In the fishing villages around Uppada and Kakinada in the Indian state of Adhra Pradesh, life is hard: people live on what little they can get from the sea. Many escape the hopeless life through alcohol. Violence and disease follow. Only a few parents can read and write. Children in particular suffer from these difficult living conditions. The children's home Anandanilayam has become a new home for Deepu and Saraha.
Deepu: Escape from a life of violence
Four years ago, the situation in her family became unbearable for Deepu's (name changed) mother: she separated from her husband, who repeatedly beat her when he was drunk. Together with her two children, she fled from the fishing village of Balusuthippa to Uppada, 40 km away. For all of them, the Anandanilayam children's home became a refuge. After the mother found work as a domestic helper and was able to move into a modest hut in a slum, Deepu stayed at the children's home. Here he was cared for, was able to go to school and received appropriate support. He is now in the eighth grade.
Protection from physical and psychological damage
For the currently more than 70 girls and boys, the children's home means more than just a place to sleep, eat and receive an education: it is a real place of protection. Without the security of a permanent home, there is a threat of forced labor, abuse or addiction to drugs and alcohol. Often the children there are social orphans: They still have at least one parent or relative, but these are too poor to provide adequately for their children. At the children's home, these girls and boys are safe and can continue to maintain contact with their family.
Saraha: Welcome and encouraged as a girl
Saraha (name changed) also comes from a similar background as Deepu. Her mother was given to her father as a second wife. That alone did not make her position in the family easy. When the mother gave birth to "only" a girl, she was ridiculed, bullied and eventually disowned by her husband and the rest of the family. Saraha was placed in a children's home, and her mother works as a day laborer on construction sites. She is grateful that her twelve-year-old daughter is well and safely housed and can go to school. This is still not common standard for girls in India.
A day at the children's home: Living and learning together
The children's home run by our partner CREAM is affiliated with a local church. The girls and boys should also experience spiritual life. Accordingly, the day begins at 6 a.m. with a time of prayer and devotion. On Sunday, all children attend the church service. In addition to fixed meals – school attendance, free play, and homework time are part of a normal daily routine. The children enjoy being with each other and are happy to be supported at school.
Prospects for Deepu and Saraha
Deepu and Saraha developed well at the children's home. They became physically healthy and their emotional state increasingly improved. Through the staff, they found faith. Saraha, who is currently in 5th grade, would like to become a police officer. Deepu also has big goals: The 14-year-old wants to become an engineer.