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India Partners brings hope and support to a beleagured people

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[Brent Hample giving blankets]Courtesy Brent Hample '86
Brent Hample '86, founder and president of India Partners, hands out blankets and thongs to all of the 30 orphans at the Oprhans Faith Home in Machilipatnam, India, during his first visit in 1987.

This is my calling, to help the people of India," said Brent Hample '86. He is founder and president of India Partners, a Christian nonprofit organization that has helped build an orphanage, three schools, a 10-acre fishery and six village churches in and around Machilipatnam, a coastal town of 100,000 in southeast India.
      Hample, who is a finance manager at Hample Financial Services, a family owned-financing company, lives in Eugene, Ore., with his wife Monica (Smith) Hample '89, and runs India Partners in his spare time. They have two children, David, 3, and Rachel, 1.
      Why India? While attending PLU, Hample received newsletters from his congregation, Central Lutheran Church in Eugene. A particular article about the efforts of Rev. G. Parishudha Babu of India, who wanted to build an orphanage for street children, caught his attention and changed his life. Marietta O'Byrne, a longtime member of the same church, had been guiding local efforts to support Babu. O'Byrne introduced Babu to Central Lutheran, and the congregation organized funds to assist Babu with Orphans Faith Home.
      The congregation prayed for one of its members to visit India and become involved with the project. Hample learned of this and has since been there three times.
      "The people of India are so friendly and hospitable to visitors. It's hard not to fall in love with them," he said. "At the same time, they have so many needs, and most of them are living day to day for food and clothes. We want to become their friends and help them employ each other through economic projects."
      India Partners was recently given two private foundation grants and will use them for medical needs and village church projects. Near each church will be a self-sufficient agricultural project. $40,000 toward the $100,000 project has been raised so far.
      Hample credits PLU for his success with India Partners. "The classes, teachers and the entire PLU environment really nurtured me." In the past 13 years, Hample has helped India Partners grow from a single church's outreach to an agency with more than 100 orphan sponsors and a mailing list of 600. The church program continued until India Partners was incorporated in 1994 and granted tax-exempt status in 1995. India Partners is now managed by a committed volunteer board of directors from several Christian denominations. India Partners has been working with Rev. Babu in Andhra Pradesh and is now beginning to work in two other states: Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
      Being a Lute not only inspired Hample to visit India but he also gained support from longtime friend Rev. Rick Rouse '69, PLU's director of church relations.
      "Rick was very helpful in connecting me with his rotary club," said Hample. They raised a major donation to help fund the building of fish ponds so that the people could become self-sufficient and raise and sell their own fish."
      In addition to introducing India Partners to the Rotary International Club, Rouse and his family have been sponsoring a boy through India Partners for 10 years.
      "The boy that my family and I have been sponsoring wants to be a doctor, and we have made it possible for him to pursue his dream," said Rouse.
      India Partners is currently working on four schools for more than 600 disadvantaged children, free medical clinics for those who cannot afford health care and vocational training for the handicapped. India Partners is organizing a group of 10 people to visit project sites in India, Dec. 28, 1998 - Jan. 8, 1999.
      For further information, write to India Partners, P.O. Box 50721 Eugene, OR 97405, or call 541-683-0696. Send email to postmaster@indiapartners.org, or visit the web site at www.indiapartners.org.

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