GRACE CHILDREN’S HOME
There are thousands of homeless orphan children in India. Their
parents, who cannot afford to look after them, often abandon
their children; and some of them sleep on the streets and
railway stations, begging for their food.
At the end of 1999 we began a concentrated effort to raise money
to build an orphanage. As money was raised it was sent out to
India to purchase materials and pay the workers. Sometimes there
was no money to pay for materials, or to pay the workers, and
when the money ran out, the work stopped.
Grace Children’s Home was finished and officially opened in
January 2001. In 2004 a second floor was added, and in March
2011 a third and final floor was completed and opened in May
2011. There are now over 100 children in the Home, and a
sponsorship scheme is in operation.
The children will be supported right through their school years
and onto further education if they wish to continue. A number of
the older boys and five of the girls have taken up
pre-university or university courses. Those who are not
academically inclined will be encouraged in a vocation which
will suit their abilities.
The Home began by admitting mainly orphans or ‘half orphans’ but
over the years the criteria has changed slightly. Female neglect
& infanticide is a reality amongst the poor, and baby girls are
often abandoned in the street, left at the gates of orphanages,
or even killed. Uneducated girls work in the fields, factories
or as a servant for just a few rupees, their only other choice
is to marry. There is no way they would ever be able to choose
their future. Some girls taken into the Grace Children’s Home
are from families whose father has abandoned them because he had
no sons. In poor families, a girl child is not considered to be
worth educating. GTWF seeks to address this problem by giving
them a home and an education. Their future is altered for ever
because they will leave the Home with an education and the
ability to make their own decisions. Marriage or a career — it
will be their choice.
Child Labour is also a reality, and now GCH is seeking to
address this problem. It is illegal for children to work before
the age of 15, but poor families will sometimes have many
children, so that they can send them to work. They see this as a
way of making money. The more children they can send out to
work, the more money comes into the family. The children will
have no education because they are at work as soon as they are
old enough, often when they are 4 or 5 years of age. Some of the
children in the Home have been rescued from factories, farm
labouring or domestic service. They are given a home, good food,
clothing and an education. We can only take in as many as we can
support financially, which is why we need sponsors.
HOUSES FOR KEY WORKERS
It became apparent very soon that there was a need for proper
housing accommodation for some of the key workers. Most of the
staff initially lived in rooms in the Home, and this was
obviously not satisfactory. Money was raised for this project
and following an extremely generous gift from one of our
supporters, enough funding was raised to build the apartments.
The money was sent out in three stages, and the apartments were
officially ‘opened’ in 2007.