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UT-Battelle-funded children's home opens in India
This artist rendering shows the Divine Childrne's Home orphange in Trivandrum, India, which opened recently thanks to a $100,000 gift from UT-Battelle. (hi-res image)
After a $100,000 donation from UT-Battelle and two years of construction, the Divine Children's Home opened the doors to its new orphanage facility on Dec. 22, 2008.
The gift represents a corporate match of funds donated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory staff after the December 2004 Tsunami that devastated southern India. The money has helped the orphanage leverage additional funds from area businesses needed to build a new home.
Divine Director Alice Thomas said the new building now accommodates at least twice as many children as the small rented home which formerly housed the orphanage.
"Divine Children's Home has always been a warm sanctuary for the needy children of Trivandrum," Thomas said. "Thanks to UT-Battelle and other benefactors, the dream to operate out of our own premises has become a reality."
The Divine home was founded by Thomas and registered as a charitable trust in July 2002. In January 2005, a group of ORNL leadership visited India to explore collaborative opportunities in science. A day of the trip was devoted to the orphanage, which then provided a home to 30 children who would have been destitute and on the streets.
"My genuine dream is that some day fate might make it possible for one or more of those children to work at ORNL," said then-ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth, who is now Battelle President and CEO. "With this gift, we demonstrated to the people of India that, even on the other side of the world, UT-Battelle's corporate culture includes being a valued member of the community in which we work and partner."
The Team UT-Battelle board of directors approved the gift, which could help the orphanage expand to eventually house as many as 90 children. ORNL staff also have donated school supplies and gifts to the children.
ORNL employees and UT-Battelle together donated nearly $200,000 to help victims of the 2004 tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands and devastated areas along coastal regions of the Indian Ocean.
For more information, please go to: www.divinechildrens.com
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy.