The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 22, 2013

Geneva native asks area residents to give orphans a Christmas

For the Star Beacon

— Rocky Braat spent most of December helping two small, orphaned girls fight off fevers and chills. The girls, both orphans in a residence run by Braat in India, floated in and out of consciousness, their illnesses getting worse and worse.

Braat never gave up, often writing and calling home to Geneva to ask for prayers and support.

Now Braat, who works to help HIV-infected orphans find both joy and vocation, is asking for something special for all 96 children in his care — a Christmas to remember.

Braat, who was the subject of the Sundance Film Festival winning documentary “Blood Brother,” took to Facebook to find sponsors for each child and is now collecting funds to make their holidays even brighter and their futures a little more secure.

“I totally believe in the love and generosity of this community,” he said.

Braat is now hosting an online fundraising event at www.wemustsotheycan. This 501c3 accredited non-profit organization called LIGHT (Living to Inspire Global Healing Today) directly helps and supports the orphans’ needs in Chennai, India.

The website includes a donation page, Braat’s blog, and photos of life in the orphanages of India.

Donations can also be accepted directly at, including the opportunity to purchase an unedited journal of Braat’s journey.

To send gifts to the children for Christmas, visit and send the items to:

The Thennaraus Hope Worldwide Orphanage No. 4

Rajive Gandhi Nagar Edamalai patti pudur


Tamil Nadu



Each child in Braat’s two orphanages needs a U.S. sponsor. Sponsorship of a child costs $550 for the entire year and covers all their food, clothes, shelter, medical, and even their birthday gift and cake. Sponsorship can be paid at once or in monthly installments.

Churches, organizations, clubs and individuals can sponsor a child. Sponsors get regular updates, photos and cards. Sponsors can also call the orphanage and speak with their sponsored child.

“They have very limited English, but someone can translate for you,” Braat said.

Letters and cards can also be sent to Braat and the children at that address.

For more information on how to reach out to the orphans of Chennai, email

Right now Braat, a Geneva High School graduate, is still living in India with Nimmy, his wife of two years.