In 1989, John McCulloch, a middle-aged West Australian man went to India just to have a look. He ended up going back again and again. For ten years he worked as a volunteer for New Hope, an Indian humanitarian organisation, helping with leprosy and other poverty related concerns, including work with destitute and disadvantaged children. He fell in love with these Indian urchins.
On his tenth visit he faced two confrontations. Firstly, he was alerted to a little girl lying alone and desperately ill on a railway platform. He was able to have her taken to a hospital but she died anyway. Her lonely and friendless burial was a last heartbreak. He had seen so much suffering and experienced so much pain, that he gave up, vowing to go home and never return to India.
He was on the train on his way to catch his plane home when he experienced his second confrontation. One of the many young children crawling around the floors of the railway carriages cleaning and begging knelt by his feet, looking up at him with imploringly huge eyes. They gazed at each other and to John this youngster symbolised all the kids he had seen, hungry and unloved.
John says, “I suddenly lost my appetite and gave him my lunch. It was a humbling, spiritual experience”.
In 1998 John and a dedicated group of his friends incorporated an organisation called The Platform Kids of India Inc. Most of the money raised to start it off was from people in the South West. A membership body was recruited and today numbers about 200.
John’s dream was to have a headquarters in India, with many small houses rented, and housing up to 6 or 8 children each with a housemother and living as a family. The housemother herself would be a disadvantaged person, such as a divorcee who, in India, would often be disowned by her family
The first part of the dream has been achieved. With money raised in Western Australia, a property has been purchased and invested in the Platform Children’s Society in India. This society has been registered in India and has an Indian board who oversees the work. The property is situated in a Christian village near Kantakapalli, 30km from the large city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. On your maps you will find it on the East coast of India about half way between Madras (Chennai) and Calcutta (Kolkata).
For more information about the program we support in India, go to Activities in India.