Innocents Relief supports 34 centres in 12 countries.
Donations received by these centres are used to educate several children
CAM 01 Marist Education Centre. Pailin City, Pailin, Cambodia
Palin in the north west of Cambodia, has a population of 15,000. It has been a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge since the 1970s. In the mid 1970s, Cambodia was a war ravaged country filled with land mines, many of which still remain today. The leader of the country (Pol Pot) aimed to take the country back to a time before outside influences and create a pure Khmer society. He closed schools, hospitals, factories, banks and monasteries. Educated men and women were tortured and executed in the S21 torture camp and at the killing fields in the S21 torture camp. The country is still recovering from these horrors.
Three Marist Brothers work at this Centre; Brs Brian Kinsella (Australia) Francis Attah (Ghana) and Bermhard Tremmel (Germany). The Marist Brothers in Pailin are part of the congregation’s Ad Gentes project in Asia. This was initiated by Br Sean Sammon fms, the previous Superior General of the Marist Brothers.
The program at MEC House began on 6th June 2009. A house was rented where young children could learn English and computer literacy during their out-of-school hours. To provide security, two young men from the Catholic community were invited to live in the house. The Centre began with the purchase of 5 second-hand computers and a small number of locals learning English. There are now 100 students and 5 new computers have been purchased. Three young Khmer men have also been employed to help teach the computing classes and also some English, Sela, Sokkorn and Phally.
When the first Church Pastoral Centre was established, there were many requests for assistance and it was difficult to decide who to help and how to administer help. The children were obviously hungry, and initially some food was distributed near the kitchen. It was then decided to distribute a twice-weekly meal for the local children. This has now grown to 50 or 60 children receiving food every Tuesday and Thursday.
The Pastoral Centre is home to many things – the church, the Legion of Mary, the Saint Vincent de Paul group, English lessons, Computer lessons, a Library, a small farm, some resident students and the feeding program.
CAM 02 La Valla School. Prek Reang District, Kandal Province, Cambodia
LaValla has a staff of 126, including teachers, administrators, cooks, cleaners, drivers and grounds staff. It is one of the projects maintained by Marist Solidarity Cambodia, (MSC) and is, for the most of the young people being assisted by MSC, the entry point to the programme.
La Valla school provides educational services to enable children with physical disabilities to integrate into mainstream education. It is run by a Catholic Teaching Congregation of Brothers, Marist Mission Australia, and is based in the Prek Reang district of Kandal province, on the southern border of Phnom Penh city.
La Valla school works as a resource centre to prepare children from low income families to enable them to integrate into regular schools. About 70% of children are residents. Non-formal vocational training is given for those who are too old for regular education, or not able to reach standard academic programmes. The project is now under the leadership of the Cambodian executive director, and Australian Marist brothers are the project’s advisory board members.
In recent times the school has worried about its catering program, which provides as many as 400 meals per day. As costs steadily increase the school has become more worried about the quantity and nutritional value of these meals. A recent donation through Innocents Relief helped to redress the school’s concerns to some extent. The school began an “apple” program, where each child is provided with an apple once a week. (On every list the school reviewed, apples were on top of the nutritional list.)
IND 30 Vivekananda Nagar Ladies Club. Vivekananda Illam, Pondicherry, India
Running a Boys Home for orphans and destitute children aged from 5 to 16.
STAFF: Limited staff of part time teacher-cum-warden to supervise studies, discipline and routine work of the boys. A cook looks after the boys in their daily activities and a doctor visits the home twice a month. A Managing Committee which meets weekly takes care of the smooth functioning of the home
TYPE OF INSTITUTION: Boys Home. The home has children who do not have either parent, or only one parent. It caters for children aged between 5 to 15. Parents and relatives of these children visit them once a month, and children are allowed to go home on special occasions. Students from 1 to V are sent to Vivekanandha Nagar Government Primary School, and students from VI to X to Reddiarpalayam Goveernment High School.
In the evenings the children are given extra coaching. The home aims at the all-round development of the children, whilst concentrating on the children’s academic development. Some boys are interested in learning music, and arrangements have been made to appoint a music teacher.
The home is being run with the help of the Government, Innocents Relief, and other philanthropists.
In a letter the Centre wrote: “In the institution the children are doing well. Recently we celebrated “Deepavali” which means “The Festival of Lights”. During that occasion the children wore new clothes and enjoyed lighting harmless fire crackers. We also received lots of sweets from many donors.”
IND 59 Snehasadan Home for Homeless Children. Dimapur, Nagaland, India
MISSION: For homeless abandoned children regardless of creed.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
Established in 1962. The Centre has around 230 children scattered over 16 homes (11 for boys and five for girls), with a house mother for each. They try to have a family structure, so they all eat together, sleep together, and do their share of work. They sleep on the floor, but this is culturally acceptable. The children go outside the centre by bus or walking to school. There is also an AIDS palliative care home, an administration building, and two buildings for older juveniles. Two of the individual homes are near a main train station, and these homes target older children to bring them off the street. Most of the children speak English. Out of the 16 homes of Snedasadan, 6 cottages are run by ex-children who have graduated from the Centre, and are giving back their service.
Most of the children are on the street because they have run away from home. Some would like to blot out any memory of home, others choose to work, earn some money, and take something back home.
One of the houses for girls was razed to the ground to be rebuilt and set up again. The 2 contact centres at CST and Borivali are doing well. Children are trickling into Mumbai, and those who are lucky obtain admission in Snehasadan’s homes.
At Snehasadan, family tracing is given top priority regardless of cost. A lot of money is spent providing escorts, and contacting police to dispatch children to distant places, in the hope that someone is waiting to welcome the runaway child.
“About a month ago a social worker doing outreach on the streets of Mumbai asked how we hold the children in this institution. The ones he encountered prefer to beg, saying they earn more money on the road, and still have their freedom. They are not interested in going to school or sticking to an NGO and making a future for themselves.
My answer was – you feed the hunger – first the hunger for food, then the perennial hunger that we all have for love and acceptance. The children who come here are those brought by an outreach worker from our contact centre. They come freely and after the initial interview are placed with boys and girls of their own size and age. The child is given a bath, a locker, a set of clothes and a haircut, and freedom to cut lose and run away or settle down. There are no watchmen or fences. There are also initially fears and tensions and suspicion about our organisation. But within a week or ten days they settle down and are slowly integrated into the mainstream at Snehasadan.”
PNG 02 St Ignatius Secondary School. Aitape, Sandaun Province, PNG
St Ignatius Secondary School is a co-educational secondary school within the PNG Education system. It is conducted under the auspices of the Catholic Agency of the Diocese of Aitape. The Governing Body of the School is the Board of Governors which comprises about 20 members representing the Diocese, the community, the staff of the School and students of the School. Funds for the operation of the school come entirely from school fees paid by the students. The boarding fee is K1500 ($A600-700). The Diocese does not make any annual allocation to the school. The National and Provincial Governments from time to time claim that there will be school fees subsidies but these either are not budgeted for or never reach the school.
The challenges for the school are purchasing food for the students, transportation of food from Wewak to Aitape, purchase of text books, restocking the library, improving the standard of English through the use of graded readers, setting up the school farm, and provision of medical supplies, provision of sporting equipment, staff training towards localisation, and development of a Behavioural Management Policy for the school.
