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The Udavum Karangal foundation in India fights for vulnerable groups in society. This includes psychiatric patients and disabled persons that need help to become part of their family, village or surroundings again. Dutch Plantin has happily supported this initiative since 2016. Our most recent donation is used for the construction and furnishing of a new school, right beside the Udavum Karangal hospital.

First stone
The new school, the Jeevan Community College, will have eight large and four smaller classrooms on the first floor. The ground floor has space for a laboratory, a multifunctional room including a library, a canteen, auditorium and various several spaces. And the work has started already: in late April 2021, the first stone was laid by Steven Vidvaakar of the Udavum Karangal Foundation. Thanks to a priest who performed a ritual, the Bhoomi Pooja, this was an exceptional moment.

Ritual for prosperity and good fortune
The Bhoomi Pooja ritual was performed to honour the goddess Bhoomi (Mother Earth) and Vastu Purusha (God of architecture), to purify the soil and to bring prosperity and good fortune. Moreover, the Vedic knowledge of Vastu Shastra was applied to determine the correct placement of the buildings, in the north-eastern corner of the construction site. After that, rituals ensured the balance between the five elements of nature: water, fire, earth, air and space.

Fruit, flowers, incense and a matchbox
In accordance with the ritual, Steven Vidyakaar sat in a pit dug in the construction site, facing the northeast. Various religious idols, including those of Ganesha and Lakshmi, were placed on a dais, and a coconut was covered with a red cloth. After the ritual, five lemons were flattened, one in each corner of the site, and one in its centre. On top of that, turmeric powder, camphor, sandalwood powder, incense sticks, fruit, flowers, dates, oil, a long, white cloth, a matchbox, a lamp and cotton wicks were all used in the ritual. Afterwards, Steven laid the first stone. A wonderful ritual for an equally wonderful initiative. This school is sure to be a success!