Our Mission: Changing the Lives of Children
Shantipuri Friends Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity established in 2009 to support the charitable works of Swami Nirvanananda Saraswati in and around the holy city of Puri, Odisha, India. Situated on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, Puri has long been a major pilgrimage destination for India's devout Hindus who come to visit the temple of Lord Jagannath to receive his Darshan.
Read Swami Nirvananda’s Story
It was in Puri, in 1992, that Swami Nirvanananda, an Italian by birth, took his final vows of renunciation and joined the ancient Swami Order of monks. Since that time, he has dedicated his life to serving the poor, focusing especially on helping the children of the Mercy Village Leper Colony in Puri. Later many other projects were started to help girls living in the inland and jungle areas of Odisha, mostly populated by indigenous tribes such as the Dalits and Adivasi. Swamiji has created several projects in and around Puri which profoundly impact the lives of those most in need: helping handicapped girls, girls caught in prostitution,
Read Father Marion’s Story
When he first visited India, Swami Nirvanananda met Father Marian in 1986 in Puri. Farther Marian was Polish and survived four years in Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp. He later came to India to help the victims of leprosy. Since their meeting, Swami Nirvanananda has dedicated his life to the leper colony and to the children that live there.
School Sponsor Page
Swami Nirvananda has been working hard to raise funds for a new school. The old Beatrix School is small, dark, and too crowded. The new school is growing high and is slated to be finished through the 12th grade in 2014. This new school was the dream of Father Marian and is now a reality. This school also the dream of many students who can now complete their education. They can finally find a good job and start a family, or go to college, without the fear of poverty or being ostracized.
A new reality is growing beyond the invisible border of a hut where the lepers and their families, considered outcast, were prevented from going even with the wings of a dream.
Hope is now blooming in the hearts of young people and their parents are smiling, also, knowing that, at long last, the chains of poverty and deprivation are being broken. They are transformed into complete and free human beings. If you’ve ever wondered how angels looked, you simply have to look into the faces of these children.
At the entrance of the school there is plaque with a motto that is true for everyone:
“Dharma Dheera, Karma Bheera” which means “Success in Dharma (righteousness) brings victory on Karma.”
All donations to Shantipuri Friends Foundation are tax-deductible in the United States, and directly benefit our various projects in and around Puri.
Read the new report from Puri, written on the occasion of the upcoming Christmas Holidays, clicking over to Santa Claus
SHANTIFPURI FRIENDS FOUNDATION ALSO HELPS IN SURROUNDING VILLAGES
The area around Puri is home to many remote villages, mostly made up of illiterate farmers, fishermen, and day laborers. Some are from tribes whose people are socially, economically, and educationally disadvantaged. Most do not own the land they farm. Many have no access to sanitation, electricity, or clean drinking water. Only a few villages have schools, so most children do not receive any education. While it is difficult for the people to educate their children, the girls are especially deprived of any kind of schooling. As they grow, girls work in the fields, look after younger children, graze cattle, fetch water, clean, and cook. Many girls have approached schools begging to receive some education and vocational training so they may have a chance for future employment.
Due to long and harsh traveling conditions very few are able to attend school at all. To assist with this situation, Shantipuri Friends Foundation is supporting several projects in conjunction with the Sisters of Charity.
The Sisters of Charity provide many services to the poorest of the poor in alignment with the ideals of their founder, Mother Theresa. It is their goal to respect the various traditions and religious beliefs of the tribal families with whom they work. Thank you for your support in making such a difference in the lives of many children and their families. Shantipuri Friends Foundation is a 501(C)3 organization and your donations are fully tax-deductible.