There are 600 boarding students, boys and girls. Teachers live on the campus and do boarding supervision. A day starts at 5.30am and ends at 10 at night. There is morning study from 6 to 6.30am, then chores followed by breakfast at 7am. Classes start at 7.45am, with five classes till lunch. Afternoon studies finish at 4pm, followed by work. Night study each evening is followed by lights out. Sometimes of a weekend the children see a DVD and occasionally there is a dance. On Sunday the students attend church.
Breakfast comprises a cup of tea and a bun which the girls have baked the afternoon before in drum ovens made from discarded 44 gallon drums. Spreads such as margarine or peanut butter don’t fit within budget constraints. Lunch, prepared by the School’s two cooks while the students are in class, consists of a boiled sweet potato with a few noodles for flavour. Dinner, prepared by the boys, is at 5.30pm and consists of rice, tinned fish and boiled greens.
More than 80% of parents are subsistence farmers – i.e. they grow in their gardens sufficient to feed their families. There is no industry and very little employment at Aitape. Students from educated families get an education, whilst those from uneducated families go back home and stay uneducated. It is difficult for students who are unable to pay school fees (sadly there is no source of income for the school except school fees). In April 2011 a letter was sent home to all parents indicating the amount of school fees owing. Each of those who could not pay simply came to the school and indicated that their father had told them it was not right for them to stay in school and eat food paid for by other students, so they withdrew. Regrettably, 43 students left during the year, many of whom were from villages devastated by a tsunami in 1998.
After a large donation sent by Innocents Relief from the parishioners of a local church, this letter was received from PNG 02. “….550 students benefited immediately to disadvantaged students to continue their education, from provision of essential medications to offset malaria and Tinea corporis (Grille or ringworm). The main features of malaria are fever and severe headaches, but in all 2012 the district hospital couldn’t supply asprin or paracetamol. There are two school medical clinics each day, which treat about 20 cases of malaria daily. Also, 3000 books were purchased for the school library, and provision of safe drinking water made for students and staff. (The supply of safe drinking water was extended, where necessary, to the wider community of Aitape.) The school farm is once again part of school activity. Nutritious aibika, cooking bananas, and bok choy are growing well. Pigs, chickens, ducks, goats and fish (tilapia) are all part of the developing livestock of the farm.”
SAF 01 St Theresa’s Children Home. Mayville, Durban, South Africa
St Theresa’s Children Home was established in 1925 by the Augustinian Catholic Religious Sisters to provide care for orphaned and vulnerable children, Since 1994 under a new democratic government, St Theresa’s Home had been an active participant in the transformation of the child and youth care system with emphasis on equality, children’s rights and responsibilities, as well as integrating children with their families of origin. The Home provides residential care for children up to the age of 18. Their aim is to provide as loving, caring environment in which the whole child can be nurtured, and in which the developmental needs of the children can be met in an appropriate and culturally sensitive manner by qualified and competent staff.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
The home provides services for a diverse group of children from all cultural groups including children with HIV and AIDS throughout the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. The vast majority of children come either from informal settlements or low cost housing neighbourhoods. Most of the children have learning difficulties that stem from their traumatic life experiences, limited educational support from parents in the early years, no preschool education, and movement from school to school. The National South African policy on integration and inclusion of all children within mainstream schooling has led to the phasing out of the special learning classes which has further disadvantaged the children. The teacher-learner ratio in the current school system is 1:45, with an end result that many of the centre’s learners do not have basic literacy and numeracy skills. This sense of poor academic performance has impacted negatively on their self-esteem leading to behavioral problems. To address this, a special education program has been introduced focusing on the basics of literacy and numeracy to ensure that children acquire the necessary skills to enhance reading and basic maths. Four educators with qualifications in special education are employed to help children with these learning difficulties. Some of the boys are learning to play musical instrument – viola, violin, flute and the double bass. They are taught by members of an orchestra, and attend concerns where they sometimes show off their talent. We also have a student from the University who comes on a weekly basis to teach a group of boys dancing.
St Theresa’s is a care centre which focuses on the boy child from 4 to 18 years. Of the 74 children, 61 are boys. The majority of boys come from single female headed families: their fathers have either died or disappeared. The Mentorship Programme for the Orphaned or Vulnerable boy child established by St Theresa’s aims to enlist the services of competent males to work with their boy children either full or part time, to help boys learn to be men – balanced people who are competent, kind, caring and playful. Each young person is taught basic life skills including cooking, laundry and home maintenance as well as management of homework and educational projects. Once they are 16 focus is placed on accessing work skills training so that they can survive when they leave St. Theresa’s. A number of the children and their parents have HIV/Aids. Children are taken to the local hospital for monthly checkups and medication.
Sponsorship from members is primarily used to pay the salary of the male mentor and child care worker who is central to this program.
Correspondence reads as follows: “This is just a little note to say a big thank you to every single one of you who contributed in some way to “making a difference” in the lives of our boys at St Therea’s Home. We appreciate every single donation big or small, because without your partnership we would not have survived thus far. Continue to do what you do, and know you will be blessed for your generosity.”
SAF 02 Nazareth House. Yeoville, Gauteng, South Africa
To provide a safe, loving home for orphaned and abandoned HIV+AIDS babies and young children. To provide medical treatment for HIV positive children. To provide support, encouragement, and try to unite HIV positive children with their families.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
For more than one hundred years, Nazareth House has been caring for the aged and orphans. For the past ten years, the HIV/Aids pandemic has added an entirely new dimension to the care undertaken by the House: care of the aged and frail is required, and care of the orphans is also being ministered to those “left out in the cold”. Nazareth children’s Home is registered with the Department of Health and Social Development as a care facility which caters for children and babies infected with HIV.
Nazareth House currently cares for 35 terminally ill children committed to the Home through the Courts. Social Workers, the Children’s Court and the South African police refer the abandoned/orphaned babies and children to Nazareth House. They endeavor to provide a safe and homely environment and provide all medical, nutritional and educational needs. The older children are encouraged to achieve their full potential. According to the Nazareth House registration certificate, the age retention is 10 years. When a child reaches the age of 10, a social worker prepares the child for transfer to other children’s homes independently managed but subsidised by the government. This is because Nazareth House does not have suitable accommodation for older children.
All children from 7 years upwards go out to the local primary school where they are well accepted. The little ones 3 years and upwards go the Crèche. Life for the children is pretty normal. However, children can develop illness and run high temperatures. This can be controlled by immediate medical treatment, together with plenty of TLC. Two women doctors come every week to examine and prescribe medicine for the children. Children can be referred to the hospital if needed. The Religious Sisters are entrusted with caring for the physical, psychological and social needs. They are proud of the fact that most of the children live long past their “medically expected lifespan” because of good nutrition, a healthy living environment, lots of TLC and 24 hour nursing care. The children are undemanding, unspoiled and their greatest need is love.
Nazareth House also runs an Outreach Program, and the following is an extract of a report by the Sister in charge.
“Visiting the flats and rat infested underground places, old unused garages and factory premises is very disheartening. We see so many people in dire circumstances, but have so little to offer. …Overcrowding, homelessness, malnutrition, poverty, rejection, no sense of belonging, depression. In short, economically, physically, emotionally and socially poor. In these circumstances, it is easy to believe how TB and AIDS are spread…”
To support the children and the Home a small subsidy is received from the government, which is totally inadequate. The main income is from fundraising. Recently, there has been success in getting sponsors for some of the children. There is the hope that sponsors will be obtained for all of them. Effective use of funds and facilities ensure the sustainability of projects that Nazareth House currently has underway, and those upon which they will embark in future.
