St. Thomas Orthodox Church Unruh Avenue Philadelphia, PA Collaborates with ICON to build Aishwarya Home in Idukki

One of the charity projects ICON has been spearheading is the building of low-cost houses (Aishwarya Home), for the very needy families in Idukki. During the last four years, working with Grace Charities of Idukki Diocese, ICON successfully funded the building of houses for four families in Idukki, through small donations from ICON members and well-wishers. Recently, St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church - 1009 Unruh Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19111 evaluated the work ICON has been doing in Idukki, and graciously volunteered to sponsor one house for one very deserving family. Within a couple of months, through volunteer contributions, the parish raised enough money to adopt two houses this year. The sponsored amount for the first house was handed over to ICON in a brief ceremony held at St. Thomas Church in Philadelphia on Sunday, September 22, 2013.

After a blessed Holy Qurbana, amidst a gathering of about 600 people, Rev. Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, the vicar of the parish and an early supporter of ICON, introduced Dr. Raju Varghese from Baltimore and Mathew Samuel from Albany as delegates of ICON to the parish. Achen spoke about his association with ICON since its inception 12 years ago, and pointed out that Rev. Fr. Geevarghese John, Asst. Vicar and several members of the parish are active members of ICON. The Secretary of the parish Mr. Philip Varghese who had been the face of the Aishwarya Home drive in the parish spoke of the home building project and how they had worked together to raise the amount needed to build the Aishwarya Home. Dr. Raju Varghese who is one of the strongest supporters of ICON Charities spoke on the occasion giving a brief about ICON’s Charity projects and the importance of Christian giving in response to the love of Christ. Mathew Samuel used a small presentation in PowerPoint to touch upon the journey of ICON Charities thus far, and thanked the parish, the Managing Committee, the Hon. Trustee, the Hon. Secretary and everyone involved for making the dream come true for building a home for a poor family via the Aishwarya home project. He acknowledged that this was the first time in the history of ICON Charities that a Parish of the Church had become involved in such a large scale, and expressed his gratitude on behalf of ICON for their kind gesture.

Idukki Diocese has selected Mr. Benny Thomas (a member of our St. Mary’s Ayyapankovil parish) as the beneficiary for the 5th Aishwarya Home and the work has already started by Grace under the leadership of Fr. KT Jacob (Sabha Managing Committee member & the moving spirit behind all the good works happening thorough ICON for Idukki).  

St. Thomas Church has been a pioneer in collaborating with ICON on many charity projects including ‘Give Sight’ (free cataract surgery for poor patients), Educational scholarships, Emergency Relief Aid etc. The Church is in the process of sponsoring its second home in Idukki later this year. The success of this collaboration is a strong proof that it will not be difficult for any parish to sponsor the building of a low-cost house for a poor family. ICON expresses its gratitude to the Vicars, Managing Committee members and the laity of St. Thomas Church for its commendable support to the building of the house.

ICON Charities focuses on identifying the families that are struggling financially, and then pass this information to individuals and organizations, and try to raise money through voluntary contributions. ICON ensures that full donation is applied to the beneficiary without any overhead cost. All donations are tax-exempted in the US. If you like to find out more on how individuals and parishes can sponsor a low-cost house in Idukki, please send an email to, or visit our website.

This will be our fifth "Aishwarya Home". See the progress of this house below.

Tags: Charity

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