Project Description

Bethel & Joy Children’s Homes

Our work is focused primarily at Bethel and Joy Children’s Homes, caring for children who are orphaned and abandoned, or from families who are too poor to care for them. Most have lost their mother or father, or have parents who, despite their best efforts, still find themselves in absolute poverty, unable to provide for even the most basic needs, this may be due to health or societal issues.

The children are brought by parents and welfare officers to our partner in India, Annie, for assessment and verification of their stories before being offered a place when one becomes available. Parents and relatives are welcome to visit their children by appointment and are invited to the homes for special meals and open days.

A Home from Home

Our homes are designed to be a home from home: welcoming, friendly and safe.

In our homes children receive complete care: nutritious food, clean drinking water, clothes and medical care within a safe and nurturing environment.  We pay for them to be educated locally. Tutors come into the homes to give the children extra help, as many of them have not been able to go to school regularly.

Often, they go on to jobs or apprenticeships which secure an independent future for them. We strive to maintain good standards of personal welfare and home maintenance, ensuring that each child has the best childhood possible within our means and the homes are registered and inspected by the government. The results are remarkable and the reward is happy, healthy, confident, aspiring children who study hard and strive to change their own lives.

Bethel Home

Bethel was the first home to be funded by India Direct, opening in 1998. Over the years, the building became too small and the local area was rapidly becoming more industrialised. With new government regulations, including the need for segregation of older children into separate buildings, the need for a new Bethel became apparent. Thanks to extensive fundraising and some generous donations from our supporters, we opened New Bethel in 2017

The new Bethel site is located outside of the city centre of Chennai. The location is in the local countryside, with fresh air and very little noise or air pollution. The new home consists of two large buildings which are separated for boys and girls. Each of these buildings contains dormitory-style rooms, housing around 5-6 children in each room. Overall 35 are currently housed at Bethel home. There is a smaller building with kitchens, staff quarters and storage rooms.

The homes are surrounded by a secure perimeter wall, and new Bethel has a night watchman to ensure the safety and security of all our children. The rest of the site is used to provide playing space for the children, and to begin a vegetable garden. We are hoping to replicate the success of the garden at Joy Home

 

Joy Home

Joy Home opened after the Indian 2004 Tsunami where it was very apparent that there was a need for help in the Karaikal area, one of the worst hit places in the Indian Ocean. Many children lost parents, and those parents who survived had no means of care for their children, having lost their homes and their livelihoods.  As a result, we began raising funds to build a second children’s home, named ‘Joy’ by the villagers. The home was located in a nearby village so that family bonds could remain strong and people were reassured that the children were properly cared for. After 3 years of fundraising and building, Joy Home opened in 2007. 

When our chairman, Mark, visited the home in 2019, he was pleased to report that Joy, currently home to 100 children, continues to go from strength to strength, with well maintained buildings. Naturally, 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 Joy to be more self-sufficient and reduces the weekly grocery cost!

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