India March 2020

Supporting the educational needs of widows and their children

Like always time has passed so fast in Tiruvannamalai/India, where Paulette and I stayed during the winter saison. Being back home, I wonder if you get our newsletters regularly, so that I can carry on, where I left off last time. If not, you can go to: „How it all began..“ and read it.I will start with the most beautiful joys: We have found two enchanting, smart social workers: Priya, who started work already last year, Anuscha is new. Both have an open heart for our women, respect, compassion, knowledge of the English language and computer capacities. They all have this! When they descend from their two-wheelers in the middle of the slums of Tiru in their beautiful saris, it is clear, that everything will be turning out very well. It actually does, because behind them are Manoharan, Lioba and many dear sponsors like YOU! Priya and Anuscha will write short reports about the help needing widows and their children, they have visited.We invite the women with their children into our office on Saturday morning, so that weget to know their situation and their needs. Many of them only want support for the education of their children. The basic needs of school uniform, school bag and school utensils are always granted. Most of the women are working and living on the minimum level of life. They earn 150 Rupies per day for work in the fields or in the peanut-factory, which is: 2 Dollars a day. They manage to survive, but are not able to afford a decent school education for their children, which they are longing for most. The education of their children is their highest goal, which we want to support.Paulette has got a sponsor child since one year, whose school is sponsored by her. She got into a veryintimate contact with her and her mother this winter and has suggested, that we create a new program , where sponsors from outside countries will pay for the education of the children of the widows. We all agreed and love to initiate this new programm.Here are the costs for the education of children, who will be supported according to their personal capacities: (All details are meant for one year.)
Government School up to 12th standart:……….100 $
Private School up to 12th standart:……………….250 $
Medical College/ 2 years…………………………….300 $ (for becoming a nurse)
Medical College/ 5 years…………………………….500 $ (for becoming a doctor)
Engineer College/4 years…………………………….400 $
Mechanic/Polytechnic College/ 2 years………..300 $

These may vary according to corrections of cours during the years.)

The paying of the education fees is a huge joy for the mothers, who earn just the necessary amount for surviving, but cannot afford the education fees, or medical expenses or the expenses for the repair of their houses. Please give us a note, if you are willing to sponsor a child and her/his education. The connection between you and the child will be very personal, also if you cannot come to India for a visit. We will do every effort, to maintain a relationship between you and your sponsorchild.
My sponsorchild ́s name is Nandini. She is living with her mother in a hut in the slums in the center of Tiruvannamalai, how you cannot imagine in your worst dreams. Both belong to the lowest cast: the Dalits. There exist no marriages, because nobody has money to pay the dowry. Nandinis mother was left by the father of her child already when she was pregnant.The mother of Nandini kept their lives by working in the peanut-factory (2 $ a day) and selling peanuts in the evening on the streets. Nandini helped her, when she was older. Nandini is very intelligent and financed her school herself, as well as the first year of her studies in the Teachers College, which she attended not personally but by letters, that would be send to her.The second year, she was not able to go on. It is me, an old retired teacher, who is so happy to support a young woman, who will be a perfect teacher in future. Ido not know, when spending money has made me so happy.Another problem and sorrow for the widows and their children is the medical treatment, if necessary. This is also a problem for our widows in Old Age Home. Up to now it was payed by Shanthimalai Ashram, who supported us in this respect. Now they cannot do this anymore. So, when Nagapushnam, a widow in our Home needed intensive care in our hospital for 10 days, the costs amounted to 65.000 Rupies (about 700 $). These costs are not in our budget. So we very much hope for donations of our dear donors in USA and Germany.I want to tell you about visiting the house of Marimuthu and her 3 children. She had given away one child, because there was no room on the floor of her little, miserable hut, where it could sleep. In addition to this, the hut was standing in the middle of the sewage system. There was no doubt, that we had to rebuild her little house immediately. The costs of 2000 $ were immediately donated by Lioba. We started building one week later and 5 weeks later a beautiful little house was ready.Another very happy event was the planned pick up of Lakshmi, an 80 year old widow, with a widow rent of 1000 Rupies (about 14 $), who lived in a little village 20 miles away from Tiruvannamalai. Her daughter lived 4 hours away and said, she could not take care of her mother. On arrival, we heard that Lakshmi was on her way to say good-bye to all her friends in the village. In the meantime we spend a great time with very friendly neighbourwomen, who told us, that Lakshmi is very well supported by all the women in the village. When the daughter finally brought her mother, we knew, that Lakshmi wanted to stay in this beautiful little village, where she was born and stayed all her lifetime. She cried of happiness, when we told her, we would not take her, but leave her in this beautiful community of her village. Maybe we will have a little party next year, when we visit her again???? Our Om Shanthi Old Age Home is a joy for us and everybody, who visits us. We had 5 concerts with many guests from the whole world. Selvi Kumari who suffers from shizophrenia had to go back into the clinic, where we picked her up last year, to be treated again with new medication. We are very grateful to the doctor, who came immediately when we called him and takes good care of her.A special joy was the visit of Anita, an Australian accupuncturist, who treated all of us with needles. Maybe her settling down in Tiruvannamalai next year, would be a great joy for all of us.Now I only can always repeat to express my deep gratitude for your dear donations, your good wishes and prayers and for your interest in the life of our widows and our work. Without your dear support nothing could ever happen. May the joy, we experience with this work, come to you! There is always our invitation to come to us to visit us in India, in order to participate the joy and love!With lots of loves from all our staff and the widows

Paulette and Anna