Brighter life update
We have now moved in and have mature garden area, protected by wall from scorpions and annoying little snakes.
We have also taken another building and trained two of our girls, Shamilla and Abira
ni, as auxiliary nurses to care for destitute old ladies. Our first is Rosammal.
This is an experiment to give these, often infirm ladies, a peaceful last few years without the cares and worries of having to beg or provide for themselves.
Our wonderful new Brighter Life home (formerly STB)
Thanks to the extraordinary and unstinting generosity of our supporters we have been able to move in to our lovely, purpose built new home this year. Sasees wrote:
I thank you very much for all the trustees and supporters for who had extended their heart and money for STB family to have a amazing house for our children.
We and our children are very happy to have a house of our own. Our children are proud to say that they have new house and never change. This house is so peaceful for us all. We have such a great view near by our house. We can still adopt some more children in our new house.
Our new STB home
As I write in October 2013, the second fitting is underway in our wonderful permanent new home in India.
As a direct result of Star Action appeals:
- our new home is almost complete – we hope to move in by Christmas
- we have a minibus to take the children to and from school
- we have been able to take in 5 new children this year
VISION OF STB
Although STB has been going for some 11 years, we are still in rented accommodation. This does not give us the full security that we would love to provide for our children. It is our aim to purchase land and to build upon it.
As the children get older, for cultural reasons, the boys and girls need to be in separate sleeping quarters. It is our aim to facilitate this so that the distractions from very young babies will be minimised and our older children will be able to study better whilst waiting to go to school.
We wish to provide a separate living space specifically for study.
While we still maintain our older children we are aware that our work started with newborn and very young babies. We still wish to continue this, expanding our numbers as space permits.
A massive percentage of our budget is spent on public transport to get the children to school and to purchase the groceries for the home. It is our aim to buy our own jeep, which will be adequate for the number of children we have, and will make considerable savings over the years.
We also wish to expand our work in the local community. As well as the village that we have adopted, we wish to continue this work to aid and support the local people.
We are well-established in the locality, and wish to work with international NGOs to better serve those in need.
HOW SAVE THE BABIES STARTED
by Kate Neil
In 1995, I went to South India to help out at a Children’s Home in the lower Palani Hills in Tamil Nadu.
I was 18 years old and spent much of my time helping the Home’s Nurse in her work caring for the children, and in the evenings I assisted her to distribute polio vaccine to others in many of the local villages. Shanthy and I became good friends and shared concerns of the difficult conditions in which the very poor families were trying to bring up their children.
In some parts of Tamil Nadu the pressure to produce only male children, because of the dowry system of marriage, is so great that female infanticide is still practised. This was a great shock to me and I tried to persuade the children’s home where I was staying to begin to take tiny babies which could be vulnerable to this practise. This proved not to be an option.
Finding this too desperate a situation to ignore, Shanthy and I decided to launch our own society to care for these vulnerable babies, whose families may have contemplated disposing of them.
In order to operate a charity in India we had to register our new organisation with the Registrar of Societies in India, and it had to be administered by a local management committee. In addition, in order to raise and dispense funds from the UK and Europe, we registered the ‘Save the Babies Society’ with the Charities Commission in Britain.
Together in 1996, Shanthy and I moved to Palayamkottai and found a suitable house to rent on a residential estate in this town near the southernmost point of India.
In the first 6 months I went through the process of getting known in the local area. This included a certain amount of press coverage because of the novelty of two women starting anything in South India – this being a wholly male orientated society at the time. Many local officials found it comical that a Tamil woman and a 19 year old British girl could possibly run a Children’s society.
In practice we have taken babies from a variety of desperate situations. These include potential female infanticide victims, the children of parents killed in community fighting, abandoned babies and two whose mothers have committed suicide.
Shanthy has since moved on and we now have two new Care Managers, Richard and Sasees who are totally committed to their role and have consolidated this large family (now 20) as a happy and health unit.