SAF 03 Holy Family Centre. Ofcolaco, Limpopo, South Africa
To serve the homeless human casualties of Johannesburg.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
The Sisters concentrate on 4 vital areas of need: abandoned HIV+ babies and children, destitute, terminally ill AIDS adults, the financially burdened and destitute, the frail aged and mentally challenged, and community outreach.
Social workers, the Children’s Court and the South African police refer abandoned children and babies to the House. It is registered to care for 35 children up to the age of 10 years. 24 hour care is provided, as well as housing, nutritious food, clothing, education, specialised nursing and medication.
During 2007 a skills training Centre was built, which has eight computers and eight sewing machines. The skills taught are put to good use by the children. The Centre teaches a professionally graded computer course for all the children which leads to a certificate in proficiency.
A letter from the Centre in reads as follows: “Usually the allocation of 70 beds for the children is fully occupied. However, in December, 20 children left at the end of the school term. This was in keeping with the goal to reunite children with their families. With fewer children, the older dormitories were renovated, and each room now has built-in cupboards for the children’s clothing, allowing the Centre to do away with plastic boxes at the end of each bed. Also a back door was added in each room as an emergency exit. With bright curtains, African animal wall pictures, and a bright stuffed toy on each bed the rooms looks very attractive. We also completed another section of the covered walkway which is a blessing in hot or wet weather.
Our staff of 26 females and 4 males is currently undergoing a refresher Training Program through ChoiCE Trust, Tzaneen, The topics cover safe water and sanitation, personal health, illness, stigma, TB, HIV and Aids, hygiene, compliance with medication and follow-up, caring for children, kitchen care, public health, and fire emergency drill.”
PER 01 Padres de San Columbano. Apartado, Lima, Peru
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
There are currently over 400 very needy children from early intervention/stimulation to a post graduate club for ex students. There is a section for children who are both deaf and special. There are 70 staff members, and most of these are superbly dedicated. The Director is from a former parish where he worked in youth ministry. He has degrees in Law and Psychology, and is completing a Masters in Special Needs Education and a second one in Administration.
Early intervention begins as soon as possible, as soon as the parents become aware of and accept the condition of their child. The graduate club is a recent innovation. Many when they leave the school regress to former ways of behaviour, and the regular contact with trained teachers and peers helps keep their growth moving. It is also a great support to the families.
The money received helps run the school for special children with which the Columbans are directly involved. It provides a wonderful service to some of the most needy of the poor. In a poor country where the lowest paid professionals are teachers and nurses, you can appreciate how much support is given to the special needs of children and their families.
2011: There have been many changes over the last two years. The Ministry of Education introduced a general plan to incorporate marginally handicapped children into the mainstream of society. This means the more capable students are no longer studying in Manuel Duarto. Hence most of the more able bodied teachers are also outside the school grounds supporting these students and their teachers, who in the main are not trained to respond to special needs kids. There are 302 kids currently participating in ‘normal’ schools around the area, with 33 teachers supporting them. In the school itself there are 36 infants in ‘early intervention’, 66 in ‘initial’, 107 in primary (which includes 26 aged from 11 to 17), and 34 in the ‘over 18’ club. There are 32 teachers full-time in the school. The government pays the teachers and the Centre pays the administration, caretaker, maintenance and improvements. There is a plan afoot to acquire two small buses to help mobilise the more severe cases.
One of the effects of all this is the classes are now much smaller, as the more needy require greater attention. Also, the atmosphere of the school has changed from being full of laughter to a much more heavy, serious, and somewhat less rewarding atmosphere as there is less response and less progress. This means the vocation of the teachers is tested to the full. Also, the need for the senior teachers to handle the more severely handicapped kids is often too much.
There is still a lot of learning to be done at all levels. There has been a very good response from many parents who give time and strength to the daily tasks in the school. The school is now like a small village rather than an institution, and the infrastructure is constantly being improved thanks to people such as Innocents Relief.
Thanks to an administrative effort, all students now have their national identity card, and the majority have their disability card. In this country documentation is a nightmare, but it is so important for whatever services a student might require. The school also has a specially adapted bus which operates at both ends of the day. It was made available mainly with Aussie support.
Last year there were 313 students in the school, and 310 attached to the school but placed in 36 “normal” schools around the area. Early in the year some 30 children had to return to Duarto because they were unable to fit into the “normal” school to which they had been assigned. 27 students over the age of 18 participate in “The Club” four afternoons a week. 649 families received accompaniment, support and encouragement at different times and in different ways. A special group is the deaf students, of whom 33 attend the school, and 33 ‘normal’ schools.
Of the 313 at the school, 56 have Cerebral Paralysis and won’t make it to primary. We continue to plead for more specialized staff, hoping the government might assume more of its responsibilities in this area. More families are participating in the school with their children, to prepare to continue at home what has been received at school. Another change is the emphasis (together with parents) on mapping out the steps in the lives of these special kids, principally those over 18 who, by law, must leave the school. This means there is a small but significant shift from the ‘educational’ to the ‘social’
The school’s website is: www.manuelduarto.org
PER 02 Fe y Alegria. Apartado, Lima, Peru
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
Fe y Alegria is a combined elementary and secondary school with a total of 1575 students. They are located in a very poor, dry, barren area on the outskirts of the capital, home to eight million Peruvians. It is a free school with teachers supplied by the Ministry of Education. Due to a shortage of school buildings for the immense youth population, there are two shifts a day, which is hard on school furniture, and the Headmaster and Vice-Headmaster who must be on duty for both shifts. First shift is from 8am to 1pm, and the second from 1.20pm to 6.20pm.
The school offers carpentry, electricity/electronics, tailoring and secretarial/administrative training. These shops offer a good basic instruction to all the students in secondary (7th Gr to 11th Gr). However, it is financially very difficult to maintain the equipment and obtain new up-to-date equipment so that students can train on the types of machinery they will use in the workplace. During the Peruvian summer (January and February), the centre tested a sports and cultural activities program which was very successful. Since the commencement of the school year in March, a successful Saturday morning program has also been offered. Soccer, volleyball, basketball, karate and chess are offered in the sports area, and drawing, theatre, public speaking, music and native dance in the cultural area. Also, official soccer and volleyball school teams are presented in interscholastic games.
The following information was received from this Centre:
“Drugs are the new evil running free in this part of the world. Peru produces abundant cocaine and in the past it was basically smuggled and sold in foreign markets. Now with more control and effective action in customs controls at the borders, cocaine is gaining local markets and young people are the most vulnerable segment of society ready to consume it. In dealing with drug-addicted teens, we have learned that the most important support the school can provide is keeping youth involved in sports and artistic activities. What we effectively do is make the school a vibrant hub where the young people work hard in their studies as well as enjoy fun, athletics and art.
We are also shocked by the growing number of pregnant teens, even if it is low compared to the national average. Lack of family support, poor emotional skills and media influence have opened the door to earlier sexual relationships. Girls pay the high cost of carrying babies, and at times give up their studies, at least during the last weeks of pregnancies. A few years ago the school began working with specialist nurses and gynecologists who visit the school, explaining the danger of early pregnancy and teaching the communication skills needed to sustain a non-destructive teen relationship. The practical cost and effort have been tremendous for the school.”
