Shanti Bhavan to accept Haitian orphans

As you all know, the people of Haiti are now suffering terribly as a result of the earthquake just three days ago. Many countries, organizations and individuals are trying to help these desperate people in different ways. We too must do what we can at this critical juncture.

Shanti Bhavan was founded 15 years ago on the simple principle of universal humanity - that we are all part of one large family - and we must come to the aid of others in times of need. It is only consistent with the teachings of some of India's great figures such as Ashoka the Great as early as 250 BC, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananta and Mahatma Gandhi, as well as numerous Western philosophers.

Shanti Bhavan has considerable experience in caring for orphans and children of single parent families who have been victims of social and economic disadvantage. We know the importance of a loving home, personal attention and quality education to realize the full potential of each child. Our commitment is not constrained by race, gender, social background or nationality.

After consulting with some of you, Shanti Bhavan has decided to open its doors to the children of Haiti who have been orphaned as a result of destruction and deaths. We are offering free admission to 12 Haitian children between the ages of 4 and 6 as soon as we can obtain the necessary permission from relatives and governments. While this would only be a small gesture, I hope it would motivate other institutions to do the same to save many more precious lives.

I realize the difficulties we will face to make this happen due to governmental regulations. We will need the consent and approval of relatives and governments. I am hopeful that we can persuade all parties that what we are striving to do is in the best interest of the children. We will commit to bringing up the children without government financial support all through school and college until they are in a position to seek employment.

I am reaching out to those of you who can help us accomplish this difficult task of facilitating the transfer of 12 orphan children from Haiti to Shanti Bhavan in India. There are many steps to this process which require influential contacts with governments and coordination with relief agencies. Shanti Bhavan does not have the institutional capability to accomplish that. If you are in a position to contribute to this noble effort, please email us at describing how you can be helpful; we will try to put those organizations and individuals together, where appropriate.

This is an important moment in our history. We owe our fellow humanity all our support and help at this time of great anguish and sorrow. Please help Shanti Bhavan help the children of Haiti.

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