I am a widow and grandmother who was born and raised in Bermuda and who also spent many of her formative years in England during World War II.  I began my college education late in life, when I was fifty years of age and graduated with a BSW and MSW and worked for several years as a therapist in Colorado Springs as an Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

I now make my home in Mt. Shasta and while travelling approx 12 years ago, I fell in love with the poor children in the rural area of Bodhgaya, Bihar, India and began to help a little when I realized how much difference a small gift could make in the lives of individuals.  It all began with teaching in a school behind a cow shed and living in a rural village for three months.  Quite an experience for all since I knew no Hindi and they knew no English.  Later we built a school and also sponsored many surgeries for crippled children and for children with cleft lips (harelips)

KIRF INDIA grew out of these experiences  Kirwin International Releif Foundation India is named after my late husband who was a teacher and a kind man who was frequently helping others.

In the early days we built one school which is run by others and is thriving.  For several years we ran non formal schools in three village centers.  For one reason or another  we had to leave these villages and fortunately these village children are currently being educated by other groups.

Currently we are running a school for about 100 poor children on a large piece of land.  There are many plans for the hopeful future of this land, one being that eventually it will be self supporting and there will be one paid student for one free student.  We plan and hope to offer higher education for the poor which is not the usually available. Our students come from illiterate families and previously had no hope of education.

KIRF INDIA is running a Sewing Center for poor young women and already several have graduated from our two year programme and they are earning money by sewing for their villages.  This is a very big step forward for them.

We are operating a small clinic once a week and have recently plastered an existing, rough building for use by our clinic.  Sometimes as many as 60 villagers come on Saturdays when the clinic is open for 3 hours or longer if needed.  Seriously ill patients are taken elsewhere for their treatment.  There is no other community health service in our area and the people are very grateful.

Due to the kindness of the Bermuda Rotary Clubs this past year we were able to provide quality wells for many needy villagers.

I am happy to give presentations at any time and have a short movie and many stories to tell.

With gratitude for all  and much love  Diane



~ by tomandleslie on April 25, 2011.

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