A Glimpse into Dholdholi, Odisha
Odisha is one of the poorest states in India. Dholdholi is in a rural agrarian area where farming is the norm. Bethania Kids operates our day care, after-school care and women’s empowerment programs in a solid new care center completed in 2017. Dholdholi is in a remote location, and it takes two days for Board of Trustees and management staff to travel there. Though the journey is arduous, travelers are rewarded with a glorious mix of color, dancing, music, and tribal rituals.
Here, a remarkable transformation is happening in the lives of the children and their families. Most everyone works in the fields, and four out of five families live on less than $1 a day. Living conditions are primitive with a lack of basic knowledge in hygiene, healthy habits and medical care. Education is not considered important, and many of the children don’t attend school, which is offered only through 5th grade. Consequently, most people are illiterate. We began our ministry in Dholdholi in 2012, recognizing the extreme needs of the community and specifically the children.
Our new Child and Mother Care Centre building is a beautiful space for the 50 children who walk an average of two miles from their respective villages to attend. It is still another two miles of walking to get to their school. These distances are a big reason many of the children skip school. It’s no wonder the children were so delighted when our Child and Mother Care Centre acquired 16 bicycles for them to ride to school! They eagerly learned to ride the bicycles and now happily double up to ride to school. The teachers are also very pleased that these children will now be more likely to attend school regularly.
Hold the Hand of a Child in Need
A Typical Day at the Dholdholi Centre
It is early in the morning when the 50 children start arriving at the center. They wash up after the long walk from their homes before morning devotions begin at 7:30 am, followed by an hour of study time. They are fed breakfast before they depart for school, now on bicycles. The children return from school to the Child and Mother Care Centre at 4 pm. After playing for half an hour, they get help with their homework, are fed and pray together before heading back home. Three teachers, a cook and a helper care for these children, demonstrating God’s love in action.
While the children are at school, our staff make home visits to teach family members the same values and lessons the children are being taught and to reaffirm the importance of attending school. They also educate the family about issues such as cleanliness, proper handling of food, disease prevention, family planning and childcare.
Worship services are held on Saturdays at the Dholdholi Child and Mother Care Centre. The children are eager to attend and enthusiastically participate.
Meet Mukunda Santa
The story of Mukunda Santa reflects the difference Bethania Kids’ Child and Mother Care Centre has made in one child’s life. Now 13 years old, Mukunda has been at the center for several years. His father is an alcoholic and was unable to make a sufficient living to sustain the family. Because of his family problems, Mukunda did not attend school until he came to our center. He is now in 5th grade, attends school regularly and is known to be a good and obedient student. Additionally, his father has stopped drinking and is now able to support Mukunda’s family.
Staff Serving the Child and Mother Care Centre at Dholdholi
Blagaan Harijan is in charge of the the Dholdholi Centre. The Project Care Taker is Nabin Sauntha, assisted by Champa Hantal and Ashrita Mandingi. Blagaan expresses his thanks for your prayers and financial support. Hope is being built for 50 needy, poor and downtrodden children who come from illiterate, very poor families in remote villages. The children are happy being part of the Bethania Kids family. Excellent care is provided for their physical, spiritual and educational improvements.
History of Dholdholi Child and Mother Care Centre
Like the sister program in nearby Cilpajodi, the Dholdholi Child and Mother Care Centre began through the tribal ministry of Godfrey Rajkumar, who traveled the remote areas of Odisha helping those in desperate situations. When Mr. Rajkumar joined Bethania Kids, he began offering needed services to families in this remote area of Odisha. Started in a rented church building, the program for children and families prospered. With the resources of a new building and a new well-trained staff, the Dholdholi Centre soon became the center of community life. The new Dholdholi Care Centre was built in 2017 thanks to a generous gift from the Pitts family.
How Can You Help?
- This ministry needs constant prayer! It is in a tribal area, remote and difficult to reach yet doing well serving the community. Please pray for the children, parents and staff.
- Donate $35/month or $420/year to Sponsor a Child (one or more).
Hold the Hand of a Child in Need
There are countless ways to participate in this vibrant ministry and share God’s love with the children at Bethania Kids.