BETTY Graver may have been born in England, and she might live in Australia, but the 86 year old’s heart will always be with a group of orphans in India.
For the past seven years, Ms Graver has been sending large donations to the Blessed Mother Teresa Home for Orphans in Adilabad eparchy, India, home to 75 orphaned children between the ages of three and 13.
The home was founded by Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament Father Joseph Kannatt before he was sent to his order’s new mission in Australia in 2012.
He was parish priest of St Patrick’s Church, Beenleigh, when he met Ms Graver, a parishioner who had already visited India several times with another Christian organisation.
Ms Graver was looking for a Catholic organisation to support in India, and Fr Kannatt had just the right match.
That was seven years and $30,000 ago.
Apart from being able to help what she described as “the poorest of the poor”, the children in the home are close to her heart for another personal reason – she herself was placed in an orphanage in her home country of England.
“In my young days, when I was an orphan, I had no one to help me,” Ms Graver said.
“Now that I’ve been there myself, I know how to help them.”
Ms Graver had been planning on visiting the orphanage in September with a fellow Beenleigh parishioner, but because of the aftermath of coronavirus lockdowns in India “that’s by the wayside now”.
“I was going to go to India this year, but if I don’t go this year, I’ll be too old for next year,” Ms Graver, who turns 87 in September, said.
It ends a remarkable 15 years of travel to India.
Ms Graver is now praying “desperately” for someone to take over her charity and continue sending funds to the MCBS priests in charge of the orphanage.
Ms Graver said the orphanage was looking to build a school for their residents, to ensure the children continued their education.
“A lot of people don’t realise when they leave the orphanage, they go back to their villages, they don’t get educated, they are mostly sent out to work,” Ms Graver said.
“I felt all the stuff the priest and teachers have taught at the schools will be all undone if they go straight back to the villages.
“I wanted to do something about their future education, to prepare them for the world.”
Ms Graver said whomever took over her charity must have a love for children.
Trips to India to visit the orphanage, of course, would be part of the job.
As Ms Graver looks towards handing over the charity, she has not quite finished giving the children some financial gains.
“I’ve made out my will, and any money that’s left in my account goes to them when I pass from this life,” Ms Graver said.
“That’d be my contribution towards their future education.”
Ms Graver said she was still taking donations for the home.
Donations can be made out to St Mother Teresa Home for Orphans and sent to B Graver, PO Box 2075, Beenleigh 4207.