December 2020 News from the Children’s Homes in India
We wrote to the children’s homes in India and asked several basic questions:
• Have you reopened your children’s home? (Last spring, the Indian government mandated that children with relatives must leave orphanages temporarily to stop the spread of coronavirus.)
• When will the schools open? Are there children who cannot attend school because they do not have a way to connect to remote learning? What do you need?
• Do you have medical expenses or COVID test expenses?
• Do you have enough food for the children living in and out of the home?
• Will you be celebrating Christmas in your children’s home?
Matching Funds Campaign
When you read the responses below, you will see that the most pressing concern right now is accessing remote education because the schools are closed. Because of this we have started a matching funds campaign to provide computers, laptops, smartphones, projectors and TVs as needed.
DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT FOR REMOTE EDUCATION
Responses from 17 Children’s Homes in India
Bethel Orphanage, Andhra Pradesh
Sister Mary Hilda:
We are safe and sound after the heavy rains and heavy cyclone that happened in our place. Some of the trees fell down and there was no power and water for two days. Again we are expected another cyclone tomorrow according to the weather report.
We do not need tablets or smart phones. Because our children are living in very remote places, they do not have internet or proper power. The higher classes (IX and X) students are attending their classes directly, but they do not stay in our home because we do not have government permission to keep them in the hostel. They are struggling for transportation to school. It is a high fare and they are unable to afford the cost.
There are no regular buses. These children and staff were tested for COVID-19 by government volunteers. We did not pay anything for that test. Children are doing well.
This year we are unable to celebrate Christmas due to COVID-19. When the children come back to our orphanage we will celebrate.
According to the government norms, we are supposed to open our homes by next month, but we have not yet received the authorization letter.
On December 1, World’s Children wired $300 to cover the cost of transportation and additional food for the children cared for by Bethel.
Sister Seline’s Children’s Home, Andhra Pradesh
We are fine and children are having good health. They are occupied with studies online and WhatsApp notes from the school.
We are glad that last year you have granted two computers for the use of children. Now they are useful for the online classes. Also, thank you for sending the grant to buy the projector which will be useful to use for online classes. In addition, we need to buy one smartphone, which will be sufficient for all the children to do their online classes.
All of our children are with us in the home. So we will celebrate Christmas this year.
On December 1, World’s Children wired funds to pay for a projector for Sister Seline’s.
Swadhar Home for Children, Andhra Pradesh
We are in need of five computers and one laptop.
All our children are happy and keeping up good health. They are conveying their special regards to you.
Due to COVID-19 the whole world is facing many problems. One among them is education for the young children in our home too. We have 10 students studying in different schools. All the school-going children are attending online classes through our office smart phone. They are finding it very difficult to adjust with one phone and one computer. So we request you to provide one laptop and five computers which will help the children to continue their studies.
All the children are safe and sound without any major health issues, some with a few discomforts. That we could manage with dry fruits and Ayurveda with natural made medicines like kashayam, lime juice, zeera hot water and inhaling, etc.
Due to COVID-19 and lock down children could not go to their parents or relatives. Moreover, parents also did not agree to take their children home due to the situation at home that they are facing. They have no particular work to earn money to feed their children. So at present all the children in Swadhar are enjoying their good health.
The government has conditioned no mask no entry. Mask and sanitizer are mandatory and also sanitizing the home daily. So far for few days we could afford but as the days are passing by we are finding very difficult to purchase the things that are needed for the sanitizing.
All the children are living at Swadhar Home. No one went home. So we would like to celebrate Christmas as usual.
On December 1, World’s Children provided $170 to Swadhar to help with the cost of masks and hand sanitizer.
Lucile Colony Girls’ Hostel, Karnataka
Ms. Christina Paul:
1) We need 5 tablets for the girls to attend on-line classes.
2) We don’t have medical expenses. By God’s Grace, our children are in good health.
3) The government has not started school yet. When they start we have to have the COVID test.
4) I will call all the children who are with relatives to give Christmas gifts and ration kits to them.
Our special need and concern in this Christmas season—we are having 50 poor widows with needy children staying at our home. They are starving for food. I hope and pray that you will consider and grant some funds for their care.
Raichur Girls’ Hostel, Karnataka
1. We need 4 smart phones for high school and college, and one tablet for commerce student.
2. In our location, the government has arranged for free COVID-19 test and treatment.
3. I am using sponsor funds to pay for children’s food kits for children staying with relatives.
Note: In our hostel we have 4 nursing students. They are studying in hospital campus, sometimes they visit patients, so for their protection they need face shields, gloves, N-95 masks, and PP Kits.
On December 1, World’s Children wired $600 to cover this expense for the nursing students and to pay for one water buffalo for the hostel.
Fatima Home for Children, Tamil Nadu
I could see the concern that you have for our children in the questions asked by you. We need only one computer with a projector for our children since they are unable to use the single system that we have for their online classes. We have completely kept aside all our office work due to this reason and faced a lot of problems. Hence if possible kindly contribute funds at least to have one computer with a projector in our home.
