Recovering from Cyclone Fani

On May 2, 2019, Cyclone Fani made landfall in Puri, Odisha, causing devestating damage. It will take many years for the region to fully recover, and your support is greatly needed.

Our brand new school, the Father Marian Memorial Beatrix High School, suffered extensive damage, as did the Ishopanthi Ashram (our affiliated spiritual center in Puri) and Karunalaya (the lepers’ village).

Father Baptiste, who runs the Beatrix school, wrote the following note in early May:

Puri city is totally destroyed. No trees are standing, all electric poles, installations, mobile towers, roofs of hotel and houses made of asbestos or steel are blown off. All houses from the light house to Ishopanthi Ashram are blown off. The sea beach road resembles a mountain of sand. Hotels along the beach are totally destroyed with sand and rubble flown in with the storm.

Coming to more personal issues, the damage to the building and property of Karunalaya, the (Ishopanthi) Ashram, and Beatrix School is beyond words. All glass windows of the school and ashram are broken; the 10 kilowatt solar panels in the school and the 16 kilowatt solar panels in the ashram are totally destroyed and blown off; the solar panels and solar water heating system with four water tanks of the hostel are destroyed, and the main gate of the school is blown away.

You all have been with us in the thick and thin of our life in the Puri mission. I only pray God shows us the way and gives us the strength to stand amidst this destruction. I shall be grateful to you for any help you are able to extend to rebuild our lives and mission in Puri.

Damaged Solar Panels

Destroyed rooftop water tanks

Extensive damage to the lepers’ care center

Thankfully, school was not in session when the cyclone hit, as Puri schools are closed during tht May–June hot season. The buildings themselves remain standing and no one in and around the school was injured. More than a thousand people took shelter inside our school during the storm. Doctors Without Borders set up a camp on the school grounds to provide medical, hygienic, and psychological assistance to the local population. After the cyclone passed, the Indian government supplied each family with 100 pounds of rice and 2000 rupees (about $30) to help them start rebuilding their shattered lives.

Anything you can give is very much appreciated. You have our deepest gratitude.

July 12, 2019 Update

It is with great joy that we announce that the school in Puri has now reopened. The deep generosity of our friends and sponsors made it possible to repair all the major damage to our school. We were able to send $20,000! And more donations also came from many people in Europe and South America.

Most of the school books and uniforms were lost or destroyed, but now the students have new uniforms—they are green, the color of hope. And hope is truly creating their future. I am happy to these photos of the students showing their enthusiasm that they are able to start studying again.

Now that the school is back in operation, we will turn our attention to the leper colony. In the last few years, we had rebuilt about three quarters of the huts where the lepers lived so they could have decent shelter, clean water, beds, and nourishing food. However, these were destroyed in the cyclone so we are starting again. We have made a good start already due to your wonderful donations.