More than just a roof over their heads

Ivoclar Vivadent supports a social project in South India which provides a home for children who are alone in the world and do not have any future prospects.

Once a year travellers at Zurich Airport will see a curious sight: two women pushing trolleys with luggage weighing up to 100 kilograms to the check-in counters. Their bags contain children’s clothing in different sizes as well as games, balls and six kilograms of chocolate! Their destination: the Children’s Home in Madarapakkam, a small village in South India.

Elisabeth Frommelt and Kirsten Stenzel Mauer are both teachers. But this is not all they have in common. They also share an untiring commitment to the non-profit organization “New Life Children’s Home”. The goal of the charity is to provide Indian children of the most impoverished backgrounds with a good home and future prospects.

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These two dedicated women help finance this project by organizing fund-raising events. The long annual trips to South India and the subsequent 70-kilometre drive by car to the children’s home have become routine for them. In 2018, Kirsten Stenzel Maurer travelled to Madarapakkam for the fourteenth time. Elisabeth Frommelt has visited the village nine times. Nothing is routine when they arrive at the village. They are met by a colourful crowd of children who greets them cheerfully. There are old and new faces including that of the headmaster G.D.Y. Edwin who is ready to show his guests all the progress that has been made on the premises and the home’s own rice field since the last visit.Together with the two women he plans the program for the next few days. Elisabeth Frommelt and Kirsten Stenzel Mauer have not come here for a holiday. They are eager to work on important projects and make essential purchases.

Edwin knows that the two women are exacting: They will only pay for the jobs completed and the purchases and repairs made during their stay. A few years ago, when some windows were not delivered on time, no money for them was received. As a result, there is no time to lose right now. The shopping list is long: fabric for school uniforms, various building supplies, a washing machine, etc. Three years ago, a major investment was made: A water pump for the rice field was purchased, which has paid off in the meantime. Most of the home’s annual rice requirements can now be met provided the harvest is good.

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The two teachers are particularly touched by their meetings and experiences with the children and adolescents of the home. They have been able to finance the vocational training of several pupils. Rajakumari, for example, now works as a secondary school teacher at a Don Bosco school. Dani, the first child of the Children’s Home which Kirsten Stenzel Mauer met in 2005 is now 16 years old and training as a mechanic. Ranjini is training to become a tailor.

Even though the days are hot, strenuous and full of appointments and other assignments, Elisabeth Frommelt and Kirsten Stenzel Mauer are always sad to leave this place. Nevertheless, they will depart from Madarapakkam with the knowledge that they will return in the coming year with fully packed bags and the backing of Ivoclar Vivadent.

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