Park Grove Methodist Church
The library is one of the cleanest, best organised libraries I've seen in a children's home. The room has lots of natural light with a large table in the middle for reading. The girls have access to the books in the evening and during holidays there are CDs and DVDs for everyone to enjoy. Upstairs from the library is the computer room which houses 10 fully working computers. Each standard has access for an hour each weekday evening to learn Word, Excel and PowerPoint. All rooms have electric lighting and ceiling fans which are powered from the mains. Electricity connection is good. Tamil radio is played loudly every morning for news and music whilst the girls perform morning chores such as cleaning the compound, and get themselves ready for school.
Behind the main building are the shower and toilet blocks. For the time being all the buildings are in good repair and the site has good drainage. There are 2 bore wells and drinking water is brought in once a week and purified on site. The main water storage is a large concrete block that stands about a metre high in front of the main office. When it's time to do laundry a girl will stand on top of this block and drop a bucket into the water, drag it up by hand and pour it into the laundry bucket of the girl at the front of the long queue.
That girl will then move over to a boulevard of trees on the other side of the compound where she will sit on a small stone at the top of a large, long slab of stone and proceed to soap and scrub her clothing. You have to be careful not to stand behind them as at any given moment they will windmill the item through the air smacking it down onto the slab. I marvelled watching this how they got on diligently with this physically demanding task - something you would not ever see a western child do, at least not without great complaint. All the girls do their own laundry apart from the 1st to 3rd standards as they are too young, Meenakshi, who has been brought up at MSGH since she was very young, now one of the carers, helps them with that task.
Over the opposite side of the compound are the volunteer quarters, seldom used now that Projects Abroad (Volunteer agency) has gone out of business, which consists of several large rooms with en suite shower and toilet. I spent 2 nights here which was extremely comfortable. The first room on this block is a small kitchen where Seetha cooks for herself and her daughters and also any volunteers. The food is outstanding, and the hospitality tear jerking! By the kitchen is a small garden that grows mint, chilli, brinjal, okra and snake gourd.
At the back of the compound is a play area with climbing frames and a slide which the girls refer to as the park, an area donated by a JHC sponsor.
Here the girls will clamber fearlessly about the frames hanging or balancing as they know it will make a good photo. The girls also play football and Tennikoit as well as running and hide and seek which involves Seetha hiding a biscuit! They also enjoy playing chess and carrom as well as the usual playground hand-clapping games and rhymes.
The approach to healthcare here is extremely proactive. Every three months Dr Latha visits from the government hospital to give each girl a check up. The worst finding last year was a case of tonsillitis but the child in question had the operation and is now fine. All the girls have their own toothbrushes and toothpaste (as well as soap, towels, blankets and 'inner' wear), mainly donated by JHC or local donors. There is regular distribution of multi vitamins as well as supplements of calcium and iron and also 'tonic drops'. HIV and AIDS education is given at the school and at the home by a government counsellor.
The general religious mix of the girls is Hindu & Christian. There is a beautiful shrine to Hindu God Ganesh on the water block but all religious festivals are celebrated and the prayers held twice a day are common prayers non specific to one religion. Every year all the girls are taken on a weekend trip, this year's plan is to go to Ooty and Coimbatore.
Madurai Sevashram Girls Home
Annual Report 2016/2017
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Park Grove Methodist Church.