Students score funds for orphanage

Julie Torres

Five young boys share a home. They are fed, clothed and otherwise provided for, physically and emotionally, by two women specially trained as “mothers.” With the aid of volunteers, teachers and mentors, these children, just a few of the estimated 100,000 orphans living in Kashmir today, can grow to adulthood as part of a solid family unit. This is the goal of a non-profifit organization called Chinar, which stands for Child Nurture and Relief.

Located in the capital city of Kashmir, Chinar was formed to alleviate the devastating effects of the war in Kashmir. Because so many children are left without parents and a home, many are forced into child labor, crime and even prostitution. Chinar accepts these orphans, regardless of race, religion, culture and gender.

Chinar is not a typical orphanage. Five children currently live in the house established by the organization house under the supervision of two single or divorced women. With much needed funds, Chinar hopes to increase that number to ten children per house. Chinar provides these orphans with a family, an education, medical care and psychological rehabilitation.

Villanova’s Muslim Students Association has made it their ongoing mission to raise money for Chinar since fall of 2004. They are holding their first annual Chinar Basketball Tournament on Saturday, April 9th at 9:30 a.m.

The registration fee for a team comprised of three players is set at $10. All proceeds will benefit will benefit the children of Chinar orphanage.

Students who wish to participate can register before the event at the Office of Student Development in Dougherty. Walk-in registration will also be available prior to the commencement of the game on Saturday at Sheehan Courts.

“The Indian government only provides $1.50 to each orphan in Kashmir, and we want to give as much to these children without a mother or a father,” said senior Waleed Shah. “My uncle is one of the board members of Chinar and we wanted to support an organization we knew we could trust and know 100 percent how the money would be spent.

Participants in the tournament will receive refreshments. Prizes include a basketball from Wayne Sporting Goods, coupons to used at dinning services locations at Connelly Center, a free haircut at the barbershop in Dougherty, food from Wingers and Campus Corner and a $20 gift certificate for Reel Divine rentals.

“So far, thanks to our Villanova community, we have raised over $500,” said Safeer Bhatti, president of the Muslim Students Organization. “We are sure that these funds will reach the smiles of these children.”