Help the Dalits of South India through Kathryn’s Mercy Home Trust
Kathryn’s Mercy Home Trust, in Devakottai, South India, welcomes volunteers, ideally in pairs, to teach at nursery or primary level, and to help care for children in the girls’ hostel to enable them to attend secondary school. Two or three month placements preferred. Food and accommodation are provided free of charge, so this is one of the cheapest placements available with Christians Abroad, at approximately £2000 for three months. This includes the return air fare, visa, insurance and the Christians Abroad administration fee.
Rev. Jeyapaul and his friend were the first 2 Dalit (formerly known as ‘untouchable’) boys from their remote village to be educated. The friend is now a teacher, and Jeyapaul is a pastor in the Church of South India. Quite separately from his pastoral work, he and his family run the most amazing hostel and community development project in Devakottai, two and a half hours drive east from the large city of Madurai. The project has a strong Christian ethos, although many of the children are Hindus.
Rev. Jeyapaul writes: ‘Devakottai is a small town surrounded by many remote villages in Tamil Nadu, in the south east of India. It is a very dry and poor area, where people depend on agricultural work for 6 months of the year, and for the remaining time they cut firewood and work in brick manufacture; there are no factories or industry in the district. Children have to travel 20 or 30 miles to attend high school, and the result is that poor parents put their children to work with them. So our Mercy Home project provides poor children with an education which would otherwise be denied them. We started the project in 1988 with fifteen boys; now there are over 350 poor children receiving a very good education.
‘Apart from the hostel we are running a nursery and infant school, Rural Child Development Centres in the villages, a home for unsupported elderly ladies, a tailoring training course, a computer course and free medical camps.’
Accommodation is provided on the hostel campus, where volunteers have their own room with modern facilities. Meals are taken with the hostel girls and elderly ladies from a sister project, Joan’s Grace Home.
Proper hospital services are situated just twelve miles away, but there is no malaria in this region, so no anti-malarial medication is needed.