October 26, 2015
“I have been here for 14 years now. I like sports and dance. People here encourage me. I want to become a manager after my schooling is complete,” says 16-year old Manikandan K., for whom Families for Children is home. Located in Podanur, Families for Children is a private non-profit organization that that takes care of hundreds of orphaned and destitute children. This home opened its doors in 1978 in Podanur.
The home was founded by Canadian national Sandra Simpson, a resident of Montreal. She was saddened by the plight of children in Vietnam. This prompted her to start such homes in many countries in the world. Today, its founder Sandra still supervises all the activities and also runs sponsorship programmes.
The home that is located in Podanur also comes under the direct supervision of Sandra. At present, there are about 300 children residing in this home. They are orphaned, have a mental or physical disability. To take care of these children there are 25 teaching staff and 120 support staff.
“At our home we enrol students from pre-KG to Standard V depending on their age. Once the children complete, depending on their ability to cope with things they are enrolled in a regular school. Students who will not be able to cope with routine activities and studies continue to be residents in this home. We engage such kids in our various vocational activities depending on the skill set they possess,” Kalaselve, Manager of the home, says.
To help their students develop their extra-curricular skills, the home involves them in various in-house projects. There is a mushroom farm project where mushrooms are grown in the campus. The beehive project is the latest one. Staff of the home purchased beehives from local farmers.
Yet another project that is a big hit with the students is the wealth to waste project. “Saris that cannot be used are made into useful items like door mats and bags by our children. The children are supervised by a staff who also gives each child personal attention,” Kalaselve says.
To encourage their children to read, Families for Children has set up a lending library, which houses many books in English and Tamil. There is also a canteen that serves hot meals and snacks. This canteen is open to public as well.
The cost of operating this home in Podanur is Rs. 12 lahk a month. This includes food, medical expenses, salaries, school fees, and the sophisticated medical care that a majority of the children who are residents of this home require. Those interested in supporting Families for Children can contact 0422- 2413235.