Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome to Karen's Shalom Blog

Thanks for visiting my Shalom blogsite....    I'm in the process of redoing our website and blog so I haven't done any blog updates for awhile.  The plan is to relocate these blog posts into the "latest news" section of our Shalom Home India website.   In the meantime I've been posting updates via our facebook page.  So to catch up on what's been happening over at Shalom since December, go to

In the meantime you can scroll down through these posts and see what happened in 2013 and before.  To read older posts click OLDER POSTS when you get to the bottom of this page or select posts to read from the expandable blog archive list in the right hand column.  To receive regular updates via facebook, click here then like Shalom Home India on facebook. NB. You don't have to be signed up to facebook to simply view our facebook page.

Happy reading

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Aprons4action - creating a better future for the people of Erampatti

Next year we're planning to launch our first major fundraising appeal called aprons4action.  It will involve hundreds of aprons being sent out on a journey to share the story of what we're trying to do through our project and raise funds for education, sanitation, medical camps and small business loans to help the people of Erampatti Village.  The launch will be held at Bundaleer Rainforest Gardens in Brisbane on Sat 10 May 2014, and ladies in Tasmania, Brisbane and Melbourne have been busy sewing and collecting an amazing range of new and vintage aprons.  We still have much to organise, but we think its going to be a fun and unique fundraiser that will join people from many places in a circle of exchange that has at its centre the goal of creating a better future for the women and children of Erampatti Village.  For more details visit

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weekend visit by Russ Foundation

This weekend a group of girls and boys from one Russ Foundations Children's Homes came and spent the afternoon at Shalom.  It coincided with my birthday so they enjoyed birthday cake,  chicken biriyani for lunch and then played lots of games.  Everyone had a wonderful time and they're keen to do it again.  Russ foundation does fantastic work with families and children effected by HIV and are organising our first medical camp which will be held at Shalom in January A team of doctors and medical staff from Madurai, will give free health checks and medicines to people from the village and assess everyone for a range of diseases including TB, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The boys got early to take a photo and wish me happy birthday

Aunty Karen's birthday cake
Ps Daniel welcomes the visitors from Russ Foundation

Some of the crowd with Shammah House in the background
Enjoying a tasty lunch of chicken biriyani

Next time everyone will be able to sit at tables in the new dining hall

Sharing time

The older boys played volleyball while the rest played chasing games

Friday, December 6, 2013

Only one more room left to be sponsored

This week we received a cheque for sponsoring our 7th room in Shammah House.  This is very exciting and leaves only one room unsponsored - Shekinah, one of the guestrooms.  If you'd like to sponsor our last remaining room, please email   Room sponsorship costs $5,000AUD (tax deductible) and a plaque with your name will be hung outside the room.  We thank all those who jumped in to sponsor the different rooms in Shammah House.  What a generous and lasting legacy you are leaving for future generations.

Dining hall lintel work

Waterproofing work on the roof slab

The carpenter constructing cupboard doorframes

Monday, December 2, 2013

Money for new school toilets

A big congratulations and thanks to the students of Payne Road State School for their fantastic efforts in raising $5000 to construct new toilets at Erampatti Village School.  The school sold novelty toilet paper and iceblocks, held sausage sizzles, had free dress days and collected money in a large toilet to reach this figure.  Work will start early next year with the builders and village families working together to build the new toilets.  We look forward to posting photo updates once the work starts.  New toilets will improve hygiene at the school and help reduce absenteeism amongst teenage girls.

Erampatti Village School

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November construction update

This month the plumbers and electricians have been busy installing pipework and electrical lines inside Shammah House and the builders constructed shelves in the rooms, a large water tank on the roof and started work on the septic tank.  The foundations of the kitchen dining hall were filled and the kitchen and dining hall walls are starting to take shape.

The boys help with filling and compacting the foundations of the dining hall

Roof top water tank

Bricking in the septic tank

Shelves inside one of the sleeping rooms - will be rendered and doors added

Recessing pipes in one of the bathrooms

Each rock in the dining hall walls is cut and shaped by hand

Running pipelines down from the roof top tank and solar hot water system.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

First boys completing trade courses

We'd like to congratulate Sundar, who completed his Motor Mechanics course in September and is now employed as a junior mechanic with a local car dealership.  Sundar came to Shalom when he was 12 years old, and is the first of our boys to gain a trade qualification and get a job.  Christopher and David have also completed the classroom components of their electrician's courses and are doing 3 month work placements which we hope will lead to permanent job offers.   We're very proud of all three boys who worked very hard to achieve such wonderful results.

Sundar excelled in his Motor Mechanic's course

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October building work adding decorative details

This month the builders have been busy adding tiles and rockwork to the front elevation of the building.  Further work has also been done on the foundations of the kitchen and dining hall.  With its large windows and extensive use of rockwork, Shammah House is very different to what's normally constructed in the area, so its attracting a lot of attention with passersby and people from the village often dropping in to have a look. 