A letter dated 14.8.14 reads “Most of the Innocents Relief donation is helping our Nutritional Complement program named “Buen Gustio” (Good Taste). Every day 70 needy students are receiving a lunch which ensures enough protein, vitamins and carbohydrates. A Peruvian Christian Brother is in charge of the program. He analyses cases of families with TBC cases, low nutrition or fatherless homes. Children’s records of weight and size are taken, so the school may follow particular cases that need more attention. As in previous years, Peru is still struggling to fight against the new and more resistant tuberculosis type.”
TLE 01 St John Brito School. Liquica, Timor Leste
Liquica is a small town approximately 30 km west of the capital DILI. The town has a small population of approximately 2,000, but services the surrounding district of around 25,000 people. The people are very poor, and most are subsistence farmers (rice) or fishermen. The Timorese people live on approximately $2/3 a day, with over 40% of the population living below the official UN poverty level of $1.25/day.
The school is a local parish school with approximately 700 students, middle and upper school, which is probably equivalent to our upper primary/lower secondary education system. A lot of students walk from the mountains at the beginning of each week, and stay with relatives for a week if they are closer to Liquica. Others walk in daily. There are only seven classrooms, but the school day is split in half with “middle” attending in the morning and “upper” in the afternoon. Class sizes are 50-60 children.
The school is not funded by the government, although teachers receive half salary of $20 per week from the Government. Parents are asked to contribute to fees, but very few are able to. Teaching resources are virtually non-existent (blackboard, chalk etc. plus a small library of books). Each child has an exercise book (for all subjects) and a pencil. Most subjects are taught.
The state provides a bowl of rice per day per student. If children go to school, they are assured of receiving one decent meal per day.
Classrooms are besser block construction with tin roofs and until a Brisbane Catholic Church Companion’s Group became involved, were without windows and doors. This group also provided some desks and chairs.
Tetum is the native tongue and Portuguese the official language. All the young and progressive students want to learn English. Some English is taught at the school. Teachers are locals with various levels of training and education in subject areas.
An extract from an email received from this Centre on the 30.10.14 reads “..As you know in Maubara Innocents Relief helped to construct two new toilets for the students (one male, one female). These will be finished first week in November. I want to use money received from you in your October 14 draft for two tanks to provide water for these toilets, also books and pens for the students who walk 2 hours from the mountains to school, and are from poor families...”
UGA 01 St. Matia Mulumba Solidarity Fund. Kampala, Uganda
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
This institution has seven permanent staff and 10 volunteers.
Most of the children under care are in day section (not Boarding) because of the limited funding available. This is because of financial constraints since 2011, when the Centre lost its major funder due to old age. They have used the limited available funds to cater for most needs. This equates to USD 240 per child, per year. There are approximately sixty three families under care, with about seventy nine children on the education programme.
In Uganda, a child commences from Nursery to Primary to O level to A level, and then an institution or university. Some students leave after O level, and do vocational training. First grade students are advised to continue to O level, but others are advised to do vocational courses such as tailoring, catering, carpentry, building or motor mechanics etc.
In earlier years food was provided on a weekly basis, but because of the now limited funding, food is provided once a month and during the Christmas and Easter holidays.
The HIV positive receive treatment through partnerships with TASO Uganda. The Centre also does frequent monitoring, especially for members admitted in hospitals, to give financial and moral support.
The Centre wishes to procure its own vehicles (2 initially) to be used exclusively for monitoring the sick in hospitals, children in schools, and families in their homes. They also wish to build their own education institutions which will avail jobs to children who have successfully passed through the centre. They would like to establish a secondary school when funds are available, and to spread through other parts of Uganda.
MAL 01 Kindergarten Projects, Malawi
Sponsorship of individual children is available at these centres
IND 02 Mary Immaculate Convent. Cape Cormorin, Tamil Nadu, India
IND 02 Mary Immaculate Convent. Cape Cormorin, Tamil Nadu, India
Initially a primary school was started in the area. In 1959 it was upgraded to a middle school, and in 1997 to a high school. At present in Cape Comorin, there is a high school and a technical school. The people are very poor fishermen, who are unemployed when the sea does not allow them to fish. Cape Comorin is at the tip of India where the three seas come together, and it is often very rough.
The coastal people are mostly Christians, although there are Hindus living in nearby villages. The women earn something by selling shell work to the tourists during the three month tourist season. So these fisher folk struggle to make ends meet. Help is provided to them by the convent through donations of food and cloth, and the provision of a good education to the children.
For the uplifting of the poor. “In spite of the human progress and technological advancement, the Indian Society continues to be permeated by injustice, massive poverty, illiteracy, division, discrimination, exclusion and elimination based on caste, class, religion, gender and region……It is to these challenges, we ICM’s (Immaculate Convent of Mary nuns) with all people of goodwill are called to respond.”
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
The Centre is actually a convent/institution which was established by a congregation of nuns known as the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Convent is situated at Kanyakumari in the State of Tamil Nadu in southern India. The area is full of thorn bushes - more like desert.
IND 06 Infant Jesus Orphanage. Mulagumoodu, Tamil Nadu, India
Mission International Congregation was formed in 1897. It originally fostered orphans, but now assists needy children in their own home environment. The orphanage feels it is better for children to be kept with their families in their own surroundings. Homeless children are referred to existing orphanages of other sisters, since they are not admitting new children, due to change of their policy and the existing heavy workload.
There are High Schools and Training Centres for working women and poor girls, teaching them stitching (embroidery and lace work). This is only for the poor classes. There are also about 600 women who are provided with material. Their work is collected, and then sold to merchants and individuals. The women are then paid each month. Good workers receive up to 1000 a month. Others get enough for one meal a day. The men of the locality are mostly drunks, so it is the women who feed the families, so they are most grateful for the assistance they receive. For all the work carried out, educated girls are employed as teachers and clerks. Both women and girls are given an all-round education (moral, spiritual and literal).
A recent email from this Centre state: “I want to thank you on behalf of the beneficiaries for the help you have given. I distributed the funds during the Christmas season. They were so happy to receive it. They are all doing well and are putting their best efforts into their studies. Though they are poor, they have great ideals and hopes for the future. There is great progress and development here. The young people are interested in professional studies, and many are doing Engineering courses. Besides the orphaned children, there are some 22 mentally ill and physically handicapped women at this Centre which are given help where possible.”
IND 07 St. Vincent’s Home for Children. Adaikalapuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Aim is to provide education and training for poor children who have nobody to care for them.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
(1) Boarding facilities for poor and needy children, some of whom are orphans
(2) Education provided: primary and high school. (No Government assistance provided, so the Brothers are paying the salaries of teaching staff.)
(3) Approximately 125 children receiving education up to 10th year
(4) Age distribution of children: 5 to 13 years
(5) General background of children: There are two villages. All the people are Christian, and are very poor. They have to work from early in the morning until 6.00pm. Some have a small plot of land which they work Some small areas of agricultural land available, but crops depend on rainfall availability, and working hours are very long. Villagers have to walk 5 km to the bus which takes them to the nearest town. Because the area is very poor, the parents are unable to pay for their children’s education.
