Lasallian Foundation launches today
At a Melbourne ceremony tonight, the De La Salle Brothers will launch the Lasallian Foundation in support of the congregation's projects in developing countries including India, Burma and Papua New Guinea.
The Foundation to be launched at the RACV building in Melbourne will support social justice projects throughout the Asia-Pacific region for poor and disadvantaged children.
The statement says that although the Foundation was established three years ago, its recently gained tax deductibility gift status has provided the necessary catalyst for its official launch.
In 2006 the Lasallian Foundation made grants of over $159,000 to projects in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea and already in 2007 the Foundation has already granted another $170,000 for projects.
One project in 2006 was to assist the reconstruction of St Thomas and St Vincent's schools in India's Tamil Nadu State, which were destroyed in the 2005 Boxing Day Tsunami.
"To see the schools rebuilt and the faces of the smiling students, all 300 of them was fantastic!" CEO Br Paul Smith said, following a recent visit to the schools.
In India, the work of the De La Salle Brothers requires down-to-earth practical support, the statement said.
"Female infanticide, poverty, child labour, class discrimination, the devastation of AIDS, use of child soldiers, and a dowry system that alienates young girls from birth, places enormous burden on the families", said Br Smith.
Trade schools in India and Sri Lanka are supported by the Lasallian Foundation to provide opportunities for young people to further their education and gain practical skills to increase their employment opportunities.
In India, the Lasallian Foundation supports programs for HIV/AIDS orphans, such as access to education.
"Being orphaned through Aids is a stigma which results in rejection and abandonment for these children. Where the virus is contracted by the child, the Brothers provide health programs to avoid the possibility of a lonely and painful death for these children", says Br Smith.
"The support even extends to being the marriage brokers for the children and providing their dowry," he said.
The Lasallian Foundation is keen to achieve the goal of 1,500 child sponsors by 2008.
"The $300 annual sponsorship ensures the continuance of the programs in which the children are placed. This is the fundamental support that ensures a consistent program and caters effectively for the needs of the children", Br Smith concluded.
De La Salle brothers launch Lasallian Foundation (De La Salle Media Release, 15/7/07)
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