Dan reports on his India visit
During Dan Lind’s India visit in October 2016, he spent time at one nursing college and four children’s homes supported by World’s Children. Dan was able to visit his sponsored child, his scholarship student, and his brother’s sponsored child. We always love to see your donations at work through the eyes of a sponsor. Let’s take a journey with Dan.
The Sacred Heart Nursing College
Little Flower Home for Children
First Stop – Sacred Heart Nursing College, Dindigul, India
Thanks to the kindness of folks like you, we currently support 86 young women at this nursing college through the World’s Children Scholarship Program.
“It was quite an honor to be met by Sister Selva Rani, Rev. Mother General Amutha Theos, and Sister Reni at the Dindigul train station. What a wonderful sight it was to see them on the station platform after a long night on the train from Bangalore.
“I was very happy to be greeted by our scholarship student Sumathi when we arrived at the college. The welcome ceremony was quite lovely with the band, the beautiful colors of the uniforms and saris of the welcoming committee, and the assembled students and sisters. I was happy to have Sumathi show me around the college. It was also very nice to meet Sister Anitha who was my first contact when planning my trip to Dindigul and who did such a good job of fitting the subsequent trip to Nagercoil into my schedule.
“The Sacred Heart Nursing College (SHNC) is located on a large, arid plot of land about 5 km from the city of Dindigul. The nursing college is starting its 5th year, having graduated its first group of student nurses in August 2016. There are approximately 160 students which is the current top capacity due to limited hostel space. There are two main buildings, both well-constructed and in excellent shape.
“The main college building accommodates the classrooms, labs, library, computer room, assembly hall, administrative offices, teacher work space, as well as living space on the top floor for the students. The student “dorms” are very much like what many of the orphanage children experience – many students sleeping in one large room.
“The blue building has quite a few individual rooms for staff, teachers, administration and guests, a kitchen, dining room, etc. I stayed in one of the guest rooms. It was quite nice, very clean – spartan but comfortable. Even had an AC unit.
“They have undertaken an enormous project—a three level hostel to house up to 200 students. To date I understand this has been funded totally locally from contributions in India. When it was apparent that funding was running out, they made the decision to build the superstructure up to the top level, including all basic support structures, floor/ceiling slabs, etc., and try to finish the bottom level so it could be used to house 70-80 students.”
Visiting four orphanages in Nagercoil, India
“After I left Dindigul I had a wonderful visit in Nagercoil. It was so good to revisit St. Antony’s, Fatima Home, Happy Home for Children, and Little Flower Home which I also visited in 2014. Of course I examined the work done on the various projects completed through World’s Children grants, and took note of projects to-be-completed or funded in the future.
St. Antony’s Orphanage
“Many of the buildings had a new white/color washing, They were painting the boys’ dorm while I was there. The boys sleep in a large room on the upper level. At this time they sleep on mats on the floor, no cots. Their box room [where personal items are kept] is on the bottom floor.
“This large building also houses a room for the sister in charge of the boys and the library. This building used to be the older girls hostel. Now it is completely taken over by the boys which has created a real problem for the girls. Currently all the girls are housed with the younger girls in a building attached to the stage and box room. The building is in midst of repainting and it is looking quite nice!
“The government mandate to physically separate boys and girls for sleeping, eating, and toilet/bathing has caused a lot of scrambling to find solutions among all the orphanages. This has been a difficult process and has often resulted in the much larger girl populations being squeezed into a much smaller living area. Now more projects will be requested to ease the over-crowding of the girls, and separate the older girls from the younger ones.”
“Of the four homes I visited in this area, Fatima seems to have been the most neglected. The recent paint/color washing of the main building has really added a cheerful note to the otherwise “run-down” appearance of the property. There are two very old abandoned large structures on the property that not only look awful, but could be potential hazards to the children. At some point I hope this can be addressed with a demolition. They have dealt with the issue of the government ordered separation of the boys living/dining space, but at the expense of more over-crowding of the girls.
“The children and staff really appreciate the recent completion of WC funded projects here. The new toilet/bath area is outstanding! I was happy to see beds and mattresses in place.”
Happy Home for Children
“It was nice to get back to Happy Home again. This was the first orphanage I visited two years ago and then, as now, I am struck with the appropriateness of the name. It is indeed a happy place in many ways.
“It was good to see the benches and tables in the dining room. Also the walls and drainage system were complete. I believe they have only one project request this year—the clothes drying shed. I haven’t seen the plan, but I expect this is envisioned as a sturdy steel awning-like structure to cover one of the flat roof-top areas currently used for drying clothes. Especially in the monsoon, it is very difficult to dry clothes. The awning will protect from rain and still allow the breeze to do its job.
“Another big project is looming for Happy Home. Because the boys have been assigned to one large building, it means that the many girls are in a more crowded situation—all ages in one relatively small space. I believe they will be exploring adding a second (and perhaps third?) floor to the two-year-old dining hall. It would be great to get the older girls separated from the younger ones.”
Little Flower Home for Children
“Notice the clothes drying on the roof-top. This project for Little Flower is listed in the 2016 campaign as ‘Clothes drying shed.’ It’s similar to the Happy Home project request for a drying shed but about double the size. A large steel awning-like shed to cover the roof and keep out the rain is what I envision.
“The government school is very large and very impressive. It is well maintained and has some good teachers. I visited 3-4 classes.” [Dan and his wife Anne used to be teachers in India.]
Dan and his brother Jon just fully funded the dining hall renovation and tables requested by Fatima Home through the No Place like Home 2016 Campaign that is currently ongoing.
“Meeting the children at each of the orphanages is always a thrill. They are so happy, excited, and curious! It is wonderful to see them well-cared for, well fed, cleanly dressed, healthy, and encouraged and helped in their education. As a former music teacher it is also rewarding to see the sisters encouraging the artistic side of the children’s development—the dancing, drawing, and singing. Certainly they DO ‘make a joyful noise’ and a joyful dance!
“As I have visited the various Sacred Heart orphanages and the College of Nursing, I am challenged to think about the relationships of the various entities involved in the mission of caring for abandoned children, caring for the guidance of girl students, medical mission, and social work. There are the donors who contribute money and goods, the agencies – like World’s Children – who encourage, motivate, and direct the donors money to worthwhile projects, the institutions that provide the physical setting of buildings, and those tireless workers who are on the front line daily interacting with, caring for, educating, teaching life skills, and disciplining.
“I am impressed with, and grateful to, all the homes for their outstanding work of caring for these children, often in difficult situations. As a donor through World’s Children, to see so many of these children happy, healthy, well cared for, in clean clothes and with clean faces, receiving a good education and learning life skills, makes me proud to play a small part in their successes.
Truly the Sisters, whom I have met and observed, are miracle workers on a daily basis! As a happy member of the World’s Children donor family I am grateful.
With love and best wishes,
Thank you Dan!
We thank Dan for this thorough report and for his family’s support of sponsored children and projects. Sister Stella says it best in the following email she sent to Dan after his visit:
“Thank you so much for your visit to Fatima and other orphanages in India. I hope that you and your wife have reached home safely with joy. World children sent a mail that you are providing the financing of Fatima home dining room and tables.
Thank you so much, Uncle Dan. Really we never forget you and your brother Jonathan. Convey our loving regards. You are always in my heart and prayer. Kindly take care of your health.
During the Christmas season I will try to make a phone call to you if possible. I know that it so expensive to make the foreign phone calls. My monthly pocket money is Rs. 500/- ($7.24). So that it’s impossible to me. Thank you!”
With love and prayer,