The Foundation was established on July 17, 2005 by Anjali C. Das, Sanjay A. Das and David Q. Puckett (son in-law) at the fortieth wedding anniversary of their parents for four decades of an exceptional marriage filled with love, joy, devotion and compassion that has touched the lives of many people in India and the United States.
They are true “Adventurers,” reminiscent of the American Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock. Forty years ago, Man and Promilla traversed half-way around the world to a new world with no friends, family, or financial support. Importantly, however, they were filled with hope, optimism, hard work, and the sheer determination to forge a good life for themselves and their family. Little did they know that they would later exceed every expectation that they or anyone had for their lives.
The story begins in the late 19050’s, with a young man from India named Man Singh Das who was very poor, but exceptionally bright and hard working. He wanted a better life for himself and was determined not to live a life of poverty in the slums of India. He decided to apply to the top universities in America, a golden land of opportunity , which he had only dreamed about. He received a full scholarship to Princeton, which he did not realize was one of the most prestigious, ivy league academic institutions in this country. After working one year to scrape together money for boat passage from India to America, on August 31, 1959, he landed on the shores of his own Plymouth Rock-New York. However, his academic life did not end at Princeton. His illustrious academic accomplishment included three masters degrees and a Ph.D. in sociology from American universities, He also became an ordained United Methodist Minister.
Man has received numerous Mayors’ Awards from the city of Aurora for excellence in property improvement. The city has recognized that Man has singlehandedly transformed gang and drug infested areas into beautiful and safe commercial and residential properties. He is currently professor emeritus of Sociology at Northern Illinois University and founding pastor of South Asian United Methodist Church in Winfield, Illinois.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in India, there was a young woman named Promilla Cynthia Singh. She was the only daughter of a respectable middle-class family from Lucknow, She was a teacher and taught at various private boys and girls schools in the hill stations of North India. In 1964, Promilla received an offer of marriage from a stranger, the young man named Man who was in the United States. Even though she had only seen Man’s photo and never met him, she decided to accept the offer of marriage because she wanted to go to America. After completing twenty seven years of teaching in the Aurora School District–129, she has now retired. During her spare time she manages our two gas stations: Expressway Stop (CITGO) and Galena Express Plaza (Phillips 66). In addition, she is secretary –treasurer of four corporations: International Journals, Inc.; Fox River Hotel, Inc.; Expressway Stop, Inc.; and Galena Express Plaza, Inc.
Both Man and Promilla Das are huge proponents of helping underprivileged people in India and other third world countries. One of the self-appointed missions is the India Re-Connect Millennium project to raise much needed funds for orphans, schools and hospitals throughout India. They are trying to raise funds for much needed Ministry of transforming hopelessness into hope for the poorest of the poor children of India.
The Man Singh and Promilla Das Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt philanthropic trust under 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It files form 990-PF annually as required by the IRS. The trust administers individual charitable contributions and distributes grants to help support vulnerable children in Mission Boarding Schools. The Foundation provides room, board, tuition, books, clothes and spiritual nurture for the children who have been thrown away, abused, neglected and abandoned; children who come from poor families, from outcast families, from rural areas and slums too poor or too far away for a day school. In addition, the Foundation provides support for Community Outreach Ministries-Street children, orphanages, handicapped rehab training, blind, child laborers and sex workers, etc. The Foundation also provides support for renovation of deteriorating toilet facilities, classrooms, roofs, hostel and school buildings, parsonages, medical clinics in rural areas and the slums of India.
Vision of Our Faith Journey
The Foundation envisions in “Changing One Life at a Time” in the hopes of transforming hopelessness into hope for the poorest of the poor” children of India so they can experience amazing Grace and hope for a preferred future.
What is India Re-Connect?
The Methodist Church in India and the United Methodist church in America were bound together in a covenant relation for over a century. From William Butler’s 1856 arrival in India, through the mission and service of Clara Swain and Isabella Thoburn sent by the newly formed Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, to E. Stanley Jones, the story was of churches, hostels, orphanages, schools, hospitals, clinics, community centers, seminaries and religious publishing brining the Good News of Christ.
Rev. Dr. and Mrs. William Butler, Missionaries from America
But something happened in 1981. This wonderful relation was disconnected. It was a natural result of world-wide movement of churches in countries that were formerly colonies severing institutional ties –in this case creating the autonomous Methodist Church in India (MCI).
When Support from the connection ceased, the local churches of India became overburdened in their attempt to maintain institutions serving children. As a result, facilities deteriorated, equipment became obsolete, and educational programs were seriously compromised.
In 1992 Dr. Man Singh Das, a professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University and founding pastor of South Asian United Methodist Church, Winfield, Illinois, organized, India Volunteer Mission, for mission, educational and cross-cultural experiences for South Asian Immigrants which later developed into “India Re-Connect.” India Re-Connect, a visioning name was coined by Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, Resident Bishop of Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church when he and several others (including Dr. Man Singh Das) traveled to India in February 2000. Bishop Sprague’s heart was deeply touched on his mission trip enroute to Hisar, Haryana and he adopted India’s children as his own children.
Then in October 2000, more than a quarter century later, with the help, support and commitment of Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, India Re-Connect was born. With millennial challenge funds a renewed relationship of Northern Illinois Conference with the Methodist Church in India was begun. In 2003 a covenant with MCI Regional Conferences was established by the action of Northern Illinois Annual Conference.
The seeds of Ministry to the least, the lost, and youngest in India were planted and nurtured for a century and a half by Methodist Congregations in the United States. The Millennial Challenge Campaign of Northern Illinois Conference, the United Methodist Church ended at the end of the quadrennium (2000-2004). The India Re-Connect Committee of the Northern Illinois Conference also went out of the commission at the end of the quadrennium.
Then in 2008, India Re-Connect was adopted by the Man Singh and Promilla Das Foundation as a new missional phenomena called, India Re-Connect Mission. This new mission is attempting that children in India from the poor families, from out castes, from rural areas and slums, can experience amazing grace, freedom and “transformation of hopelessness into hope for the poorest of the poor.”
“The Miracle of The Loaves” (John 6:1-13)
A boy with 5 loaves and two little fish. More than 5,000 people were fed,
and twelve baskets were filled with leftovers!