Our children are keeping fine and doing well. Hence even if it was common cold we have given them fine treatment and provided them with quality and nutritious food. If they need any emergency I will inform you immediately.
COVID -19 pandemic and cyclones are making the situation worse in our state. Many districts are under the massive flood. The 2020 year is really the worst year of this century. Our district Child Welfare Committee allowed us to take our orphanage children again. Many families struggle for proper food and shelter. We have planned to celebrate Christmas.
Happy Home for Children, Tamil Nadu
I am very glad to inform you that I got special permission to accommodate our children at Happy Home. Today 43 Children came back. Because many street children struggle more to have their daily food and proper accommodation. Food and clothes is really the basic need of the children.
Officials order us certain rules:
1. Social distance
2. Face mask compulsory
3. Clean campus
4. Nutrient food and hygiene
5. Monthly COVID-19 test from a government hospital
Little Flower Home for Children, Tamil Nadu
Sister Anjala Mary:
After the lockdown the government has requested to follow so many instructions for the improvement of physical health and education. We are trying to fulfill the needs of our children. We have a total of 130 children including college students preparing for board examinations. Due to this pandemic situation 25 children remained in our Little Flower Home and all other were sent to live with their guardian.
Children are ready to return back to our home but we don’t have the facilities to attend the online classes. We have only one monitor and one laptop. It is very difficult to manage for those who are going to write their examination. So far our sisters were helping the college students to attend classes. We have decided we need to purchase five computers for grades X, XI, XII and college. All other children can use the TV channel according to the educational time table. One computer would be useful for the younger children. Computers are our most important need.
So far all the children were safe. We have been able to handle the amount spent on medical care. The children cannot return to our home unless they go for COVID-19 test first. We have informed all our children that they can return back to Little Flower with a test report. But some of the parents were afraid to go for the test.
People suffer without work. The prices of all commodities have gone up. We have decided to distribute groceries and stationeries for the children’s family who are in poverty as we did in the beginning.
Tamil Nadu government has listed out so many instructions to safeguard the children such as hot water for drinking, medical Care. Frequently we have provided tincture. We are admitting the children who have the test report of COVID-19. Children must isolate for 15 days. We must provide sanitizer, mask and internet connection for the education facilities for the children. We have been following all the above instruction for the safety of our children.
Since all the children are not yet back, we have decided to celebrate Christmas during the month of January.
Nambikkai Illam, Tamil Nadu
Some of the district collectors have given permission to open our children’s homes and hostels. Students in the X, XI and XII grade must attend classes online without absence, we don’t know when our government will reopen the schools. At present only our office cell phone is helping them to attend their online classes. Seven nursing students and other graduate students are staying with us. They need a small laptop with a projector. The government has not announced a re-opening date.
The children have medical issues from time to time. A medical college hospital nearby is coming to conduct free COVID-19 tests in a week. A COVID-19 test is compulsory for all students and staff inside the children’s home, but we must provide a public hospital certificate. Most of our children are scheduled (lower) caste and street children. Their family background is very poor. Social distance, face mask practice, frequently hand wash, hygiene and health is most important. We have used WC funds for children who are living with a relative within 20 kilometers.
We plan to celebrate Christmas. Many of the children are staying with us but not the small kids in I, II and III grade.
Nirmala Matha Home, Tamil Nadu
Nivar cyclone is threatening us today. Kindly pray for us. Thank you so much for the scholarship funds. Here, with full confidence of your providence, we come to you with the request of providing tablets, projectors and smart phones in order to attend online classes during this season of pandemic coronavirus lockdown.
As we do not expect school to be opened in this year, we feel the importance of attending online classes by all the children staying in our home. The children are learning through online classes but it becomes difficult with one common mobile phone for all the children to attend classes at the same time. Especially the children studying in the classes of IX to XII. They are not able to understand the lessons and find it difficult to take down the notes—mainly the notes of math and English, physics and chemistry which are very challenging for the children to cope with on one mobile phone. Hence, we feel the importance of the availability of a projector, computers and also the smart phones, so that we can gather the children and allow them to attend the class altogether in one place, to make it easy to take down notes and understand the lesson promptly.
If it is possible, kindly provide us a projector. Already we have only one tablet for our home. We connect the tablet with a projector and use it for all children without any disturbance. Grades IX, X, XI and XII girls’ subjects are more important than other grade children. Secondary school girls’ subjects are very hard to pick up. Cell phones and tablets are very small; it is impossible to attend more than five students. If we arrange with tablets and projector more than 40 students can benefit in the same place and same time. Now we have nice benches and desks provided by World’s Children.
We are waiting to get proper information from the government about reopening of the schools and colleges. After that we will admit all students without any delay.
St. Anthony’s Orphanage, Tamil Nadu
In our home six girls who are going to college have to attend online classes using smart phones. The children can learn the lessons by listening to the TV channel (the school education broadcasting channel). So we are in need of two TVs including cost of education channel — one TV for primary children and other one for high school children.
