Orphan School

This campaign was originally posted on Indiegogo!

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Our Indiegogo campaign has been a huge success! We have now raised our entire goal of $100,000! In actual fact we have raised more than that! Thanks to an incredible 10 year old girl, a Bollywood/Curry night in Melbourne and many other amazingly generous people who have given independently to our campaign we can now ‘check the final funding box’!

The most incredible story of all our supporters is about a young man named Sam Saxena. We would love for you to read his story here.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the campaign. For the incredible blessing you have been to our children. We will keep the campaign information up for posterity:

Welcome to the Maxton Strong School in Banbasa, India, where big changes are underway! Our school is growing so quickly, we need more space, and with your help, we’re launching a campaign to expand.

Our ultimate goal is $100,000, but we’re breaking it into four $25,000 steps. The each step has now been funded but there is still more work to be done; here’s what it looks like:

For all the graphic lovers out there, here’s a more complete breakdown of the idea:

With each step reached, we’ll bring you updates from the field, showing you our progress as it happens. Plans have been drawn up by EMI: an engineering firm in Delhi that caters to non-profit organizations, and work has already started.

Here is a little update video we put together to show the construction process:

For those unfamiliar with our work, the Maxton Strong School was built by The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission, an orphanage in India. Founded in 1952, the Mission is run by the Shipway family and is a model of self-sufficiency. Not only do they care for 75 orphaned or abandoned children, they also operate a 60-acre farm and dairy, run their own woodworking and mechanical workshops, support a small leper colony, and offer vocational training for area women…all without any grants or government funding. 

Clifton and Rick Shipway with some of their amazing kids!

Always looking to improve, the Shipways launched their most ambitous project to date in July of 2013. As they envisioned it, The Maxton Strong School would not only provide a free education for all of the Mission kids, it would one day be completely self-sustaining, covering all operating costs through the collection of reasonable enrollments fees from outside students.

Well…they did it! Now in its second year, the school educates nearly 450 students from the area communities, turns a small profit, and it is already considered one of the top schools in the region.

But there is one small (but good) problem: The School is running out of room!

When it’s complete, this project will accomplish several powerful objectives:
  • It will ensure a free education for all Mission children
  • It will make quality education available to an additional 192 area students (at the most reasonable fees in the area)
  • It will create 9 good jobs for local educators.
  • It will be another step toward the Shipway’s goal of complete self-sufficiency!

And so we invite you to get involved. We’re offering a variety of unique perks, including Skype calls, video tours and our first ever Orphan Album of original music! Additionally, for everyone making a donation of $10 or more, we’ll include your name on an dedication plaque to be installed in the new space. Maybe it’s just me, but I think to be immortalized in metal as an ORPHAN SCHOOL champion is the kind of recognition that everyone can be proud of.

Huge thanks to Random House Publishing for getting behind this project. They’re offering a copy of campaign creator John Marshall’s new book Wide-Open World to the first 50 contributors who donate $100. This memoir chronicles the six months John and his family spent volunteering their way around the world, including a month at the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission.

Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author of Orphan Train  says, “Wide-Open World will move, engage and inspire you, even if you never leave the couch.”

That’s about it. We can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt: These kids are worth it! From hopeless, unwanted beginnings, they now have the opportunity to learn and grow into the kind of people who will shape India’s future. And we get to be a part of it!

If you can help with a donation of any amount, it will be hugely appreciated.  If you are interested in helping out in other ways, you could always:

  • Share this page on Facebook, Twitter or GooglePlus. Use the share tools up above. It really does make a difference.
  • Visit the MAXTON STRONG SCHOOL website, the MISSION website, or the NEW ORPHANAGE website for more ways to get involved.
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Project Update!

Well, it’s official. The new Orphan School expansion is finished. The ribbon is cut, the opening ceremony has ended, and all of our hard work has paid off. Less than 11 months since the start of this campaign, new computers are in the computer lab and students are studying in their new classrooms.

For all of our 271 backers who missed the event yesterday at the Maxton Strong School, here are a few pictures. So happy that a few of our engineers from EMI in Delhi could attend, as well as our friends and angel investors, Manjul and Alka Saxena, who flew out from London. It was our honor to name the new wing in memory of the Saxena’s son Samartha (or Sam). Alka made a beautiful tribute speech to Sam recounting his generous spirit and his love of learning. May these qualities reverberate through the Samartha Saxena Memorial Wing for as long as it stands.

As this project comes to a smooth and triumphant conclusion, we just want to thank you all, from the smallest contributor to the largest…from Ruby and her $10 challenge, to Rich Pickering’s classroom penny collection…for every Facebook share and Twitter tweet…for all the encouragement from all across the world. Lives are being changed and will be changed for years to come thanks to all of us.