Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Joy Comes to Students in India

Bikes, books and bus passes brought joy to 110 students recently at a Lutheran college in southern India.

This joy came recently through gifts made possible from ELCA Lutherans as part of its tsunami response. The students are survivors, although they and their families lost homes, jobs or personal belongings.

The gifts will ease their financial burdens in attending college where they are studying to realize their dreams of becoming perhaps a teacher, engineer or an accountant.

The Lutheran college belongs to the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is in an area hit hard by the tsunami. Three thousand students attend this college known as TBML(Tranquebar Bishop Manickam Lutheran) College.

Text books went to 110 students. One student receiving her books said “I got 70% in the last exams and now I will try to get 90% with all these new books I got.”

Forty-five students received bicycles. One student, who lives in a temporary shelter after her family’s house was destroyed by the tsunami, exclaimed “I am glad and happy for this bicycle. The red color is my favorite!”

Bus passes were given to 44 students. The passes are valid for four months to a year. In addition, 21 students received help to pay their hostel fees.

The college principal, in response to the support from the ELCA through the UELCI (United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India), expressed appreciation that the youth, who are also affected by the tsunami, would get adequate attention. “This support really encourages the students to develop their abilities,” he said.

The Rev Dr Chandran Paul Martin, Executive secretary, UELCI thanked the students for accepting the UELCI as their partner in this process. The executive committee members of the UELCI including its president Rt Rev L.G. Rao, members of the faculty and students participated in the program.


Thanks from a College in India In their own words....

Yashoda a 3rd year Chemistry student responded saying “tsunami has taken away everything except our courage to live.”

She feels the love of God through ELCA/UELCI who are accompanying and building confidence while encouraging courageous efforts for overcome.

Dr. J. P. Jeyakumar, the principal, explained that the name of the town “Tranquebar” means “singing waves,” but on December 26 they turned into “wailing waves” immersing thousands of people into eternal grief.

Now he sees a tsunami of love as the waves of love cross many boundaries to reach those whose lives the tsunami wrecked earlier.

He expressed his grateful thanks to God for bringing the sea of humanity together into a wave of blessing.

Vidhya Rani from UELCI praised God for blessing her with this opportunity enabling her to help in a small way.

“These small helps go a long way as change makers bringing light into many darkened lives” she said

Sathiyaseelan a first year student is a unique tsunami survivor. He and three of his friends were caught up in the violent waves.

All three of his friends perished.Though he had his head hit hard against the wall he survived. And he gives his grateful response to the gifts from ELCA/UELCI.