I’ve decided to share with you a few pictures and experiences I had during my recent visit to the Heal Childrens Village. I’m one of the Heal trustees and although I’ve visited the Heal Village and Bala Kuteer school a number of times, I had never stayed for more than 48 hours, so this was a chance to spend more time with the children, and see how things work.
The above picture was an impromptu group photograph. You can just about see me at the back in the middle, and Steve (a Heal colleague) down near the front. In the background you can see some of the dormitories at the Heal Village. The children love spending time with visitors to the village, and having their photographs taken.
Heal also provides an education to children from neighbouring villages who have families (we call it our Poverty Trap project), but their parents wouldn’t normally be able to afford to send their children to school. I caught the school bus to see for myself the type of homes these children come from. Believe it or not, there are 120 children on this bus!
I took this picture which shows the typical type of home our Heal children go home to. They’re unlikely to have running water, an electricity supply and they’re unlikely to get good quality food when they’re at home. So, by offering a free education to these children, Heal also provides a good midday meal.
Heal children study at the neighbouring Chetana School. The school has recently been donated a number of second hand computers and a computer teacher has been hired, but I feel we need to put more focus on IT skills, and installing better hardware and software. Also the computer lab is not connected to the internet at present so definitely more work to do here.
Spending time with the children also included eating with them, although eating with my fingers is still a knack I struggle with! The Heal Children’s Village is strictly vegetarian and the children receive good portions of food every day.
Steve Sargent and I decided to do a few running repairs to the drainage from the dormitories (which was quite tough in 38 degree heat). Luckily the teenage boys at the village were keen to get involved so I ended up in more of a supervisory role.
Heal looks after children from around 3 years old and supports them right through their higher education. There’s currently 42 Heal children now in higher education, and in the summer a further 24 children will be joining them. We have now created a Higher Education Sponsorship Programme and we are actively looking for new sponsors.
You’ve got to admit, there’s some very cute kids at the village, and I must stress that these children are very lucky to looked after by the Heal India team.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this Heal project and seeing the great work undertaken by the House Mothers, and the staff at Heal India.
But we must not rest on our laurels, and further improvements to the lives of the children need implementing, such as introducing more variety in their diet, and improving the teaching facilities at the school. I’m really glad I took the time to see how things work, and I’ll be reporting my findings to the Heal UK trustees in due course.
Head of Fundraising