Updates from Nambikkai Ilam

The six questions we are asking all the homes during this unsettling time of coronavirus 

  1. How many children remain in the home and how many went to stay with family members? 
  2. Are you in communication with the children who have gone to stay with family members? 
  3. What are the children doing to keep safe? What are they filling their time with during the days? What are you doing as administrators to keep safe and keep the kids safe?
  4. Are you getting enough food? Are you able to go out to get food from local markets?
  5. When do you expect to reopen and have the children return?
  6. What information are you receiving from your local offices or the government on the state of your area during the Coronavirus spread?

Sister Stella reports about the children at Nambikkai Illam Orphanage in Tamil Nadu, India

11th May 2020

Dear David,

Greetings from Sister Stella

I wanted to drop you a note to express my personal gratitude for your beautiful mail received from you recently. Truly I was touched by your concern and thoughtfulness towards us and our children. We feel so lucky to have such a generous people like you in the world. Thank you for offering us your valuable and precious time in asking about our well-being. It only takes a few seconds for us to give you thanks for your amazing quality, but your kind gesture will linger in our mind forever.

Truly you have all the rights to know about our well-being during the critical condition of Corona Virus. Because we do appreciate the efforts you have put in helping our Sacred Heart homes. I know you have been putting in a lot of extra time in all your undertakings for the welfare of the children.

The whole world is facing same difficulties. Comparing to other countries India is suffering a lot due to the poverty. As you have visited India I am sure you can really imagine the struggle of the people here in India.

1. 28 boys and girls are being accommodated in Nambikkai Illam.

2. Yes we are constantly communicating with the children through the phones and asking about their life at home. At the same time we have provided the provision and hygienic materials needed for them during their stay at home.

3. Our sisters at homes are taking lot of efforts to keep our children healthy and safe. They spend most of their time with the children in order to protect them from all unhygienic things and keep them safe from virus. We and children are following these few steps to keep ourselves safe and healthy:

  • Regularly cleaning of hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between the children especially during their meals, during study and bed time.
  • We avoid having any functions and avoiding children to be in crowd such as group games, during meals, etc.
  • We have distributed to all the sisters and children the mask and instructed everyone to cover the mouth, and into bent elbow or with a tissue while coughing and sneezing.
  • We have provided each one a clean towel as well hand kerchief. We also taught them to wash their hands after coughing and sneezing.
  • We have instructed everyone not to touch the eyes, mouth, and nose often.
  • We have provided alcohol-based sanitizer such as Dettol, Medimix liquid and lotion to wash their hands.
  • We have trained them to wash their hands after their different activities especially between their fingers and inside the nails.
  • We have asked them to wear full sleeved clothes.
  • We have a sister who is a nurse specially appointed to look after their health and hygiene. She does the medical checkup of each child every day before going to bed and gives them appropriate antibiotics, syrup and tonics.
  • We have appointed a lady to maintain the cleanliness of our home as well as surroundings, children’s bathroom, and the whole campus. We have instructed her to do regularly the cleaning of doors, window panes, doorknobs chairs, table and benches, touched surfaces of our children and all the objects used by our children daily.
  • The children who are sick, their clothes are washed separately in order to avoid infection. We keep them isolated and they are taken care separately until they get better.

4. Not only these steps there are many other steps we and children are following in order to be protected from Virus. Above all these, we are providing them vitamin, protein and nutrition contained food in order to increase their immune system. We do wash all the products with turmeric and salt before using them for cooking. We also are supplying herbal drinks such as neem water, lemon juice, ginger tea, etc. to the children time to time. We have instructed them to drink more fluids during the day.
So far all our children and sisters are healthy. We need your prayers for all of our good health.

We have set time table for our children during this situation of Corona Virus. We have fixed a study time for them. Other times relax with the birds, they play games. Specially giving importance to indoor games. For some times they watch cartoons which is their favourite television programme. We create interest in them in reading skills by making them to read some story books, and other knowledgeable books kept in our library. For small children the sisters will read out stories to them. And encourage them to read with them.

We prepare worksheet and puzzles and give them to do by themselves and keep them interested. We give them sufficient rest in the afternoon and in the night in order to keep them in good spirit and concentration to learn. As we have time for cultural activities every day which will create new hobbies in them such as painting, drawing, flower making and essay writing, etc. They individually perform some comedy, sing, dance, act, etc. Sometimes they pour water for the plants which is in front of the home. We do say bed time talk as well as we give them awareness and instruct them every night about personal hygiene and overall cleanliness. For all these activities we have fixed a time table and following it regularly. Thus our children are happy and we have kept them active and enthusiastic during this condition.

As an administrator I have discussed all these above matters with the sisters in charge of home and updating everyday by visiting the home daily. As well as I see that children are provided healthy food, facilities, and all their needs.

5. We expect all our children to return back as early as possible. They are welcome back at any time. From our part we are contacting and asking the parents to bring them back. Because vehicles are prohibited they are unable to come out of their houses. We hope soon this locked down will get over.

6. We update ourselves daily with news, and local officers, and the Government. As per our Tamil Nadu Government, May 18th this locked will get over but school reopening will be only in the month of July and August. We really cannot rely on the decision of Government so we are preparing ourselves and planning out certain things such as how to run the homes and our other mission centres.

Once again a huge thanks to you for everything. If you still need any further information kindly let us know. We assure you of my prayers for all your intentions and for the success of all your undertakings. I too request for the same.

Thanking You.

With kind regards,

Sister Stella