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Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2013

continued to well up in my mind until I came home to Wilmington in early 2006, where I taught at UNCW. I was a reasonably accomplished writer and journalist, and I had no background that would qualify me to help. I stumbled along at first. Reena and the girls were sleeping on the floor. I could help there. That Christmas I reached out to friends with an appeal I called, “Bed for Reena.” I raised a few thousand dollars and returned to India, bought the mattresses and mattress covers, and promptly found out this was perhaps the worst idea I could have come up with. What happens to mattresses and mattress covers on dirty floors? Exactly. The mattresses went into storage. Forget about mattresses; the girls needed a proper home, not the concrete floor of the school, where each morning they quickly rolled up their mats before the other students arrived. I— was born. - to speak in churches, to civic clubs, in schools, to just about anyTo be honest, I don’t know exactly how this happened, but Home ofbeganone who would listen, and Home of Hope — soon to be Homes of Hope Start Your Collection Hope seemed to have a life of its own. People responded, and responded generously, when I told them about Reena. A homeless man in Seattle put 73 cents Just $2.50 per month people wrote checks for amounts I couldn’t quite believe, and soon there was enoughin a church envelope, which was all he had, and told me to “help those kids.” Other money to build a new orphanage in Kochi. When Tracy and I were preparing to go to the dedication of the orphan- age, I received a call from Stuart Padley, a Microsoft executive I had met at one of my talks. He was at another orphanage run by the Salesian sisters, this one in Secunderabad, Hyderabad’s twin city. “It’s worse than Kochi, Paul. Horrible. Kids are sleeping four and five under a blanket in a tiny rented building,” Padley said. Our work wasn’t finished; it had just begun. Today, through the incredible generosity of people all over the globe, we have two more orphanages under construction and by year’s end, more than 400 orphaned, abandoned and neglected girls will be safe and going to school in our Homes of Hope. We have just started raising awareness for two more orphanages, one for HIV orphan girls near Chennai, and another in Assam for Adivasi (tribal) children, one of India’s lowest and poorest castes. I often say about my role in Homes of Hope: I am hollow like a pipe. I don’t just $29.95 per year MAP DESIGN BY BRILL BRANDING children who needhave the resources,nonprofit from thosewho do have theresources to these gift subscription through this smallbut they can flowTo send a 12-month to your friends and family, visit www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com Homes of Hope supports 32 locations in southern India, help. or call 910-256-6569 orphanages, schools, hostels, and women’s empowerment That help has centers. come in many forms 50 WBM may 2013


Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2013
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