People often wonder about the background of the children we care for. Helen visited the family homes of some of the children during her recent trip, so here is the first of her reports from the community near the huge city of Chennai.
“This Mum has five little girls, aged 11, 10, 8, 7 and 5 (though I think you will agree they look younger than that). Her husband is an abusive alcoholic, who has abandoned his family. They live in a small brick house with a corrugated iron roof and a concert floor.
They don’t have many belongings, and the house is very small, maybe about 100 square feet in total. There is an old sari tied to the branch of a tree in the lane outside, forming a swing seat. This seems to be the only place to sit, other than the floor. When we visited the girls were playing by the tree with some tiny bottles (like the toiletries you find in hotels) and two skinny little kittens.
Mum works hard, very long hours, as a housemaid, (her sister helped to look after the children). She earns around 1500 rupees per month. That’s about £17 at today’s exchange rate… for a whole month! The rent on their little home is 1000 rupees per month. So, this hard working single parent had the impossible task of feeding and clothing her five girls on less than £1.50 a week. There was no chance of three meals a day, let alone school books and uniform!”
The four older girls now live at Bethel Home, where Annie and her team give them the food, clothing, and education their mother cannot provide, however hard she tries. They all see each other regularly, as we encourage close ties between the children in our care and the families in the community.
There is real need in India. Could you help us support children like these? A pound a day goes a very long way, and every penny you donate really is used to change people’s lives!