A recent letter from this Centre reads as follows: “I would like to thank you for your contributions. The money is used for food and treatment and education of the children. The children are from poor families. Their parents are daily wagers and they find it difficult to educate their children.”
IND 08 St Joseph’s Convent. Nagercoil, Kanyakumari, India
TYPE OF INSTITUTION
Children are educated from year one to year twelve.
The primary school has nearly 3000 students, and the secondary school around 4000 students. The school is the outstanding school in the area. Boarders who would otherwise receive no education come from surrounding villages. Many are unable to pay fees. There is some Government assistance, but this is less than 50%. Children helped through Innocents Relief are extremely poor, and need help with uniforms, stationery and other school equipment. As they don’t have decent clothes for feast days, help is given to provide the children with these. However, there are only two meals of rice a day, and boarders sleep on mattresses on the floor.
Some of the children become teachers, and go on to higher levels of study. The children are not supported after 18 years of age, as it is felt they are then able to look after themselves.
Most people work in agriculture and fishing, and the area is very poor.
There are also approximately 2300 widows (many young and uneducated) who are receiving support to help find employment. (On the whole, Indian widows [and consequently their children] are treated very badly. Once their husband dies they are thrown out to fend for themselves.) In an attempt to alleviate the problem, The Kaikal Women’s Self Confidence Program has been established. Through this program, different villages are visited, and the widows assisted to find self-supporting jobs. Money received from Innocents Relief for widows is spent only on education for the children, and is distributed according to the child’s level of study.
IND 09 St Vincent’s Balabhavan Orphanage. Thottakom, Kerala, India
The essential mission of the Centre is that of nurturing and training young orphaned and destitute boys from poor backgrounds.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
There are boarding facilities for up to 60 boys. There are 32 children at the institution, all of whom attend school. They study from grades IV to X. Most of the children are good students and are also good at sport. They achieve well at school. The school has developed a small farm house where they grow scampi, duck, rabbit, doves etc. The income from this is utilized for the welfare of the orphanage. Educational facilities have also been extended through the formation of a Carpentry Training Centre where those not scholastically inclined, or who prove ‘inadequate’ in college studies, are admitted. Those successfully completing the course receive certificates and a set of tools.
Activities: Boys have the opportunity to improve literacy and artistic talents through weekly programs of elocution, quiz, poem recitation, solo etc. Children are often sent for competitions outside, in school-district-state levels. The children have sports and games each day.
The Centre is situated on a hectare of land, on which they grow scampi and pearlspot. The land is selected by the government for promoting aquaculture, and is subsidised by the government. There is also a small dairy, piggery and poultry farm. Those children who are interested help in the unit.
These days almost all students are affected by Red Eye. (This is a sickness which affects the eyes. The eyes become reddish and there appears swelling. We find it difficult to open our eyes. It lasts for about a week”.
An email dated 21.3.15 reads as follows: “Everyone is doing well here. It is very hot and we are facing scarcity of drinking water. Now all of our children are attending their final exams. By today SSLC students’ exams are over and by the grace of God all of them are happy in their exams and they are waiting for a result. We cannot forget your valuable support and concern, and I thank you all. Indeed my heart is overwhelmed with joy.
IND 11 St. Roch’s Convent. Thiruvananthapuram, India
Named in sensitivity to the faith and devotion of the people of this area.
To educate the poor. To inculcate values of justice, human rights, dignity of person.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
Student Numbers: 2500 students
Boarding facilities: A residential centre has been built at Cheru Resmi, situated on the coast, where children from poor homes stay from 6pm to 8am. Dinner and breakfast is provided.
Educational levels offered: nursery school, primary school and high school in vernacular an English. Also, the Teachers’ Training Institute.
General background of children: Children come from fishing backgrounds. The area still has a caste system, and lack of education does not help people to see beyond the caste system.
Other activities of the Centre: There is also a centre for assistance to drug addicts, whilst another section helps those weakest in the community through education, teaching skills, taking up social issues, and education in tailoring, drawing, painting, music, dance etc.
Sr. Annie also teaches some very poor children from 6am to 7.30am stories, songs, proverbs, riddles, quizzes, conversation etc.
BACKGROUND TO THE AREA:
Each rainy season causes lots of difficulties for these people. Sea erosion uproots trees and many huts and many small houses are ruined. The Government then evacuates the people into schools or other places. Last year, the Centre had eighteen families in their auditorium for more than 6 months. The Government promised better housing for them, but has not done so as yet, and children cannot study well because of this. Alcohol is also a problem in this area.
The local women have been given help to develop themselves by regular meetings and financial help to develop new skills. Many young women are employed in the Technical Section 3 kms from St Roch’s, to embroider bedsheets, pillow cases, hankies, towels etc.
India has seen a number of attacks on Christians in Orissa, Gujarat and Karnataka. The high caste group cannot accept the fact that the poor are also gaining education and are made aware of human rights and legal rights through contact with Christian groups.
IND 16 Society of the Daughters of the Cross. Shraddja Moletam, Ankleshwar, India
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
185 girls boarding. These children attend classes ranging from grade 4 to grade 7. Each day the children have two hours of guided study, and as well, regular MRL tests are given to help them to evaluate themselves and study better. There are also 13 Balwadis (pre schools for 300 children). The Centre also offers medical help to 16 villages, and this is supported by health workers who receive regular in-service training at the centre. Sex education is given to children in years 6 and 7. Also, eight Mahila Mandals (Womens’ Groups formed for self-improvement and the empowerment of women) have been established and are working in the area. The Centre also keeps in touch with a group of young girls from six different villages. 65 new girls were admitted to both school and boarding school.
The number of children at the school is increasing, and a second division of gr V11 has been started. There are now two divisions for each class. All students are given coaching classes, but the weakest are given even more help. A sister in charge takes care of sick children, and sometimes they are also taken to the different hospitals at Ankleshwar.
Ten health workers are attending the needs of the villagers in ten villages. Every month they come to the centre for training. They are motivated and made aware to carry out the preventative and curative aspects of health in the villages.
There are 185 tribal girls studying from 4th to 7th std, from 32 villages of Ankleshwar mission and neighbouring villages. Also, work with the women in the villages is increasing, with women taking responsibility in forming self help groups in their villages.
The Centre advised that they inaugurated a new Training Centre for women and girls. The people of the mission appreciated their endeavour and co-operate with them. A group of girls has taken training in cutting and stitching and found jobs. Regular training programs for women are carried out. The children at Balwadis in the villages are getting good basic education which will help them get admission to primary school.
Our children come from the villages of Ankleshwar mission, whose parents are farmers, labourers in the fields, and factories. The children are deprived of education, health care facilities and food. They live in very poor conditions, with some parents finding it difficult to cater for their basic needs. Our sisters visit the families regularly. We admit the children in our boarding school and take care of their education and health. We are able to provide for their needs with the help of Innocents Relief. Many girls have now completed their education and found jobs.”
IND 19 Providence Convent. Ritapuram, Keezhmidalam, India
To promote cleanliness, health and hygiene as well as moral and human values among the children; to continue the mission of Jesus Christ.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
Boarding facilities are offered, and the educational levels offered are grades 1 to 12.
