Report on orphanage and old people’s home in India

There is never enough time for a visit like this to my ‘other’ family and we packed as much in as we could during the ten days in May. It was my first chance to see the new house that we began to rent over a year ago, which is the best we have had to date and one which makes Richard and Sasees’s job a little easier.

Some of the children from the orphanage with Sasees

The three older boys, Samuraja, Raja, and Kumar, having finished their initial catering training in Rajastan, were working in hotels in Tirunelveli to increase their experience. This included serving at Weddings. Soon they will all embark on their careers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s large capital, working in a hotel chain full time and earning a good salary. They will come home for holidays and still fancy the idea of starting their own restaurant nearby in the future. These are the first of our family to leave home for work, and it hardly seems possible that three of them are already so grown-up and responsible.

Following hard on their heels is Devi. Devi is older and has stayed at school to do her ‘A’ levels ( Plus 2 in Tamil Nadu ). She has done very well and has gained enough marks to qualify for a Nursing Course. This will be for four years at a local private hospital. We hope she will have her fees and expenses sponsored by two friends of Star Action. Qualification will be a terrific achievement for a girl who has come from such destitute circumstances.

With the impending departure of four of the teenagers we now have 18 children left at home. After much discussion and thought I am keen to eventually reduce the family to around 15 in total. The higher number puts Richard and Sasees under a lot of pressure, although they are quite uncomplaining and think they can cope with more. However, with fewer, it will add to their enjoyment of the job and leave them time to oversee the beginning of the long-overdue old people’s home.

We found a small house for rent in Sri Vaigunbam, which would take two to four destitute elderly as a prototype for the larger home to be built later on our land outside the villlage. We envisage local care supervised by Richard going there once a week. We plan to use this little house to cook and serve one hot, substantial meal a day to the destitute elderly in the village. They will walk to the house and be able to stay and eat the food, whilst we assess any urgent medical needs they may require – not so much ‘Meals on Wheels’ as ‘Meals on foot’.

Kate Neil
Save the Babies and Children’s Consultant for India

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