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Dinner benefits Indian School

Enterprise Staff
Davis Enterprise, Wed. May 9, 2007 (page A4)

Local residents are invited to an evening of Indian dining on Saturday, June 9, to raise money for children in a remote rural village in Tamil Nadu, India.

The event is being hosted by St. James Church Gospel Justice Committee and Davis-based Sahaya International.

The founder of Sahaya, Koen Van Rompay, said all proceeds will be donated to build the much-needed school building for the Mother Teresa School in Periyakrishnapuram village in India.

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Students at the Mother Teresa School in Periyakrishnapuram village in India do yoga exercises in front of the thatched-roof school, which will be replaced with a bricks and concrete building this year.

"I have been visiting this school every year since 1998, when it had only nine students," Van Rompay said. "The new school has been run mostly thanks to the money raised by or local volunteers here in the Davis area, who sell the embroidered cards that are produced by women in these villages.

"But now the school has grown to more than 60 children," he said. "The school is run out of a large hut, which is too small for the many children it serves and the thatched-leaf roof is a fire hazard in the summer and it leaks during the rainy season.

"We have been raising money for this project for several years," Van Rompay continued. We have already purchased a 28,000 square-foot piece of land. Thanks to the generous folks in Davis and throughout Yolo county, we have already raised more than half of the $28,000 we need to construct a real school building out of bricks and concrete, and with separate classrooms for different age groups.

Van Rompay travels to Tamil Nadu once a year and expects that school construction will be well underway on his next trip in January.

"We invite people from the Davis area who travel to India to visit the school and spend time with the children," he said.

The full-course dinner on June 9 will be prepared by Mary Philip, Susie O'Bryant and their many friends, and will be served at the St. James Memorial Center, 1275 B Street. Doors will open at 6 pm, with dinner to be served at 6:30 pm. A silent auction and slide show will entertain those who attend.

"The ticket price is not fixed,", said Guy Turner, chairman of the St. James Gospel Justice Committee. "Any donation is welcome although we are recommending $30 per ticket. It's such a worthy cause."

"We had our first dinner last year at International House and the response was overwhelming, so we were lucky enough to move to a large venue at St. James this year,", Van Rompay added. For tickets contact Koen at kkvanrompay@ucdavis.edu. For more information about the school go to http://www.readindia.in/mother_teresa_school.html.



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