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I had heard about the Christel House in Bangalore, India but not until I attended a presentation recently at India Garden Restaurant did I really understand the enlightened concept, scope of the project, and its potential impact. This successful and unique program is committed to transformation and emotional empowerment for young lives caught in the web of poverty, failure, and with no-promise of decent future. To date, four Christel House Learning Centers located in India, Mexico, South Africa, and Venezuela, and the Christel House Academy in Indianapolis provide free education to over 2000 under-privileged children. Expansion will follow.

The imaginative and innovative orientation to education at these Centers embodies a "comprehensive holistic development" model aimed to enhance the inherent skills, talents, and cultural enrichment. Prepare children for self-sufficiency, responsible citizenship, and to be contributing members of society. The Learning Centers are well-integrated into civic infrastructure, higher educational institutions, health facilities, and businesses and strive for maximum optimization of rewards for the students, families, communities, and the world.


Christel House India, a co-educational and non-residential Learning Center is located in Kannur Village, a suburb of Bangalore Metropolitan area. Beginning with 320 students in 2001, the present student population of 635 students represents many faith traditions (57% Hindu; 34% Christian; 4% Muslim; 5% other) and served by 35 dedicated full-time teachers and competent administrative staff. Christel House India will grow to 1,040 students in the year 2010 when the first class of students will graduate.

The school day at Christel House India begins with the famous poem, "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; …" by India's poet-laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. The words, ideas, and inspiration in his universal anthem define the Center's cherished hope and all-embracing vision for humanity and a strong belief that such a dream must begin with our children.

Each year the school carefully selects, admits, and offers life-changing opportunities to 80 new children. All students come from under-privileged homes with a family monthly income of less than Rs. 2500. Most of the children live within a 15-kilometer radius of the educational facility.

The Center works closely with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Authority (for transporting children), St. John Medical College and M.S. Ramaiah Medical College (for regular medical check-ups and health services), Central Board of Secondary Education (for meeting educational standards and requirements), business and civic organizations (for job opportunities, and sponsorships for vocational trade skills), and parents (for volunteer support and day-to-day projects). Outreach Programs are an important part of Learning Center's community involvement to increase awareness in environmental, health and hygiene issues among parents and the community.

Christel Houses Learning Centers around the world emphasize four core values: Respect, Responsibility, Independence, and Integrity. The school management promise a total transparency and regular internal and external audits of their operation. To ensure the trust of the community and donors, the Learning Centers are run as a responsible business and with a lot of compassion, careful accountability, and impeccable integrity. The commitment and passion, "to care, to share, to make a difference" best defines the wisdom, farsightedness, and incredible generosity. The idea intrigues and challenges our spirit and emotions that we too can, and should, serve with our gifts.


The driving force behind this brilliant spirit-based (not faith-based) vision and noble humanitarian endeavor that "every child deserves an opportunity" is Christel DeHaan, a celebrated Indiana living legend. Christel is a successful business- woman, an international leader, philanthropist, humanitarian, and the founder of the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation located in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. She represents another proud and inspiring Indiana connection with the world through her personal commitment and philanthropic spirit.

Christel DeHaan's well-known philanthropy toward the arts, culture, education, international spirit, and humanity takes an extraordinary leap with her commitment to offer hope to children through the Christel House program. For more information and details about the Christel House Learning Centers, you can visit

Children are humanity's common trust and collective treasure. Making education an equal-opportunity birthright and a universal responsibility offers an unimagined and liberating promise for humanity.

Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA


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