Rising Star Outreach is located about 3 hours by car from Chennai, in Thottanaval Village. It is a residential K-12 school and home of the NGO which focuses on helping families affected by leprosy.
We stayed in the Elephant House. It had several guest rooms with restrooms, kitchen and a library surrounding a courtyard. The elephant statue is its namesake.
We stayed in the "Banana" guest room.
They had signs welcoming us to their campus.
This is the school yard.
There are about 470 students attending school and living here.
Becky Douglas--from Provo, Utah--lost her daughter, Amber to suicide. As Mrs. Douglas was going through her daughter's papers, she found that Amber had been corresponding with an orphanage in India and had been donating some if the money they were sending her for college to the orphanage. Mrs. Douglas decided to visit India. While here, she saw how many people were affected by leprosy and how it affects the whole family for generations. She decided to do something about it. Rising Star Corporation was formed in March 2002. They began with a rented home in April 2004 and opened the school with 27 children. In 2005 they purchased 13.5 acres of land in Thottanaval Village. Construction began in Oct 2006. The Amber Douglas School for Girls and the Bill and Dick Marriott School for Boys were completed in July 2007. The Marriott Foundation has been a major contributor from the beginning.
There is a walkway on campus with the names of noted contributors.
There was a celebration the days were were there. As we walked to the dining hall, we saw the children decorating the walkways, building corridors and flower beds.
The children sang and danced at the opening ceremony in the dining hall.
Taylor, a visiting dance instructor from Great Britain who was teaching at the school for two months, had taught many of the children several different dances that were performed at the celebration.
Elder Newton was asked to speak to the children.
They listened intently.
Then it was time to light oil wicks on a ceremonial pedestal of brass, surrounded by flowers and colored sand designs at the school entry atrium.
The children had prepared a science exhibition to show their knowledge of science, math and craft-making.
We saw demonstrations by children from grades 6 to 8...
and High School-age...
Dr. Susan Hilton--upper left here--was proud of her students.
All had unique demonstrations of science and math.
We quizzed them on their demonstrations and they all understood exactly what they had done and why.
These are students with excellent potential.
They all come from families affected by leprosy.
An Area Project was approved on 2 Dec 2016 to provide Rising Star Outreach with approximately one year's worth of topical medicines and bandages for them to distribute to people suffering with leprosy throughout India.
In addition, the project provides equipment and supplies for Rising Star to establish a Micro Cellular Rubber (MCR) shoe manufacturing unit so that they will be able to make the custom-fit shoes for leprosy patients at less cost than having to purchase them each time from a local cobbler.