It began over 12 years ago with pipe cleaners given to the children for their first toys and hats knitted by the women at Weston's to help keep out the cold.

It began over 12 years ago with pipe cleaners given to the children for their first toys and hats knitted by the women at Weston's to help keep out the cold.

KIRF INDIA, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), founded by Diane Kirwin all those years ago has transformed parts of Bodhgaya, India because through Kirwin's and additional volunteer's efforts the organization has built a school, provides a nutrition program, installed eight wells, started a medical clinic, planted trees, and founded a sewing school where women learn the trade and are able to make a living with their skills. Kirwin has described the people of Bodhgaya as "the poorest of the poor."

Kirwin is 77 years old and surgeries prevented her from going to India this year.

"Fortunately, dedicated volunteer Denni Pearson, managed a visit which boosted everyone's morale. She was able to distribute much needed sweaters and to bring the school uniforms up to par," Kirwin said. "We are all grateful to Denni for working hard to provide uniforms for all students. These uniforms have given our students dignity which is heart warming to behold."

Kirwin said Pearson is one of five sisters from Australia, three of whom bring their husbands and children to India to support KIRF INDIA.

"Denni and her two sisters bring their entire families," Kirwin said. "Their husbands and kids play cricket and soccer with the children at the school. Their presence is a tremendous boost to the school's morale."

Kirwin said another boost for the school came recently when the Village Elder from a somewhat distant village asked for 10 of their children to attend the KIRF INDIA school.

"Most of these children had no education at all and could not even write their names. The kids will be brought to the school on a single rickshaw," Kirwin said. "We were able to aid this village by installing two wells and have kept in close touch with the people."

Kirwin says she is planning on returning to India this year.

"Thank you all for your support," Kirwin said. "I am looking forward to seeing the children again."

Donations are gratefully accepted. Checks should be make out to KIRF, and KIRF INDIA should be written in the memo area at the bottom left hand section of the check. Send donations to Diane Kirwin, 317 Merritt Ave. Mount Shasta, California, 96067. Kirwin can be contacted at home at 530-926-1441 or cell at 805-509-6859.

For more information on the Kirwin International Relief Foundation, visit the website at kirfindia.org.