It is a long time ago now since we started the process of trying to form our own charitable organisation in the UK. Since the germ of an idea settled in our minds, almost 12 months have passed, and I didn’t think at all that it would take so long.
Anyway, we are delighted to announce at last, with the acknowledgement of our organisation number from HMRC ( the Inland Revenue), the formation of Chaithanya Orphanage UK – a group focused on raising funds for the benefit and relief of poverty of rural children in India.
Regular readers will be aware of our fascination for India and of our links to friends in Andhra Pradesh who run community projects to promote self-sustaining development and environmental awareness. The time has come to create the orphanage, and who knows, perhaps one day create a purpose built environment where these youngsters can feel safe and grow into young adults with a view to a future.
A 2011 report by SOS Children’s Village estimated that there are 20 million children in India who have been orphaned. Of these, the vast majority have simply been abandoned primarily due to poverty. The study also highlighted that a large number of these children struggle to survive let alone have access to education or welfare. The “Mother India – Life through the eyes of the Orphan” documentary of 2012 (Harvest India, USA) stated that there were around 31 million orphans in India. Either way, the situation is clearly grave. In the southern zone, including Andhra Pradesh, it is estimated that there are at least 4 million orphan children.
Unicef’s State Profile of Andhra Pradesh includes the following assessment;
“…. access to and quality of basic services in health, nutrition, education and sanitation remain poor – especially for disadvantaged social groups such as the scheduled castes and tribes – thus challenging the trajectory and nature of state sponsored development programmes towards a new thinking and focus….
….Given the demographic composition of the state, where nearly 28 million of the population are between the ages of 6-18 (constituting 37%), the implications of a lagging social sector for the overall well-being of children in the state is a major issue of concern …”
Imperial College, London’s recent report on School Health in India also states…
“…..Andhra Pradesh’s Government does aim to support orphans and vulnerable children living in children’s hostels/homes, however, enhanced effort to directly support nutrition of these especially vulnerable children is a recognised need.”
(“Situation Analysis. A Summary of School Health in India and in Four States” ,The Partnership for Child Development– Imperial College , London 2013)
Our efforts may clearly be a drop in the ocean, but there are many drops, and each time we help a youngster up off the floor we give someone a chance.
We started with 3 children – now there are 9 – and the plan is with the help of our funding to grow and help more.
We are committed and excited by the prospect of getting involved with something so positive that will make a difference. Our organisation, as is that of our partners, Chaithanya, in B. Kothakota, is secular and, in their case of course, casteless. The only motive is a humanitarian one.
We have high hopes and big ideas. We hope you will share the journey with us, and if you feel inclined, when the opportunity arises, support us. And it’s not just donations. If you have a fund-raising idea, are able to organise one for us, or know of relevant grant giving organisations and Trusts, then we would be delighted to hear about it.
Right now, it’s about spreading the word. Who knows what we can achieve?