Paravai Orphanage

Hello Weston Favell Primary School!  

There are two projects here - firstly, a small orphanage for children who do not have any family or anyone to look after them.  Secondly, it is a home for destitute Mothers and their children, who have no homes or anyone to help them.  When such very poor families come to Paravai, they often only have the clothes they are wearing and are usually in very poor health.  So first they are given a medical check-up.  Most just need to be given healthy food to eat to get them better.  

We have similar projects in other places and we help the children by buying their food and milk, school uniforms, books and stationery.  They also need 'everyday' clothes and toiletries - toothbrushes and paste, soap etc.   We also like to buy them toys, games and books. Usually the Mums are trained to be cooks or housekeepers, or are taught to sew and given a sewing machine, so they can work and earn money.  Here, they can also learn to use computers which helps them to get a good job.  All of the ladies who work in our schools, orphanages and children's homes come from Paravai.  They are the cooks, gardeners and wardens (people who help and look after the children.)  They are all very happy to work with the children and their own children go to our schools.

Monday evening, 12th November 2012.  

I had not been to visit this project before but my friend Hilaria now worked here and as I would be going right past the entrance anyway, it was not difficult to arrange!  As we came up the driveway, I could see a crowd of people, women and children, waiting for me.  But then I got VERY confused!  I had not been here before but I recognised so many of the children!  How could this be? They were running towards me shouting ‘Welcome Julie-Auntie!’ and were happy to see me again!  These were the children I recognised:-

Then it was explained to me.  Some of the children were from Karisalpatti and others from Kodai Kanal.  These children do not have any family or anyone to look after them.  So in term time they live at one of our Boardings and go to our schools.  In the holidays (and this was Diwali holiday) they live here.  There were also other children here with their mothers, temporarily living at Paravai.   

Monday evening was VERY frightening!!!  At Diwali, they light fireworks - and it is the children who light them!  They have firecrackers which frighten the life out of me!  The children were doing absolutely everything you should NOT do such as going back to re-light a firework they thought had gone out, shooting rockets along the ground instead of up in the air etc etc.  How no-one was badly burnt I don’t know!   

The second day of Diwali is the day the children most look forward to.  They get up early and have an oil bath and put on the NEW clothes their families have bought for them.  Only one girl had an uncle who had bought her a new dress and so we bought outfits for everyone else.  (This is coming out of your £214.58 penny trail money!)  How happy do you think the children were - they don't usually have anything new.  The night before, some of them had decorated their hands:-

Then they had a service and a special breakfast, idli - a kind of sponge made from rice, served with a lentil and vegetable sauce, followed by a banana.  I missed this as I was still in bed - having been up all night with a poorly tummy!  For lunch they had rice and curried vegetables. (I had ‘Dioralyte’ and more ‘Dioralyte’ for my tummy!)  In the afternoon I was feeling a lot better and we gave out more gifts - yes, you paid for these as well!  Every child had a new toothbrush, toothpaste, soap for themselves and their clothes and a bottle of coconut oil for their hair.  They were very happy!  

However, the excitement reached a new level when we gave out the next items - pants!  Yes, pants as in knickers!  Most children don’t wear any, as they are too expensive for poor people.  How pleased were they to have pants!  If I had asked you what you though I might spend your money on, you would not have been surprised if I had said ‘on poor children who do not have any family at all.’  You would have been surprised if I had said ‘on pants!!’


Even though we bought lots of things for the children, they did not cost very much at all and so the rest of your money will be kept for their school books and food - and for other children who come here; new ladies and children arrive all of the time. 

I had also bought some sweets - a traditional gift at Diwali, so all in all, a brilliant time!  The children said that their friends would be jealous that they had spent Diwali with Julie-Aunty, but I think as most of them are orphans, they deserved to be treated especially well!

2013 update:-  Weston Favell Primary School gave another £280.00 to help the children here, raised by carol singing and another penny trail.  Thank you all SO much! 

I've just found a picture of some of the toddlers there:-

2014 - £100.00 given for the children.

2015 - £180.00 given, thanks to Weston Favell Primary School.

2016 - no donation this year, but . . . . . 

2017 - Weston Favell Primary School raised £327.54 from their penny trail!  I'm amazed how much money that is, being raised mostly by pennies.  I have to say that some of the trails were rather impressive, going right across the playground and turning back again (rather than going trough the flower beds!)  The money (every penny of it) will be used for the children's food, clothing, education and medical care.  Here are just some of the children who you are helping.

 I also took some pictures that some of the children at Weston Favell School had drawn.  Here is Josephine Alex looking at them.  


Incidentally, we are still helping several of the girls shown in the 2012 picture at the top of the page and three were reunited with their family members.  To see these girls now, have a look at the 'Girl Power' page.

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