North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN -- A project the Williamstown Rotary Club began about two years ago to aid an orphanage in India with safely transporting children to and from school has been completed.
Samuel Humes, past president of the club, said Friday that the Williamstown Rotary Club, in partnership with the rotary club of Vellore, India and Rotary International, raised enough funds to purchase a mini-bus for the HOPE House in Vellore. The bus was delivered to the orphanage about three months ago, but it took about a month of paper work to get the registration for the vehicle in place, he said.
"There are about 60 girls under the orphanage’s care, and they need to go to school. They ended up taking the public buses, and many get abused while riding them," he said.
The total cost for the bus was $21,000, and the Williamstown Rotary Club was responsible for raising one-fourth of that as part of a matching grant, he said. They did so with the help of rotary clubs in North Adams, Pittsfield, Dalton, Great Barrington, Tri Town (Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge) and Salisbury, Conn., he said. That amount was matched by the district the Williamstown Rotary Club is under -- Rotary District No. 7890, and that amount was then matched by Rotary International.
"There is this great sense of accomplishment among the members of the Williamstown Rotary Club right now. It’s a delightful feeling when you can help people and
HOPE House, which was established in 2004, began as a children’s home. It has since grown to advocate for children’s rights, educate people about adoption in India and strengthen and support families.
According to a July 1 newsletter from the orphanage, after learning about the impending arrival of the bus, the girls of HOPE House were encouraged to think beyond themselves. One girl suggested HOPE House write a letter to the chief minister of the state asking about having public buses that would just be for taking children to and from public school, the newsletter stated. The chief minister replied to the letter, and while he agreed with the idea, it couldn’t be addressed because it was a major policy decision, the newsletter said.
The girl’s actions did rub off on the HOPE House staff, and the organization is now in the pre-consultative stage of a project that involves experimenting with school bus transportation, according to the newsletter.
"It makes us feel great that our gift may have a far more reaching impact on India than we ever thought," Humes said.
To reach Meghan Foley, email email@example.com.