Assuntha Asha Nilayam, Telangana
Sister Rose Mary:
Our children are attending classes on line and we are in need of computers. Presently we have 8 children studying in classes 10th through 12th. Children are using staff mobile phones for listening to the classes. The timing is clashing and sometimes they have to forgo and miss the class. So we thought it would be better to buy a few computers, so that they can regularly attend class.
On December 1, World’s Children wired funds for Assuntha Asha Nilayam to purchase four computers.
Balavikasita Orphanage, Telangana
We are having a tough time managing with the two desktops we have for the girls’ home children but none at the boys’ home. We have to use our cellphones to enable them to attend their classes.
1. Earlier we had purchased couple of computers but as the children have grown and homes got separated based on gender, we are having a shortage of computers. We request you to kindly support us with 4 desktops—2 for the girls’ home and two for the boys. All our school children are not attending school due to lockdown. Secondly, we need 2 laptops for college degree girls and 2 tablets for intermediate students. We also need 2 mobile phones for maintaining communication on social media between schools and children to be used by the instructor at our end and for taking pictures of classroom too.
2. We did not spend any money on major medical needs for children so far by God’s grace.
3. COVID tests cost Rs. 2500 ($34) in private hospitals. The government is doing free tests, but people are now afraid to go to government hospitals lest they get in contact with COVID patients.
4. Almost all the children returned to Balavikasita. Very few are now staying with their relatives, so we are making the maximum use of food and groceries at the boys’ and girls’ homes through the sponsorship funds you sent.
5.Yes, Christmas will be celebrated at our homes as most of the children have returned back after COVID vacation. Children are very excited that Christmas is nearing and already dreaming of the celebrations and new clothes.
Thank you once again for being so thoughtful and considerate towards the children. I am really grateful to you.
Miriam Boarding Home, Telangana
Still children are not back to our home. All are safe in their respective homes with their relatives and parents. Online classes are going on. We are not sure of the reopening of schools physically. At present we are getting affected by rains and cool weather.
I don’t think it is possible to celebrate Christmas at our home. As you mentioned, when they return back to our home we can do so.
St. Elizabeth’s Children’s Home, Telangana
The government arranged on-line classes for all the classes through DD Yagagiri which is a TV channel. The children are attending these on-line classes. The children those who are not able to follow the on-line classes they are coming to school to clarify their doubts. We the teachers are sending the daily online classes report. So we won’t need any smart phone or computer.
Children are in good health. They are safe in the village. For the people who are affected with COVID, they go to government hospital. They can have the test and treatment there.
Children need food items since they are at home. They need to be healthy.
I think Christmas can be celebrated in month of January. Let us see if all the children will come back by then. The children are waiting for it.
Shanthi Nilayam, Telangana
I am very sad to say that I too was infected with coronavirus. I am on medication and taking rest at home. My health is fine and in another 5 days I will be normal to my work.
With regard to our special needs, we are in need of 4 tablets and 3 computers for our children. All the college students need tablets to follow online classes. At present there is only one tablet available and we are using the staff smart phones for classes. Also we need three computers for our school children to learn the subjects easily and frequently.
Sneha Sadan, Telangana
Our children’s parents/relatives are still hesitating to send children back to our home because in some of the areas, cases are increasing. We are finding out from parents/relatives whether they are in a safe zone and, if they are in a safe zone, we are telling them to come and join. It takes a long time to settle all the children back in Sneha Sadan home. As they start coming, we need to take them one by one to the hospital for COVID test.
Our kind request to you is to give us time to send all the children’s sponsor letters, photos and their progress cards to be sent to you when children come to our home. Then we are able to fulfil all the necessary requirements.
Since all our children are with their parents/guardians, at present the Sneha Sadan has minimum expenses for the children who are staying with us in this home. For those children who are staying nearby with families, we have distributed food provisions. Time and again we are contacting our children to know their well-being and their needs. On our oral request the Child Welfare Committee has given us permission to rejoin the few children who are really struggling living with their guardians/relatives.
But when children come we need to take them for COVID test that will be costing each Rs. 850 and our total children are 54 x 850 = 45,900 ($622) after confirming their report we have to join them in our home. We need to buy pulse oximeter and fever screeners and also we need to buy COVID kits and medicine for the coming days to prevent sickness and to keep our children safe.
This month about 17 of them are going to come and slowly, one by one, all will join Sneha Sadan and we need to arrange their online classes till the usual school runs. Therefore, we would like to have computers which we have already applied to the world’s children organization for 5 computers. Computers are very convenient to arrange for each class separately. Hence may I earnestly request you to provide us 5 computers. Many of our children don’t have smartphones to follow their online classes. They have missed half of the year portion and we want to make sure that they follow the classes from now onwards and also what they have missed also can get back to complete their portion.
We are happy to celebrate Christmas when all our children are with us. So on a small scale we will celebrate Christmas with a few children who will be in the home by Christmas.
On December 1, World’s Children wired funds to Sneha Sadan for COVID tests for 54 children.
Until December 20th, when you give for remote education, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor up to $10,000. That means we could provide $20,000 for remote education. Please give whatever you can!