To Indians, French author Dominique Lapierre is known better as the philanthropist who, after writing City of Joy in 1985, transformed the lives of thousands of underprivileged children and leprosy patients in West Bengal through his non-profit City of Joy Foundation.
The foundation, which runs 14 schools and rehabilitation centres for disabled children, four hospital boats and 652 drinking water wells in the Sunderbans, is now facing a financial crisis. So far, it has survived on the royalties from Lapierre’s book sales and contributions from European and American donors, but since the global economic slowdown, the donations have steadily reduced.
“Without financial support from Indian donors, the foundation may have to shut down some of its schools and hospitals,” said Lapierre, 80, who is in Mumbai this week to elicit support from city-based corporations and individuals for his foundation.
Lapierre is now working on India my Beloved, a book about all his experiences in India that he will release in April 2012.