Welcome toChildren’s Homes in India Trust Charity registration number: 1112048 www.chitonline.co.uk email: firstname.lastname@example.org 18 Woolley Drive, Bradford on Avon BA15 1AU
India, with a population of 1.2 billion people, is the largest democracy in the world. Part of the British Empire for 150 years, India was granted independence in 1947, later becoming a republic, but staying in the Commonwealth. This map shows Bapatla, near the coast of Andhra Pradesh, a State formed in 1956 for the 76 million Telugu-speaking people. Tourists are rare. Missionaries from the UK were active in this area, setting up a leper colony. The Salvation Army still runs a hospital.
In recent years, the standard of living in the cities has risen. Universities are filled with hard-working students, but prosperity is not widespread. 250 million people in India still live on less than 70p a day, many in remote little villages. The children in our homes display an endearing yearning for learning.
Close-up satellite picture shows the Bapatla campus with the big sandy playground, offices, sick bays, dispensary, living quarters, courtyard and dining room/dormitory (in yellow), school (blue) and dairy (red).
A combination of malnutrition and dirty water can lead to dysentery, dehydration and early death.11 million children are abandoned in India every year. 90% of them girls.
This 6-month-old baby is the younger of twins. Such children, if born of poor mothers, seldom survive. Proper nutrition for the mother is a much better answer than bottle-feeding the baby, using milk powder mixed with dirty water! Breaking the cycle of poverty needs a long-term solution. It is education.
Babu and Hepsy built their first Children’s Home at Bapatla in 1983, shortly after meeting George Kent. Support from the UK started and the work rapidly grew.
Ten years ago Glory was a forlorn little girl in a large unhappy family – no father and not enough to eat. Seven years ago Santha Kumari lived with her grandparents after her father died of cancer when she was three.
A few years later at the Bapatla Home, Glory, now sixteen, is dragged into the picture by Santha Kumari, saying “she’s my big sister, photo me!”
Given these cheap hair clips on her birthday, Santha’s response was to go and borrow a matching dress from her friend and come rushing back asking to have her photo taken. How reassuringly normal.
Henna’s life expectancy was so low, Babu and Hepsy broke the rules and took her in. She was only three years old.(We take them at six) A man with four sons had bought her for £2.50 but his wife starved her and burnt her fingers.
Two years later it has become clear that Henna is a very promising pupil, intelligent as well as graceful. She did well at school and, like most of her friends, is at Sixth Form College. She is so much part of the family that she will probably end up on the staff of the home. What a transformation!
In June the temperature soars to 46 C. It is a relief when the Monsoon brings the rain. Soon thousands of mosquitoes breed in the nearby paddi fields. It is hard for the children.A sample door of wire mosquito netting was made as a trial: too easily damaged. The answer is triple-panel mosquito drapes.We need 50 at a cost of £12 each.
At the Bapatla home the price of bottle-gas became very high and hard to obtain.The cooks were burning tree roots. Chopping down live trees in India is illegal. We bought pressure cookers, steamers and solar water-heaters.
These 20-litre pressure cookers are made in India. The time taken to cook dhal is reduced from 40 minutes to 8.
These two remarkably cheap thermo-syphonic solar units, 100 and 200 litre capacity, were ordered and delivered within 3 days. We have moved them from Nidamarru and fitted them at the Bapatla Complex, where the water is softer and they work well.
George (chairman) running the water hot before filling the giant rice pan. He then thanked God for His bountiful provision of free heat and suggested warning signs be put up in Telugu/English.
Half the CHIT budget is spent on food: rice, cooked without salt, dhal (lentil curry), eggs and fruit. Inflation has increased their food costs by £2,200 this year.
The boys and girls always eat separately, using the fingers of the right hand only, for reasons of hygiene. They drink butter-milk after the meal.
A fat new water-buffalo with calf, costs £500 The milk they provide for the children is much better than milk bought in, which is often skimmed and diluted. We now have six water buffalo in milk.
New girl Daisy gets a bath. Water buffalo need two or three cooling baths a day when the temperature goes up to 47C. In the background you see our elevated 35 tonne water tank.
The buffalo shed provides shade. Once the mosquito netting got old and torn the animals were tormented. Milk yields fell.
A generous donor enabled us to renew the mosquito netting and replace the broken fans. When happy with a calf, a water buffalo provides about 6 litres of superbly nutritious milk a day.
This is the original building at the Bapatla site. 50 girls + housemother live upstairs. Below there are 20 young girls + senior staff quarters.
Rachel Rani is the Director of both homes and Warden at Bapatla. She is ably assisted by Mannika Rao, Deputy Warden, who lives on site with his wife, the senior cook.
Our children under 16 go to the Elizabeth Barrie High School, near to the home, built in 1997 and improved with a Rotary International Grant in 2000. In 2006 with help from generous donors CHIT increased the number of teachers and improved salaries. They are now moving to English-medium. This involves expensive retraining and additional equipment. Children without uniforms are those accepted free from poor families in the vicinity.
Mary Salome, Headteacher. She kept the school going extremely well during a period of financial stringency. She is quite strict and the children are well-behaved.
Although much teaching is still by rote, interestingly, they favour small group work when appropriate. We are introducing white boards, and would like to increase funding for the school: note the empty bookcases.
Claire Brown, visiting TEFL teacher, has the children delighted with her artwork. She and Stuart stayed for six weeks.They are visiting again to help improve the quality of the teaching. Could you help in this way?
We can get the white boards made in India and have provided every child with a small white board. The special pens are not available - a good idea for supporters to send as presents.
Trustee Pauline busy with a group of children, teaching craft work. She also distributed Bibles and “Why Jesus?” booklets in Telugu and English.
New boys’ toilet block. This building was elevated and a large septic tank built underneath. On sandy soil, good foundations are very expensive. High above the roof a water-tank has been erected to store the ground water, pumped from a borehole and distributed around the site.
Our children often get sick in the rainy season. We made an expensive decision to improve their diet with banana egg and milk every day, with occasional vitamin supplements. We also set about improving the medical care. Here we show the old sickroom, totally without facilities.
Support for our sick bay appeal enabled us to provide separate facilities for sick boys and girls. With a trained nurse on site with a well equipped dispensary we are providing good care now.
Dr Kalwant Rai, visiting Trustee from Kenilworth. advises our resident Nurse Mary. His expertise was invaluable. We have agreed that all children on arrival should in future be given a chest X-ray and have their eyesight tested.
Nurse’s quarters, a dispensary, boys’ and girls’ sickbays and toilets installed downstairs, with upstairs extension for new offices, and two quiet rooms for study and letter writing, completed 2008
7 am Assembly at the Bapatla Home.There is an act of worship every evening.
Boys put new badminton racquets into early and enthusiastic use! More games equipment is needed.
All the girls excel at skipping routines. There is no obesity problem here.
Waiting patiently for their supper in the courtyard.
The children are given a new set of clothes at Christmas time. Clothes are washed daily.
These boys are at 6th form college, something that we are proud to say has become the norm for our school leavers.
These 8 girls, just qualified with Nursing degrees are being followed by 24 more.
The International Team of Trustees meet together for a whole day every January.
CHIT Chairman George brings gifts to three children from their sponsorin the UK