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Huntington University graduate Luke Brenneman plays with girls at an orphanage in India during a 2012 visit.

India orphans tug at hearts of students at area campus

After a year of fundraising, a group of Huntington University students will journey to India to put in motion a plan to improve the lives of young orphans.

A group of 14 students will leave Jan. 4 for a trip to the Home of Love all-girls orphanage in Chennai, a city on the southeastern coast of India.

During their three-week stay, students will lead a Bible school program and begin work on building a new dormitory for the 70 girls who currently call the orphanage home.

A year ago, a group worked in the home for about two weeks, but after leaving, students decided they wanted to do more.

“We decided to do (the fundraiser) on our way back, when we were in Delhi,” said junior Nate Sullivan, a member of the 2012 team.

“We all felt that we didn’t want to leave that place and be done with it.”

At first, Sullivan said, team members thought the goal might be too much to handle, but encouragement from fellow students and the team’s leader helped keep the ball rolling.

A year later, students have raised $20,000 for the new dormitory, which will be a significant improvement for the orphans, who now sleep on mats on a concrete floor.

Home of Love is a Christian orphanage for girls at risk of living on the streets or being sold into the sex trade, according to the university.

Group members also raised money to pay for their own travel expenses.

“I am so excited to be able to return to India,” junior Hannah Hochstetler said. “It is surreal to me that I was a part of the team who started this goal and reached the goal, and now, I get to go back and put the plan in motion.”

sarah.janssen@jg.net

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