Sunday 15th – The Friendship Home for vulnerable and orphaned children living with HIV
FOI Vice President Diana Smith arrived in Tirunelveli from Geneva, and after a 20-hour journey was immediately whisked away to a third birthday celebration of the opening of the Friendship Home!
Pam, Ted and Diana were entertained with 3 hours of song, dance and speeches – followed by a monster feast. Exhausting – but giving out the presents of bags and cards from Ecole Moser, special birthday hats and sweets was so much fun…. and they all loved it!
There are now 45 wonderful children living at the Home, including the newest additions – Robert who is only 18 months old and his 5-year-old sister – both their parents died of AIDS in the last few months.
Pam and Ted again visited the school and potential hostel building – to complete some filming . Poor Diana developed laryngitis and a chest infection so could not be with them. Pam interviewed a candidate teacher while Ted put on his auditor’s hat to check the books of the book-binding unit, after a visit to the production line. A real success story of self-sustainability as this unit is now generating enough profit to cover the basic monthly costs of the 45 children at the Friendship Home.
While Pam finally had a bit of a rest, and Diana, who is feeling a little better, had a quiet day, Ted went to a slum area in central Maderai to visit the Chris Powell Centre run by the amazing, beautiful and indefatigable Dr Ammu Amirtham.
They run health camps, provide special coaching for teenage girl school drop-outs and provide skills training – benefiting 2,300 women and girls over the last year. Their major success is in tailoring where 20 women who received training are now producing garments at the centre for 4 shops and individual clients.
At present they are in rented accommodation at a high rent. They would love to have their own building – but this would cost CHF 60’000 to buy and equip…