Mark visited India in November 2018 to meet with the LCCT trustees and to see both children’s homes. These annual visits are crucial for us to discuss the future plans of the charity face-to-face with our Indian partners and to get an accurate update on our operation in India firsthand. All trustee visits are normally self funded, however on this occasion one of our donor’s specifically funded this travel.
Mark is pleased to report that Joy Home continues to go from strength to strength, with the buildings well maintained and well used. The outside area at Joy is more developed than the new Bethel site, with extensive vegetable gardens and pasture for 3-4 cows, which produce milk for the homes. This enables them to be more self sufficient and reduces the weekly grocery cost!
The new Bethel home is a truly delightful place to spend time. Located in the countryside on the outskirts of Chennai, it is full of fresh air and space for the children to play. The buildings are purpose built and a new outdoor pagoda provides shade for the children to study, read or relax.
The trip enabled Mark to have a number of important discussions on short- and long-term strategy with the trustees of Love & Care Charitable Trust, such as our sponsorship programmes and communication with our supporters. Our sponsors are crucial to the charity’s future stability, providing dependable income for us to continue our projects. We decided to increase our sponsorship mailings to 3 per year, including a ‘school report’ for the first time. The children will be encouraged to write about home activities, including a new annual ‘sports day’. We hope our sponsors will enjoy this.
In addition, Mark emphasised our need for more regular news and photos from India. He identified the need for a ‘point and shoot’ camera in India. One of our trustees has made a generous donation for this purchase, so that we can have the images we need for our newsletters, website and social media updates.
Mark emphasised the need to focus on funding the children’s homes and explained that the India Direct trustees cannot commit to funding projects in other areas. Other than when we receive occasional one-off donations for a specific purpose (e.g. a medical camp), India Direct cannot support additional projects at this time.
Annie would like to introduce computers to the homes, as the ability to use IT is a key differentiator in employment to well paid jobs and she sees this as a way of improving the life outcomes of the children in our care. She also discussed the need for an additional minibus, as currently only one of the homes has one, resulting in a long walk to school. At the moment, India Direct is not in a position to fund these.
The photos below show images from Mark’s visit, which coincided with the children writing their annual Christmas cards to their sponsors. He also took them some sweet treats!