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Emily visited with a friend in September 2016. She was asked to formally open the extra dormitory space at the Boys' Home and the two of them created a new mural at the Children's Home. Emily took some clips and made a video (click here) of the children to help prospective volunteers and visitors imagine what it might be like to spend some time there.
Ralph visited in November 2016 and Richard has just returned from his visit (April 2017). It's impossible to fully convey the overwhelming sense of security, love and joy in the the lives of these children, made possible by your generosity. However small your monthly contribution may be, when they are all added together they provide the lifeline that is food, clothing, medical costs, staff wages and school uniform. Thank you - you give these children a future that they could not otherwise have.
There are currently 78 children being cared for at the TRUST Children's Homes (42 girls and 36 boys) between the ages of 5 and 18. Many are orphans, all have come from dark places in their brief lives. Through our visits we can see that they are all now safe, loved, well fed and educated and that they see themselves as part of one large loving family. There is a group of wonderful staff and the children are amazingly supportive of each other.
There are around 50 others who have left, some youngsters usually to be cared for by extended family and older ones who have moved on to hostels for further education or training and then on into work. On leaving, further education is the key to a secure independent future.
Of the older boys there are three who have achieved degrees and well paid jobs and nine others who have taken a training course and are employed. Of the older girls the most usual training is as a District Health Assistant (for which TRUST has set up an accredited college in the village) and about ten girls are employed as nurses or doing the DHA course. Two girls are taking degree level courses and one has completed her degree and is employed.
Four girls are married and one now has a child. Ralph, and all the children at TRUST, went to a party to celebrate her impending confinement in November and Richard was able to meet mother and child in March. It was a great joy and privilege to see her development into a confident and happy young woman and mother.
Medical Issues: There's no NHS in India! Although basic treatment in government hospitals is free, specialist medical problems do incur a cost in private facilities. There have been an unusual number of children in need of hospital treatment in February and March - two girls with appendicitis, one small boy in Intensive Care with an unidentified problem and a girl who suffered 40% burns in an accident with a firework. These were serious cases and a real worry. Happily all seem to be making a good recovery at last, thanks in part to treatment in a specialist burns unit.
The TRUST Free Ambulance is a service that operated for more than twelve years to take elderly and poor people from surrounding villages to see a doctor in a government hospital for primary care. In the early days it also operated an emergency service but the state now offers an emergency ambulance. The TRUST Ambulance has helped thousands of people, but broke down and there were no funds to repair or replace it. At last, with support from The Batchworth Trust and fundraising by pupils at The Gillingham School in Dorset, it should soon be on the road again. As well as being medical transport for local people the ambulance is also there to take children to the doctor and hospital, when needed, and is the focus of First Aid advice and information in the local community.
Water: Once again, it is already unusually hot and dry at the Children's Home and in the surrounding villages. The are in the rain shadow of the hills to the west. It's unlikely to rain at all for the next two months and so water shortages are likely to increase. At the Boys' Home, the well (funded with support from our group three years ago) still contains water and it has at last been possible to have a connection to the village limited piped supply (one container per child each day). For the girls at the Children's Home, there is still no connection to the village supply and their well is now dry. Water is still available from bore holes at both homes and the recent one at the Children's Home provided last summer by fundraising at the church of St Mary with St Alban in Teddington is a vital source for them.
Greater water security in the future is always a priority. If it's possible to find funding to increase the depth of the well at the Children's Home while it is dry for the next two months, that could help. Support is also sought to fund the connection of the Children's Home to the village piped water.
Water always available on tap in the UK is a service we are inclined to take for granted!
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