Former Skegness man rallies support from local Lions for orphanage in India
Andrew Cole, who moved to Bangalore to open a new Micronclean factory, has presented a cheque for £500 with the help of family members and Skegness Lions.
His father, Derek - a retired Skegness Magistrates Court clerk who is a member of the Lions - helped raise the money locally.
The family first came across the school during Diwali - the most important event in the Hindu calendar - and it was a "very humbling experience".
"We got Swapna to make as many biscuits and sweets as she could, and we took them to the orphanage/ residential home near the factory," he said.
"Max, Milo and I had not been due to the lockdown rules but now we were allowed. It was a very humbling experience.
"The staff were there to meet us and gave us a coffee.
"The owner, his wife and two teenage/ young adult children and staff have devoted their whole lives to the care of the residents, aged from 0 to 80.
"I do not know how they do it.
"We went to meet the ladies and girls first. A very bright-eyed young lady of about 14 approached carrying a baby that was blind, deaf and who had physical challenges.
"I held the baby’s hand so that she knew I was there. The young lady just smiled. She was deaf and unable to speak but definitely very intelligent.
"A few of the other young girls were physically and mentally challenged and so communication was difficult, but they were all smiling.
"There were about six very elderly ladies at the far end sat on the ground.
"Amongst these children and ladies there were children that had been abandoned at the gates and so there needs were different.
"One little girl had online lessons with the local school as she could not go to school because of the restrictions
"The girls who are deaf are learning sign language at the home.
"We went to see the men and the boys next. They were in a newer building and there were pet rabbits running freely around for them to stroke.
"There were dogs, cows and a couple of horses too.
"We saw some teenage boys having computer lessons in a room. The rest of the residents were waiting for the rain to stop too.
"The staff there were kind, sympathetic and doing the best that they could in the circumstances.
"Whereas we expect everyone to be busy with activities all the time that is not the expectation here.
"As long as people have food, shelter and clothing, then that is a priority. The life skills and education come next.
"All the residents were clean and well dressed. We saw the food being prepared and it was all fresh. The two teachers that took us round were understanding and keen to explain what goes on. Theirs was such a difficult job."
Follow Andrew and his family on their adventures by visiting www.fourgomadinindia.com/.