India: Precious help for children – Between exams and holidays

by Ulrike Kern/SRI,  2009/05/22

For some years already, humedica has been supporting the work of PENIEL SOCIAL INSTITUTE, which consists of a children’s home and two schools. The project is situated in Kolar Gold Fields, on the outskirts of the metropolitan city of Bangalore (in the south-Indian state of Karnataka). It is managed by Ulrike Kern and her husband, Pastor Louis Paul Kern.

Education is the key to escaping poverty: this is what the project work in India, which is supported by humedica, is counting on. Photo: PENIEL

Her latest report to humedica contains lots of exciting information about the multifaceted work related to the project, which is committed particularly to help children in need.

The educational sector of the project is constituted by two establishments that are comparable to a primary school and a secondary school offering education up to what would be approximately eighth grade in Germany.

Being situated in a rather rural region of India (despite its proximity to Bangalore), the project makes school attendance possible for many children from remote villages. For them, the way to a public school would be much too long.

PENIEL SOCIAL INSTITUTE is complemented by a children’s home in which orphans, abandoned children and children who have been living on the streets can find a new home.

Summer time – a difficult time

Large parts of India are part of those countries in the world that during summer time not only suffer high temperatures (up to 50° Celsius or 122° Fahrenheit) but also suffer serious existential problems.

Apart from mosquitoes and other insects the children and their carers also encounter special intruders like monkeys and squirrels. Photo: PENIEL

Warm temperatures and continuous drought cause rivers and lakes, important suppliers of raw material for the supply of the population, to dry up. For months, water – a vital good - is very scarce.

In her report, Ulrike Kern reaffirms: “Those who particularly suffer from the water shortage are the poorest of the poor. The living conditions of these people are beyond our imagination.”

So far, the premises of PENIEL SOCIAL INSTITUTE have not been directly affected, merely the water pressure in the water pipes has diminished significantly. Yet there are some conditions caused by the warm weather that no one can escape.

An uncountable number of small fruit flies and mosquitoes is buzzing through the sweltering air, rather unimpressed by the measures taken against them.

In April, an uncommon visitor could be admired: A monkey had lost his way on the premises of the institute and developed a liking for the coconut palms. The uninvited visitor could only be driven away after some days by a team member who was experienced in dealing with animals.

Between school and holidays

In April, many students from the project had to sit end-of-term-exams in their classes. The school system of India stipulates a long summer break starting around the beginning of May. After this break, lessons take place almost continuously until May of the following year. At the end of each school year students have to sit exams which they have to pass in order to enter the next grade.

One third of the Indian population is younger than 15: The PENIEL – projects are investing in the future of the country. Photo: PENIEL

Year after year, at the beginning of the holidays, the PENIEL-team reopens the Gospel-children’s club. This year’s edition of the popular holiday programme started on April 14th with 50 children who were arranged in different groups, and for 6 days participated regularly at the activities offered.

At the end of this exciting time, all children received a certificate for their participation in the club and a small rewarding like a mini-drum, a lunch box or sweets. This is a real festival for the children!

Again and again, the staff tries to make everyday life more enjoyable for the children at the school and in the children’s home. Apart from the children’s club, sports days and other events as well as picnics or trips to the close city of Bangalore are organized from time to time.

The PENIEL-Kids: Offering future prospects through concrete support and education

humedica supports the project’s work in India with 1200 Euros a month. With this amount, a large part of the necessary budget of the two schools and the children’s home, as well as the running costs of the school bus, are covered. We can offer this help thanks to the support of our friends and sponsors.

Please help us through a targeted donation to make the work at PENIAL SOCIAL INSTITUTE possible in the future. Thank you very much.

We also would like to express heartfelt thanks in the name of the PENIEL staff and all students.

Ulrike Kern manages PENIEL SOCIAL INSTITUTE together with her husband, Pastor Louis Paul Kern. They have got two daughters and one son. Photo: privat

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