PREMANANDA HISTORY

    Founder Father Jojaiah Chopparapu (1960-2008) was a dedicated Nellore Diocesan Catholic priest who set up Premananda Centre, the first campus being dedicated on 28 June 1998. For numerous years he rendered selfless assistance for the betterment of needy children, especially orphans, in the Catholic Nellore Diocese of Andhra Pradesh State, India. Father Jojaiah’s life-long commit was to end his last breath in service to unfortunate children as he always quoted Our Lord’s words (St. Mark’s Gospel: 13-14,16): “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of God. …And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.”

    Co-founder Hawaii Chaminade University Professor Jon James’s involvement in India goes back more than 26 years when he first attended a Taize International Meeting at Loyola College in Madras (the French Taize Community of Brothers sponsored this large 1988 Pilgrimage of Trust gathering in India). Horrified by the poverty and plight of so many people he saw, James came away convinced he had to do something: “You have to experience poverty with all your senses, seeing and smelling poverty, to believe its overwhelming immensity.” At the 1998 Taize Meeting, James met Nellore Diocesan seminarian Jojaiah, who later gave direction to his desire to help. After ordination, Father Jojaiah was given a second assignment as pastor of a Dornala parish with a small orphanage, and James raised money to equip it with needed bathroom facilities. When he visited India in 1994, Father Jojaiah asked James if he could join many others from Europe and UK, especially members of the Italian Don Pacifico Massi Onlus Association, to help build a large new orphanage in Ongole for the Nellore Diocese—and James quicly embraced the challenge. Father Jojaiah then designated James as a Co-founder, asking him to come annually to assist him with developing the orphanage.

    The first Premananda Centre was dedicated on 28 June 1998 with James and Italian Vilma Puinti from Rome in attendance (Vilma personally along with many of her friends raised a considerable sum which led to the Ongole Centre’s completion). Premananda then expanded—with the generous assistance of mostly Catholic donors from UK and Europe—to add a 10-acre Pallepalem farm Centre in 2005 and a third Centre in the Ramanagar section of Ongole in 2007 (Chris and Jane Hewson gave a huge sum to help build this latter Centre, and they , along with Jon James, were on hand for its dedication). 

    As of 2014, most of the girls reside at the original main Ongole campus while the Pallepalem farm complex houses most of the boys (except for the higher education students who live at their respective college hostels).

    As of November of 2013, the Ramanagar Centre accommodates Nellore Diocesan Infant Jesus Sisters who run a small nursery school for poor neighborhood children.

     

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