The front elevation with tiles and rockwork added
A close-up of the rockwork on the guestroom walls.
Some of the undercoated has also been completed
The kitchen and dining hall will incorporate a lot of rockwork

The kitchen on left - dining hall on right

Monday, September 30, 2013

September Building Progress

The guestroom walls have now been completed and the top floor roof slab poured.  The top floor area is much smaller than the ground floor,  so this time the slab was completed in a couple of hours, rather than taking all day. The ground floor window and door frames were assembled onsite by a team of carpenters and installed so the renderers could start work on the interiors.  Some sections have been left unrendered so decorative panels can be added at a later stage.

The pulley system used to lift the concrete up to the roof.

Pouring the roof slab of the upper floor guestrooms

Carpenters assembling the window frames

The downstairs sleeping rooms with render and window and door frames

Adding render and decorative features to the front elevation of Shammah House

Monday, September 16, 2013

Jireh Bazaar

What an incredible response we had to this year's KBC Kid's Church fundraiser for Shalom.  This year their goal was to raise funds to help buy furniture and equipment for Shammah House and clothes, hygiene products and educational supplies for the girls and widows who'll be living there.  They set up an Indian bazaar with tables stocked with mini replicas and pictures of everything that was needed, including paddlepop stick furniture, paper doll clothes, mini mattresses and blankets and even solar panels for the roof.  Everyone had a fantastic time shopping, choosing the items they wanted to help fund, they then dropped their purchases off at the Shammah House model.   It was an amazing day and we were overwhelmed by the response and generosity of those who came along.  With nearly $30,000 raised on the day, we'd like to pass on our thanks to the kids and leaders from KBC Kid's church, those who helped make the furniture and stock for the stores and all the wonderful shoppers who gave so generously.

One of the beds complete with mattress, sheet, blanket and towel

A poster advertising Jireh Bazaar

Little girls tucked into beds beside the Shammah House model

Early in the day Shammah House is already getting swamped with donated items.

A desk and chair for the office

There were plenty of tables and chairs to fill the new dining hall

People enjoyed dressing the paper doll girls in their new clothes

Chudidahs for sale - traditional indian clothes for special occasions

Shopping at Garments of Praise clothing store

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Top floor of Shammah House takes shape

With the roof slab cured, August saw lots of activity taking place on the top floor of Shammah House.  The builders set to the task of constructing the parapet walls, stairs to the upper levels and walls of the upperfloor guestrooms.  Work also started on the foundations of the kitchen/ dining hall and rendering of exterior walls.  Shammah House is really taking shape now.

A view of Shammah House and the boys building

Looking towards the boys building from Shammah House

Israel climbing the stairs the the guestroom level

Working on the walls of the guestrooms

Shammah House with the foundations of the kitchen dining hall to the right

Work begins on rendering the exterior walls.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Loose change for new loos

This term, Payne Road State School are raising funds to help us construct new toilets at Erampatti Village School.  Earlier in the term they had a special day where everyone recorded how many times they used the toilets at school and it added up to more than 500 visits to the toilet in one day.  Then they discussed what it would be like and how it would impact their health and playground, if like Erampatti School, they had no toilets and had to use the open fields.  For the next 3 weeks they are collecting loose change for new loos in a full-scale toilet money box specially modified by one of the Dads. A special Indian themed family fun night, and a uniform free day are planned for later in the term.  On election day they'll be selling novelty toilet paper at the school and the giant toilet money box will also make an appearance.  A big thank you to the school and Chris Bullock and her chapliancy team for all their efforts.

Collecting loose change for loos at Payne Road State School in Brisbane

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

5 rooms in Shammah House now sponsored

We now have 5 of our rooms in Shammah House sponsored.  A big thank you to the families and businesses who've come on board to generously provide the funds we need to finish and fit-out Asher, Rohi and Nishi (our 3 sleeping rooms), Rapha, (the infirmary/counselling room) and Alizah (the playroom).  With only 3 rooms left to sponsor now, Jireh (the office) and Shekinah and Eliel (our 2 guestrooms) we're getting closer to having enough funds to complete Shammah House, which is very exciting.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Roof Slab Poured

Yesterday was roof slab pouring day at Shammah House.As you can see from the photos a lot of work has been done since my last post about the building work.  It was a busy day with more than 60 men working from 8.00 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening.  We went through hundreds of bags of cement, truckloads of sand and gravel and lots of water.  At one stage the power went off and water had to be carted by hand from the irrigation tank.  The day went smoothly without any other dramas and just as they finished their thanksgiving prayers at the end of the day, light rain started to fall, perfect for damping down the slab. Exactly what they'd prayed for at the beginning of the day.  To see more Shammah House construction photos click here to go to our facebook page.

All the concrete was mixed on site.  No large concrete trucks here. 

A side view of Shammah House on roof slab day.

Pouring out a barrow of concrete ready for leveling off.

The workers enjoying lunch and a chance to rest in the shade

A view of Shammah House from the boy's building