General background of children:
The Centre is concerned about small children affected by social, financial, cultural influences, and who also have irresponsible parents. These children are unable to study without help. Money received is utilised for educational purposes – fees, notebooks, stationery, medical care as well as assistance of older children to study at a tertiary level.
The people in Ritapura Village are poor farmers and coolie workers who are struggling to make their livelihood. Most people live below the poverty line.
A recent letter from the Centre states: “Every year, a number of children are enabled to study with the financial help received from you. Since these children are very poor, they are given help for clothing, education, medicine, and proper nutrition. Usually we select children who are gifted, but unable to study due to the extreme poverty of the family. We help the family also when they are in dire need of something. It is heartening to see the children progressing well, and on the way to self-reliance and a support to their families.
IND 41 Higher Secondary School for the Deaf. CHENNAI, India
To provide full time education free of charge, train teachers in the modern methods of educating the hearing impaired, and to integrate capable hearing impaired children into regular schools.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
Facilities available are home training and parent guidance programmes, audiology centre, early identification and early intervention centre, ear mould laboratory, hearing aid maintenance centre, computer section, typewriter centre, special English course after the completion of Std XII for Tamil Medium students, noon-meal programme, hostel for outstation students, and transport facilities by PTC and DATC.
Age of admission is between two and a half years and four years, and classes range from pre-kindergarten to std X11. Boys leave the school after the completion of std IV. Instruction is in either Tamil or English and students are instructed in speech-reading, auditory training, speech through conversation, reading and creative writing as well as the regular syllabus. The school follows the State Board Syllabus from Std 1 onward
Correspondence from this Centre reads: Our deaf students came first, second and third in their academic performance in Tamilnadu state level. On August 14th we celebrated our 84th annual sports day meet in our school campus. It was really a fantastic event. All our students participated in the sports and won prizes……..As our school is very old, we have to renovate the furniture and buildings as well. We are also trying at least to get 5 speech therapy trainers for the school. We have planned a raffle to raise funds, and are busy selling tickets to different school and companies.”
IND 45 Sisters of Nazareth and The House of Refuge. Paduapuram, Kerala, India
The Congregation’s main Apostolate is the well-being of the families. Aims are spiritual, mental, economic and social well-being of families.
TYPES OF INSTITUTIONS RUN BY THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH:
1. Orphanage where orphan children are raised. Children are aged from 5 to over 20 years. At present 80 children are in the Orphanage.
4. Home for old priests
5. Schools including a Home Science College and one press and one regular college
6. Two Adoption Centres for children of unmarried mothers
7. Family Counseling Centres staffed by two Master of Social Work degree holders.
8. Retreat Centre for all age groups.
9. Short Stay Home for women (especially unwed mothers) who leave their homes
10. Family Apostolate: Low-class people are helped to construct their houses. Marriage help is also given to poor girls. School children are provided with educational materials. Medical help is given to poor patients.
11. School facilities – schools are conducted in English and the local language.
12. Mental Hospitals: two mental hospitals are run by the Congregation.
13. Home for handicapped women and retired ladies.
Paduapuram is situated in a poor village. Many people are farmers, and the main cultivation is paddy and coconut. The acreages are very small, work is seasonal, and daily labour is the only opportunity for income. Many families, especially women, are in great difficulty because of those within the family living immoral lifestyles. Immoral women are rejected by their families and subsequently become helpless. They are then admitted and protected in the Centre’s Refuge Home, and their children are also cared for. Those women who want to lead a retired life or those who are disabled, are able to stay permanently free of charge. School children of poor broken families have a separate home. At present 40 children are staying here.
We also work in paddy fields, a rubber plantation, and a coconut grove and so earn our living as well as the living of those we take care of.
IND 46 St. Vincent’s Boy’s Home Orphanage. Muvattupuzha, Kerala, India
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
The centre is situated in Kerala, one of the southern states of India, in the lower part of the High Ranges. This place is known as Kaloor, and is 50 kilometers from Cochin, a rather big city in Kerala state. The people in the locality survive mostly through agriculture, and when it is dry, agriculture comes to an end. This means the people live in poverty, with no job, and no means of income. They depend on institutions such as St Vincent’s Boys’ Home for the education of their children.
In this institution there are orphans, a house for the mentally retarded, schools, a home for the imprisioned etc. The orphanage has fifty children from different parts of Kerala. There are four priests and brothers in our Centre.
Boys from the ages of 5 to 18 are admitted, and are educated from fourth to tenth standard. The boys wake early in the morning, then attend daily mass, study, breakfast, play , work etc. They are in bed by 9.30pm. They have pet animals including a cow, dog, pig, goat, rabbit and hens.
After their schooling is complete, boys return to their families. Some boys are assisted after they complete their schooling at the orphanage by further study in the ashrams. Some become priests, engineers, accountants, salesmen etc.
There are a lot of poor people in the area. They depend on institutions such as St Vincent’s Boys’ Home for the education of their children. In situations such as this, the Centre is very helpful, as it provides educational opportunities for the people.
IND 52 St Francis Xavier’s Convent Home for Women. Srivilliputtur, Virudhunagar, India
To uplift the poor people of this area through education and job facilities.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
The organisation cares for mentally retarded girls and women, as well as handicapped and old people (about 40 in number). Help is also given to poorly married orphans and widows who have no means of support.
The organisation runs fibre and needle craft facilities where poor girls and women earn their living and the orphans also do some work. There is also a tailoring section for poor girls where they are paid and provided with materials. House visits are made to very poor people, and financial assistance provided.
This is a very dry area where it is difficult for people to survive. The Convent also tries to assist though social work programmes.
Recently recognition was received for the Home for Women, so that they can now buy ration rice for the inmates, and also reconstruct buildings to give more facilities for water etc., as well as better care facilities.
Correspondence from Centre - “We, the ICM Sisters are running a Community college where the poor girl children who have failed or passed 10th and 12th standard study one year diploma courses in Computer, Nursery, Teacher Training and Nursing, They are aged from 15 to 20, and from very poor families, and most of them are dropouts. This college is recognised by Tamil Nadu Open University, who give government certificates, and also offer job placement at the end of the course to successful students. Every year we have a few girls who are orphans, or who do not have either mother or father and live in pathetic circumstances join us. Is it possible for you to sponsor a few of these poor girl students?
IND 54 Convent of Our Lady of Loudres. Kanjiramkulam, Kerala, India
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
The centre has a school (from nursery to grade 10) which caters for the educational needs of 2,300 children – 80% of whom come from nearby fishing villages. Most of them are dependent on the noon-day meal provided by the school, and that is the only meal which most of them have for the day. A good number of children are also provided with school fees, books and uniforms.
There are also standard XI and XII classes which prepare the students for college education. Since the plus one and two are unaided, the centre is finding it difficult to pay the salary for the teachers. There is only a commerce group, and the centre is thinking of initiating a science group which is needed for those girls hoping to pursue nursing. However, there are no proper buildings and lab facilities for the students. Computer education is compulsory from VIII Std onwards.
There is also a needlework centre where 500 young girls from 14 years are trained in embroidery work. After they learn, they are paid according to their work, and taught how to save for their marriage.
The health centre caters for the people of the village and neighbouring villages – also to the school children and girls in the needle work centre. A lot of pastoral work is also carried out – trying to settle broken marriages and so on. As well, the centre conducts a ministry to youth – the Franciscan Youth Federation.
