The year was 1998, when God spoke to a young Pastor and his wife, Karl and Suzan Silva, about starting a Children’s Home that would care for abandoned and orphaned kids in the city of Mumbai. Though they had both worked with orphans in their youth, they never imagined that they and their church team would one day start their own Children’s Home.
In the weeks that followed, on their trips to church, the Pastor and his wife were surprised to find a small group of children on the streets, between 8 to14 years, greet them as ‘uncle’ and ‘aunty’. These children had all been to the Christmas dinner and had thoroughly enjoyed it. They soon became friends. It was discovered that many of these children had no parents. Some of them were orphaned, some abandoned and so poverty stricken that they lived right on the streets.
Life on the streets can be quite a traumatic experience for an abandoned child. The little ones are often exploited by organized adult gangs and forced to beg. At the end of the day all their earnings are taken away from them. They are given very little food. Many of them suffer physical abuse, malnourishment and disease. They have no family love, no education and no future!
A dedicated team of people from the church began working on a literacy program for these children, and later, a provision was made for a daily meal. This went on for six months and the children became a part of the family.
The first night that the kids spent in their new home was hilarious. None of them had ever experienced a hot shower, and to have running water was an absolute thrill!! It was hard getting the kids out of the shower. It was so much fun for them. That night, for the first time, they slept in new pajamas, on soft mattresses, with their own pillows and clean sheets. Some of them, by force of habit, put their only belongings – the soiled clothes they came in with, under their pillows for safekeeping. They forgot they were no longer on the streets. What an amazing thing it is to feel secure and have a family!! Do we have much to be thankful for?
In the first year, a home school along with a sports and recreation program was started. The following year, the second home was added. A dear friend, Staffan Ohlson, introduced them to some of his business friends, Jim and Nancy Dornan and Mitch Sala, whose hearts were also moved with the vision and they decided to sponsor the first two homes.
Thoroughly enjoying their faith adventure, the church team started dreaming about having their own building to house 150 orphan boys and began to pray for land. A plot of land which was zoned for a school was located in Vasai. There was no money for the project, so they prayed.
Miraculously, a few months later, a Pastor friend, David Stambovsky, called Pastor Karl and Suzan to inform them that he had been given a donation to be used specifically for an orphanage in India. He wanted to direct the money to their orphanage project. The money was exactly half the amount of the land price. The Pastor and his wife praised God for answering prayer! This was a sure sign that God wanted the team to move ahead with the project.
1. To build a children’s home called Karuna Sharan, for 150 orphan boys, with dorms, a cafeteria, recreation facilities and home parents who would provide a family environment for the children.