Eph’Phatha Orphan Home
|Eph’phatha Orphan home|
|Aim||Supporting orphaned children in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Staff||2: Nehru and Ruby|
|People reached||30 orphans live in Eph’phatha; 20 more children come for day care|
|Donation||25,000 Rupees (554 USD)|
Through a friend in London we knew about Ruby and Nehru and their orphanage in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. We have been looking forward to visit them, and they have been expecting us. So it is exciting for all of us when we meet in the main hall of the Chennai railway station at 7am on March 9th. We haven’t really slept well on our overnight train from Bangalore, and doze off on the backseat of the car our hosts so kindly have arranged to bring us to Tiruvannamalai.
And there we are welcomed and hailed like royals. Thirty children wave and chant and there’s confetti and foam and a big sign “Welcome Kamiel and Yeon” and they give us chocolate and paper hearts. The orphan home is located in a rental building (7000 rupees/month) with a palm leaves thatched roof Nehru constructed himself. There is a living room with some donated couches in it, and three smaller rooms where the children sleep.
We support Eph’Phatha by setting up several income generating projects. We start with the Pickle Project. Since Ruby is a learned cook with a faible for pickling, all the expertise is available. We simply jump on a rickshaw together, rush through the dusty streets of Tiruvannamalai and buy hardware and ingredients: a paraffin stove, plastic jars in different sizes, spices, salt, vinegar, garlic, tomatoes. Ruby amazes us by beginning that same night. We will bring a sample of Eph’Phatha Pickles with us to convince communities in other countries to make pickles. With the rotting fruits and cabbages in Africa in mind, this idea makes a lot of sense.
The Tailoring Project doesn’t mean that Eph’Phatha fashion hits any major runway soon, but it can certainly become a sustainable source of income. Apart from that, it is a life skills training for some of the children. We jump on a rickshaw again, buy a sewing machine, scissors, needles, threads, fabric, and bring everything to Eph’phatha. They start tailoring immediately and soon some fashionable pillow covers are ready. The enthusiasm just baffles us.
Finally, we support education, albeit in an indirect way. We buy four strong tables for the children to study on. The first one we make ourselves, the other three are done by a carpenter and very professionally. We let the children design and paint the board, and soon the first table is covered with a rose and a butterfly. The children are happy with their new furniture, but don’t forget about the old stools and tables that all get a paint job.
We help Eph’Phatha setting up a blog and will contribute to it in the future. Also a virtual friendship with African children might excite them when they exchange their ideas of the future.
We are very thankful to Nehru and Ruby, they prove to be excellent managers of their orphan home.
|Eating with the children|