten.

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