Passports with Purpose Village – Photo of the Day

by Beth Whitman (February 17th, 2011)

Can you grock this? It’s how a hole is drilled for the placement of re-bar for the foundation of a home built by LAFTI. This is just one of 25 homes being funded by Passports with Purpose! I had the great honor of visiting our village in Kuranganni, Tamil Nadu, India, just a couple of weeks ago.

The village is located about 15 kilometers from the main LAFTI offices in Kuthur. It’s a tiny little area down a dirt road. Well, down many dirt roads. To get there, I took an overnight train from Chennai to Trichy. I was then met by a LAFTI employee who had hired a driver to take us to Kuthur – about 3 hours away.

When we arrived at one of the homes in Kuranganni, the workers, who were all members of the community, immediately began a puja (prayer). They burned incense and offered bananas and oranges to the gods. Krishanammal (Amma – Mother – as everyone calls her), myself and the homeowners got to shovel some dirt into the foundation.

The best part of the LAFTI program is that each family is responsible for the cost and building of the foundation for their home. And then LAFTI (in this case, funded by PwP) funds the brick building itself. This is brilliant. It invests the family and the village in the process, both financially and emotionally.

The foundations are dug deep, making them quite stable. Amma pointed out many times that the government buildings aren’t deep enough and their buildings can easily tumble as a result.

We drove around Kuranganni and visited numerous sites where the foundations were in various stages of being built. 15 had already been started and all 25 homes should be completed by the end of February!

Puja for the building of LAFTI homes in Tamil Nadu

Here, the community is offering a puja at the corner of one the homes’ foundations. Fruits and incense were offered to the gods.

Amma - Krishnammal Jagannath - praying at LAFTI home

Krishnammal Jagannathan, left, is known as Amma (Mother) to most. Here she prays with the owner of this soon-to-be-complete home.

First shovel of dirt at LAFTI home

The homeowner shovels the first bit of dirt into the foundation.

Family at building site for LAFTI home

Me with Amma and another couple/owners of a home that’s in the process of being built by LAFTI/Passsports with Purpose.

Women of LAFTI

In truth, there are a number of men who are involved with LAFTI, but we all know it’s the women who keep it all going :-) With me above are Amma and the women who run the office and kitchen at the LAFTI offices.

THANK YOU to everyone involved with Passports with Purpose in December. Whether you were a sponsor, a blogger hosting a prize, your company donated a prize, you gave $10 or you simply told others about PwP,  it was your efforts that is helping change the lives of this dalit (more commonly known as “untouchable”) community! In a very real way, you are improving the lives of an entire village and you’re showing them that people in a very far off land actually care.

Here’s a really lovely video produced by one of our sponsors, Round the World with Us. They were instrumental in helping us raise our total of $64,000!!!

See other lovely photos at DeliciousBaby!

Travel Well!


Related links:
South India Temples
South India Tea Plantations
Pongal in Pondicherry
North India Women-only Tour

On February 18th, 2011 at 7:53 am, Lisa said:

Beth, it must have been amazing to see the houses being built. I love seeing the photos. What a blessing for those families and that community.

On February 18th, 2011 at 9:42 am, Sonja said:

Thanks for keeping us updated on their progress. It’s inspiring.

On February 18th, 2011 at 11:21 am, Kymri / Mira Terra said:

Great to see the manifestation of PWP efforts! Thanks Beth for bringing our community to theirs…and now theirs to ours!

On February 18th, 2011 at 12:31 pm, Anna said:

Wow, what an experience. Great photos and I love the drilling video! Go PwP!

On February 18th, 2011 at 6:39 pm, Beth Shepherd said:

AWESOME!! Makes me so proud to have played even a small part,but mostly so happy to see what we can do – together – to build a village!

On February 20th, 2011 at 7:58 pm, Dominique said:

So much fun to see the results of #PwP this past year. Thanks for the update!

On February 23rd, 2011 at 3:11 am, EddieStarr said:

Beth, you are amazing. Give everyone big hugs for me, you are such an inspiration.

On February 24th, 2011 at 9:15 am, Sam said:

The article gave insight on your travels plus learning about PwP for the first time. Thanks for opening that door. Big thumbs up.

On March 4th, 2011 at 2:44 am, Barbara Weibel said:

Beth – Thanks SO much for sharing this. Great to see our donations in action.

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