ASIA/INDIA- “Children’s Village” in New Delhi in memory of Archbishop Alan De Lastic, champion of religious freedom in India

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

New Delhi (Fides Service) - In memory of Archbishop Alan De Lastic, a champion of religious freedom, a secular state and respect for rights of minority groups rights, the archdiocese of Delhi has opened a Memorial Children’s Village which will take care of orphans and street children. Mgr De Lastic, killed in a care accident in Poland in 2000 had been archbishop of New Delhi since 1990. The Memorial Children’s Village is situated in Bhondsi, 40 km south of Delhi. “It is a large structure, a real children’s village and we will provide orphans, abandoned children and street children with all round assistance, education but above all tender loving care”, one of the Sisters who will be running the home told Fides.
The village was inaugurated by Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi who said he was “happy to see that the dream and plan of Mgr De Lastic fulfilled only a few years since his death. Addressing those present, a number of priests and many lay people, he said “the way to share with others God’s love for all humanity is to demonstrate it with concrete initiatives such as this one, taking care of children nobody wants”.
During the Mass of thanksgiving the Archbishop offered prayers for all the benefactors who helped bring the work to completion and he said that the Village will certainly become a point of reference for children’s care in the capital.
The phenomenon of street children in Asia is widespread. It is estimated that at least 40 million of Asia’s children live on the streets, India alone has 18 million abandoned children. According to UNICEF there are 65 million children in India who have never spent even on day at school. India has a population of one billion 35% illiterate.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/9/2004 lines 32 words 345)