The village of Pannithittu was rebuilt by Project Hope through the generous funding from India Heritage Research Foundation, Rotary International and other generous donors from around the world.
The village, which ultimately included not only the 100 houses but also a school, community center, vocational training center, primary medical care center and computer center, was adopted by Project Hope in July 2005 and construction began in the middle of August.
In just under 4 months, the first batch of houses were completed and handed over to the villagers.
On December 13th, 2005, the first reconstructed village built by Project Hope in Pondicherry was officially inaugurated by the Hon. Lt. Governor of Pondicherry, the Hon. Governor of Tamil Nadu and the Hon. Governor of Uttranchal together with the founders and leaders of Project Hope, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi. The Chief minister of Pondicherry was also supposed to be present, but due to the tragic demise of his father, he could not make it, but he sent his best wishes and also a representative on his behalf.
The three Governors praised the work done by Project Hope, and the Honorable Governor of Uttranchal pledged Rs. 30 lakhs of assistance in phase II (school, community center, vocational training center, computer center, etc.).
World famous drummer Sivamani, devotee of Pujya Swamiji’s, also came and gave a divine musical concert for the village. Through the sound of music he filled the hearts and minds of the villagers with hope, faith and love.
Following the function, hot lunch was served to thousands of villagers.
The function was one truly blessed by God! The forecast for the 13th was heavy rain, and in fact it had rained on the 12th day and 12th night. Further, the entire way from Chennai to Pondicherry was raining on the 13th. However, in the small area of Pannithittu and its environs, the weather was clear and sunny, despite all predictions to the contrary. After the function concluded and after all of the villagers had finished their hot lunches, then the rains began and continued throughout the rest of the day!
While the 100 homes were inaugurated in December, Project Hope had pledged to do more for the villagers than just rebuild the houses which were destroyed in the tsunami. We also pledged to build an extension to their school, a community center, a vocational training center, a computer center and a medical clinic.
The bhoomi puja for these amenities took place on the 16 February by the hands of the Honorable Lt. Governor of Pondicherry with Pujya Swamiji. The bhoomi puja was also performed by Smt. Bellaben and Shri Yogeshbhai Patel of Tampa, Florida, USA who have been great, generous supporters of Project Hope’s work including sponsoring the construction of an orphanage and home for widowed/abandoned ladies with Dr. Kiranbhai Patel’s Patel Foundation of Tampa, Florida, USA.
Further, the divine event was attended by Drs. Naval and Nila Kant of Lewisburgh, Pennsylvania, USA who are one of the longest and staunchest supporters of Pujya Swamiji and IHRF in USA. Dr. Navalji is also vice-president of IHRF. Also in attendance were Shri Maheshbhai and Smt. Sarojben Patel of Kitchener, Canada. Smt. Sarojben Patel is the treasurer and secretary for IHRF-Canada.
After the bhoomi puja, we had a huge free lunch where hot lunch was served to all the villagers, and we also had a wide-scale distribution of living necessities for all villagers.