India: Children's homes in South India

Children, and particularly girls, often lead difficult lives in India. The facilities offered by the Church of South India allow many to escape child labor and oppression.

Athira lives in a children's home run by the Church of South India (CSI). She hails from a poor family. Her father passed away when she was young and her mother's new partner was addicted to alcohol, often subjecting her to abuse. In order to protect her daughter from further harm, Athira's mother took her to a children's home of the CSI. Athira takes this to be a gift, since she is now able to attend school and make new friends. She feels safe and protected while at the home. Many of Athira's friends share a similar history: Prior to finding a new home at the children's homes provided by the Church of South India, they were oppressed and forced into child labor. This often occurs in India's rural areas, where the incomes of many farmer families prove too low to allow for survival. Attending school remains a far-off dream for most of these children.

Providing a prospect for the future

When a family's economic situation becomes difficult, girls are the first who are forced to give up their education. They have to help with household tasks, work on the fields or break stones in the quarries for just a few rupees. In order to provide these girls with better life prospects, EMS is increasingly supporting girls' homes in India. Regardless of whether they are from Christian, Hindu or Muslim families, they all live together in the homes and come to understand and respect one another. The children are able to gain a sense of security provided by the home and to attend school.

The main objective of the Indian children's homes is to give their fosterlings a good education and to provide them with better prospects for the future. Through daily routines and the performance of small tasks, they learn to take responsibility for communal and friendly cohabitation. In cooperation with the respective dioceses, EMS assumes responsibility for seven homes and two educational centers.

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