A letter received reads as follows: “The students who are studying in our school are coming from the coastal area and are very poor. We have spent the money for the maintenance of the school and for educational purposes, especially uniforms, fees etc. We are in the process of making a few benches and desks for the school.”
IND 60 Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, Kerala, India
The motto of the Congregation is “Service and Sanctification”. The special objectives are love for the poor, simplicity in life, zeal for the uplifting of women, especially the downtrodden and marginalised.”
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
The FIH Sisters involve themselves primarily in:
1. Education ministry
2. Health care apostolate
3. Social welfare programs
4. Pastoral work
5. Pro-life movement
6. Proclamation of the word of God
The primary apostolate of the members of the Congregation is education and the care of the sick. They also run orphanages, boarding and hostels, technical schools, social service centres, home for the aged and destitute, institution for mentally retarded children, pro-life centres to shelter and protect unwedded mothers and abandoned children.
In India the government does a lot to educate poor children who are in government schools. Despite this, many children come to the Centre to get help to study. By experience, the people have learned that if they really care for the future of their children, they should be sent to English medium schools. However, to do so is very costly. Overall the Centre looks after 650 children in eleven orphanages/homes, where the girls do their schooling free of cost. The smartest poor children are individually sponsored in order to complete high school and continue further studies. These children are chosen from the poorest families, and could do very well if given a little help. Money given to the centre is not given directly to the children. Instead, they are asked to tell the centre their needs such as school books, fees, uniforms, medication etc., and these are then provided.
Due to financial constraints all the children are sleeping on the floor. A gift of $145 (AUS) enabled us to purchase 12 mattresses for our children in the orphanages. We are now trying to find some funds to purchase mattresses for the remainder of the children.
IND 62 Bishop’s House. Miao, Arunachal Pradesh, India
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
There are 200 students studying from first standard to twelfth standard, and some college students. All are from the remote villages of Khandwa and nearby districts of Madhya Pradesh. All the students are economically very poor. In the beginning of the year a few seminars were arranged for the students such as how to study and make use of precious time, and a seminar on “Adolescent Age”. They practice their own faith. Various religious feasts like Diwali-festival of lights, Rakshabandhan – a feast of expressing sisters’ love for brothers; Christmas etc., are being celebrated in the hostel. Children’s families are also visited, so that the centre can know the child’s home condition. Most families are struggling to make ends meet.
Studies are taken care of by the sisters who are in charge of the hostel. Special teachers are appointed for tuition. Some do extremely well in their studies, and are made to appreciate the value of education and the future it can provide. Many children play various ball games in the evening, and go to other cities for competitions. They are given many opportunities for future development.
Of some 600 children in the area only a small percentage are encouraged to go to school. Most of them become working hands sweating out their tender years carrying water and firewood, or standing with tiny babies slung to their backs, but after a year of careful teaching, most of them are able to read and write. Most of the villages are scattered over the border areas without proper roads, water and electricity.
In 2010, ethnic conflicts erupted in Miao and Diyan where the Chakma tribe was settled among Singpho and Tangsa tribes. Student Unions of the State iof Arunachal Pradesh sought to remove Chakma students from all public and private schools except one at Diyun.
KEN 01 St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Mlolongo, Nairobi, Kenya
ORIGIN OF CENTRE:
The centre was established in 2000 to alleviate the plight of children of very poor parents. It serves two outstations and six small Christian communities. Katani itself is a small and simple hamlet in the suburbs of Nairobi. The inhabitants of the village are poor peasants, and educational institutions are scanty in the area.
To give to the poor and the marganilized, and to care for those who are orphaned, or abandoned because of AIDs.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
In Kenya children receive 8 years of primary education and four years of secondary education. Children start pre-primary education at the age of four for three years, followed by primary education. There is also a nursery area. Primary education is free, but parents are expected to buy shoes, uniforms, exercise books, plus any additional expenses.
At present, 82 students attend the school, which has classes up to Std. V, with qualified staff and dedicated workers The school provides boarding facilities as well as a day school. Only a few are able to pay the school fee which is very nominal and provides for the salaries of the six teachers. Education includes government curriculum, non curriculum activities, and the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the students. Today children who came from remote villages, with only the knowledge of their mother tongue, are able to read and write in English and Kiswahili.
Recently the Nairobi Government took steps to rehabilitate destitute street children and the purpose of the school is to collect these boys and girls from the government rehabilitation centres and offer them support through education.
The centre can support 320 children. After primary school education, achieving students will pursue secondary education. Those not able to attain suitable standards will be taught trade skills such as carpentry, tailoring, IT, mechanics etc. St Joseph’s Vocational Training Centre started in 2002. Currently there are four departments – Department of IT, Computer, Accountancy, Tailoring, and the newly erected motor vehicle mechanic department.
More information may be obtained from the Centre’s website at www.msfseastafrica.org
KEN 02 Missionaries of St Francis de Sales. Chuka, Chera, Kenya
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
Chera is an interior village around 200k, from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It has no running water. The area is fertile, since it is on the eastern slope of Mt Kenya. In 2009 electricity came to Chera, so computer lessons were introduced into the school.
In 2006 the school was able to provide grade 8 classes for the growing number of students for the first time. 26 children sat for the Primary School Certificate exam at the end of the year. The school does not get any government funding, but does receive a little help from the local people. Children are send from the school only as a last resort. All these children are poor, and some of them don’t know who their parents are. A considerable amount of money was needed to aid the construction and furnishing of the school. But by June 2008 there was a primary school in the parish. There were also other primary and secondary schools in other areas of the parish. The children are doing well at their studies.
A tailoring centre has now been organised for the school dropouts and poor youth of Nairobi and surrounding areas. The centre is equipped with industrial tailoring machines to give a 5 weeks tailoring course to manufacture ready-made clothing for export to the USA. There are a lot of job opportunities in this area. After five weeks of training, the trainees are absorbed into the nearby garment factories. The centre has 25 sewing machines which are imported from Japan. There are 20 students in the first intake, 15 of which are girls. The course is going well, with technical advice received from the garment manufacturing companies. Approximately 250 youths can be assisted each year.
All are keeping in good health except for malaria. Some NGOs are trying to provide mosquito nets but still a long way to go. Last year the people experienced political violence, but this year it is crop failure, famine and high prices. Maize and beans are the main food, but there was a poor harvest of beans and maize has completely dried up because of lack of rain. Food prices have doubled, and according to newspaper, more than 10 million people are affected with famine. Food and drinking water are a problem to many. Political and administrative corruption adds more burdens.
In the Centre, an old church was converted to a hostel for girls, and are fifteen are staying there. A computer lab has been started, with two new computers and four used ones. However, a new kitchen is needed for the primary school, playgrounds, and a small school library. The Centre hopes that all this will become a reality one day, so that the children have a better learning environment. The school also helps economically poor children.
A recent email from this Centre reads as follows: “Currently we have ten teachers, two in prep, three in lower primary and 6 in upper primary. We have 68 girls and 56 boys from prep primary to standard 8. The school has achieved improved performance since its establishment. In the Kenya certificate of primary education, all candidates (8 girls and ten boys) attained entry marks for secondary education. Children attending Salesan Academy are aged between 5-16 years, with the majority from peasant families where few parents are employed. Sponsored children are orphans or from single-mother families. Most homes don’t have electricity, and the location of the school is in a challenging place with low population and little respect for education.
