I first met J in July 2009, during the first Poynton High School trip to India. She was one of a close friendship group at Bethel Home, a gentle girl with a sparkle in her eye and a beautiful smile. She made a real impression on me.
In 2010, when I visited with friends and my daughter, I looked forward to seeing her again, and she remembered me. I wondered if she would still be at Bethel home for our second school trip in 2011. She was, and we were excited to see each other again!
I really thought that by the time we arrived in 2014, for our third school trip, she would have left Bethel Home, as I knew she would have finished school. I was so moved when she was the very first person to greet me as I walked through the gates! She was still at Bethel, studying for her further education course.
You can see from the photos how, during her time at Bethel Home, she has grown from a frightened and unhappy child into a confident young woman. Here is her story.
J came into the care of LCCT aged 10, in a devastated state and without any hope for the future. Her mother was left suddenly by her husband, alone, with three small children to support. Her father was alcoholic and use to ill-treat her mother and the three children every day. He was very cruel to them.
As the father had left the family, the mother, an uneducated and illiterate woman, became the bread winner. She struggled in her new and difficult situation. She searched for work and managed to get some employment as an agricultural labourer. The work is not regular and is very seasonal, and poorly paid. When she could get work, she worked for 8 hours a day in the hot sun, for just Rs.50 per day (that’s about 50p).
With such a small income she was not able to give her children a safe home, good food, and clothing, never mind an education. They did not have a house to live in, but lived with her brother, who after his own marriage, felt they were a burden to him and twice kicked them out of the house. They had nowhere else to go, so she brought J to Bethel Home.
Having a safe place to live and a good diet meant she was able to take advantage of the education which India Direct and LCCT offered to her.
J completed her secondary education, then won a place on a catering course. She has now completed the course and is working in a 3* hotel in Chennai. She earns Rs.8000 per month (eight times what her mother could earn working full time), which is a massive support for the family. She is also supporting her sister to study BSc Nursing, so both girls have bright future ahead of them.
The £1 per day cost of sponsoring a child through India Direct has made a real and lasting difference, not just in her life, but that of her whole family. Could you support a child and change a life?