June '08 Mysore Highlight

Operation Shanti Benefit Raises US$6000
By Michael Peter Carter

Operation Shanti recently opened their first shelter, Karunya Mane (in the local language karunya means compassion and love for the poor, mane means home). It's a home for children and destitue elderly women, and it's almost full already! There are 29 residents, mostly children, who come from the slums and streets of Mysore. The adults are helping out with chores and taking care of the children before and after school.

I asked Tracy Kunichika (Director and President of Operation Shanti) to share the success of the shelter benefit with our readers. Here is her response:

Anu (from Anu's Internet cafe) inspired some students at one of her cooking classes by telling them about the work that Operation Shanti does. Anu spends a lot of time with the destitute women and children we serve, being their friend, counselling them, treating with care. The students decided it would be great to have a fundraiser to support the charity's efforts, especially the new shelter.

Richard and Heidi were the organizers and they did an excellent job, as did all the volunteers! Anu gave generously of her time by cooking all the food for the event. The event was hosted by dear friends of OS (Operation Shanti) Tamara and Tom from Santosha cafe. They donated their time, as well as chai, food, entertainment, and auction items. The auction was a huge success! Sharath kindly signed several t-shirts that raised a large sum of money at the auction. And PJ did a fabulous job as emcee of the auction, which raised 2.6 lakhs or US$6,000!

Seven of our kids (Asha, Prema, Sumitra, Pallavi, Latta, Nanjunda, Venkatesh) attended and had a great time. They were mesmerized by the magician and totally loved the chocolate fountain!

OS is so grateful to all the participants! The funds come at a perfect time because we just opened our new facility and moved in 26 kids from the streets and slums of Mysore. The kids start school on Monday, so some of the money will go to paying some school fees, books, uniforms, and medicines and vitamins for a back-to-schoolmedical camp that we just held today.

We even have enough to purchase bunk beds for the kids and to invest in our normal operating costs like food and clothing. Many of the kids don't come with anything more that the shirt on their backs, and often even that one shirt is tattered. The children don't even have slippers, so we got everyone some new everyday wear clothes and slippers.

Practically everything for the event was donated which means that all of the funds raised are going directly for the benefit of those we serve. About 93% of our normal operating budget goes directly to our programs. The rest pays for things like legal fees, banking fees and minimal officesupplies. We try to be efficient with our funds and all of our directors andofficers in both the US and India are non-paid volunteers.

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support, we could not do it with out you!

Tracy K.

You can read more about Tracy and Operation Shanti's work or make a donation by visiting their website at www.operation-shanti.org.  If you're on facebook, be sure to add Operation Shanti as a friend to help spread the word of this noble cause. 

Michael Peter Carter is the co-founder of Livingmysore.com and practices with Paul and Rachelle Gold in Toronto, Canada.

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