The centre has built a good dormitory (incomplete at present) with an aim to accommodating 100 girls. The future goal is to build up a healthy young generation, to provide infrastructure which ensures conducive education and academic performance, personal hygiene, and support for the children.
SLA 01 Prithipura Infants Home. Hendala, Wattala, Sri Lanka
ORIGIN OF CENTRE:
Dr Bryan de Krester started Ptiyhiputra Infant Homes in January 1964. He had worked for 20 years as a Protestant clergyman and ‘further spiritual experiences’ brought him into the Catholic Church in 1963. He decided to start an institution to care for mentally retarded children in Sri Lanka and this became Prithipura Infants Home.
Prithipura is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation that strives to provide care, rehabilitation, education and training for people with disabilities. It operates from 4 locations and is one of the few places in Sri Lanka which supports children and adults with disabilities. Babies, pre-school children and children/adults with severe disabilities reside at the Infant Home where they can receive intensive care, therapy and general support . At present there is a physiotherapist, speech therapists and a paediatrician who visit regularly.
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
Care is given to 86 high complex needs children and young adults. Whilst the residents are referred to as “children”, the rationale for this is based on their very special needs, since most of them require high levels of care for their most basic needs including feeding, bathing, toileting and dressing.
Money is used to provide a range of services that include residents’ participation at the special school on site, and outings to various places, parks and beaches.
Resources are scarce and in very high demand, and donations do make the Home’s load a little easier.
Recently opened were two new buildings housing school, kitchen, sleeping area, and accommodation for both volunteers and staff. Funding is being currently sought to build Ambasevana House at Cotagala. Cotagala School’s dependence on generated electricity will be curtailed with the introduction of electricity from the government supply. The house currently offers barely adequate accommodation for 30 children. The new building will improve the accommodation and introduce better recreational activities for the children, and better health and safety. Plans are also made for improving the rubber production facilities of Asokapura Farm, which provide vital income. These projects will be funded by supporters in the Netherlands.
The following is an excerpt from a letter “The work at Anandapura Farm is going well with the residents continuing to be involved with income generating tasks such as caring for the pigs and cows, broom making and collecting coconuts.
There have been several new babies and children that have come to the infant home recently. These children mainly reside in “Usha” as this is the room for the youngest children and those most in need of intensive support. One example is Sayuri, a toddler with Down’s Syndrome who has just her first self feeding session where she was supported in finger feeding for the first time!
The children at Cotagala School also had recently had their annual sport meeting and we were pleased to welcome the Education Minister as guest of honour. The children did an amazing dance displaying umbrellas and all were impressed with their dancing skills.”
You can find more abut Prithipura Infants Home at their website at www.prithipura.org
TAN 01 Holy Cross Sisters. Moshi, Tanzania
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
This is a hilly area just below Mt Kilimanjaro. People work on the land without mechanisation, with all work done by hand. Families are mainly large, and children between 6 and 12are used by parents to do household chores and look after even smaller children, goats and pigs, or collect grain for the animals.
This is a residential school for approximately 200 girls aged 12 to 18 and above. The Centre looks after children at primary, secondary and technical levels. The children are either Christians or Moslems. Accommodation is in a dormitory block with rooms of eight double deck beds, toilet, bath, laundry facilities and running water and electricity. There is also a box room, dining room and study room, a hall for TV and yoga exercises, and a library. Boarding and meals are provided, and most of the parents pay the fees. Those not able to pay fully are supported by benefactors through the school. No Government or private agency subsidies are received.
Schooling is expensive, and in many cases the fathers are not responsible and mothers have the burden of the family. Sponsorship helps families to send children to school where they can realise the benefits of education. Other families would love to send their children to school, but do not have the means. There are many cases of one parent families, and often grandparents care for the children. There is poverty and hardship in these situations.
Money is used to support girls attending Nursing School, secondary school boys and girls, Home Craft students, provide tuition fees for poor students, provision of clothing and books, food grains for families and medical help for the sick and poor. Help is also given to orphans. Mosquito nets have been provided for a few families, as malaria is a killer disease in Tanzania. A few girls were given sewing machines to make a life by stitching. During planting time, seeds and fertilizers are given. As well, building materials like roofing sheets, cement or bricks are also supplied, and sometimes help is given to purchase goats, piglets and chickens. This help encourages people to work hard and help themselves in the future.
A recent letter from this Centre reads as follows: “During the last 20 years since Innocents Relief began financially assisting the Centre, many children and their families have benefitted. Many got the chance to complete secondary education and become professionals, and today are well placed in society. Some have completed nursing and are helping others to come up in life. Some have entered the ministry, some are carpenters, masons, electricians and welders. One girl became a lawyer and her aim is to uphold the rights of women and children.
The Centre has also helped at times in the repair of houses, and given the occupants mattresses, cots, sheets and blankets. It has provided solar lamps for most of the children to reduce the expense of buying kerosene. Some families have been given goats and chickens to help support them. The aim is to show the possibilities of managing and improving family lifestyles”
TAN 04 Holy Cross Sisters. Mtoni Kijichi, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
TYPE OF INSTITUTION:
The centre has 900 students in both nursery and primary school.
Nearly 200 children pay little for their education. Some have their school needs met with the help of generous people, and the money from Innocents Relief is used for clothing, stationery and meals of students who have no means at all.
The children at the Centre belong to different religions, and all of them feel happy and at home with one another. They are taught the values of Christ-like respect for one another, forgiveness, charity, honesty etc. The Centre has become the Primary School where children can study, and there are sixteen class rooms, a small library, computer room, as well as a small laboratory. The children are at the Centre from 7.45am until 3 p.m. Many of them are orphans. They have nobody to help them, except generous people. They are taught English, Kiswahili, Science, Mathematics and Social Studies. The children sponsored by Innocents Relief are doing very well, and the Centre takes care of them, even after school hours. They are given breakfast porridge, and five hundred are also given lunch each day Some of the children are very good at their studies, and have received certificates of Academic Excellence. Last year some children were awarded prizes for being the best in their studies, or for good conduct.
There are five sisters and 15 teachers who are helping the Sister in charge to take care of the children and their education, and are with them till evening. Through sponsor help, second-hand computers have been purchased, so the children can be taught in the evenings. Some of them now know how to use computers, and to play games on them. All children have access them.
As the numbers increase, the Centre is facing problems of insufficient furniture and other materials. The next plan is to increase the classrooms so they can sit and attend classes. There are also plans for building a hall to facilitate teaching different programs, and a house for the ever-increasing number of Sisters. There is also need for boarding facilities for the children who have no care at home. Three big rooms and a hall are needed for this project. However, the playground is now used to hold many inter-school competitions, the garden has been completed, and the dining room is under careful planning.
The Centre is facing the problem of increases in the number of orphans, or single parents. Some of the children need medical attention. The Centre struggles to take care of them all, but does not have enough finances. The people are very poor but educated, and often move from place to place seeking work. However, all the parents are appreciative of the work of the Centre. Last year the School came first in the district for the grade VII National Examination.
This Centre also has a secondary school in Uganda called St. Cyprian Chavanod College. Many of the children’s parents are war victims or AIDS victims.
IND 77 St John Vianney's Girls Higher Secondary School, Tamil Nadu, India