Life at Mabel’s Care Centre -Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
In the early hours of the morning, you will find Jayanthi and her staff starting the day with devotions. The staff are then ready to welcome eager parents who bring their children from the local community. Shortly after 8 am, 55 young children (ages 2-5) begin arriving for our full-day early childhood program, bundled up against the morning cold. Others come with their mothers, who can leave their children at day care while they join the Women’s Empowerment Program in a room upstairs. Each day begins and ends with prayer. The children spend the day in a safe and nurturing environment where they are taught Scripture verses, action songs, Bible and morality stories and how to pray. They are fed two nutritious meals and healthy snacks. A medical and public health team provides immunizations, nutritional supplements and tracks their growth.
Around 4:30 pm, as the young children and the women leave, 50 graduates of the Early Childhood Program (ages 6-17) arrive for After-School care to receive academic tutoring, learn vocational skills such as basket-making, knitting and sewing, and receive Christian education. They have an opportunity for supervised play and receive a healthy snack before they leave for their homes at 6:30 pm.
All the programs at Mabel’s Care Centre take place in a two-story rented building. On the top floor, one of the two rooms is used for the Women’s Empowerment Program, while the other room is used for staff meetings and is where the medical team cares for our children. The Care Centre is on the ground floor and consists of two activity rooms, a small kitchen, restrooms and a nice play area in the back.
Hold the Hand of a Child in Need
Environment at Mabel’s Care Centre
The children at Mabel’s Care Centre come from impoverished families. While the Women’s Empowerment Program allows some women to earn better and more consistent income, typically the parents of the children are day laborers. This means they find whatever temporary jobs they can, working in the fields, collecting firewood in the forests or performing other menial labor. Most of their homes are made of mud walls with tin sheet roofing and lack running water and sanitary facilities. Disease, abandonment, unemployment, alcoholism and abuse are major hardships for children in the area. Inadequate clean water supply especially impacts the youngest children, and the threat of infectious disease is always present.
The staff make regular home visits to meet with the parents and to assess the children’s home environments. The Mabel Care Centre also provides hygiene and other public health education for the community.
For the opportunity to serve these children of God, we give thanks. From desperate and hopeless situations, they are being nurtured and equipped to change their world through Jesus’ love.
The Staff of Mabel’s Care Centre
Under the loving and caring leadership of Jayanthi and her staff, each of these children receives individual attention and is carefully monitored for academic, physical and emotional progress. The Day Care staff includes three teachers, a cook and an assistant. Two teachers oversee the After-School program, assisting with school subjects. Our students in the After-School program perform well above average in school, so the places at the Mabel’s Care Centre are in high demand in the community.
Teachers: P Elisabeth Jayanthi, Vanithanamary S, Shobana A, Pradeepa V, Sudha B
Cook: Kirubavanthi P; Assistant: Flora Kodimalar Mary G
During a home visit, our staff found Diya playing alone in a neighbor’s home. Both parents were speech and hearing impaired, so at four years old, Diya communicated only through sign language. The first day she came to Mabel’s Care Centre she was very thin, barefoot and dressed in dirty, tattered clothes. It was difficult for her to interact or play with the other children, and instead she would stare intently at their faces when they spoke. Her teeth were already decaying from poor nutrition and hygiene, so even when she tried to speak, it was difficult for her to enunciate her words properly. Our patient and loving staff have been able to help her learn to care for herself as well as speak and communicate. With nourishing food, medical care and much love from her teachers, Diya has become a happy and self-confident child. She especially enjoys playing with the different colorful toys and looking at picture books.
History of Mabel’s Care Centre
In Kodaikanal on October 5, 1989, Bethania Kids opened its first Day Care Centre, Mabel’s Day Care Centre, in the village of Pambarpuram. Mrs. Betsy Dailey, an alumna of Kodaikanal International School, started this center as a Montessori school and called it “a crèche,” the local term for a day-care center. When she left India to return to the United States, she asked Bethania Kids to assume the operation of the programs. Mabel’s Care Centre was named in memory of Betsy’s beloved grandmother Mabel.
How Can You Help?
- Please continue to pray for the children, women and families served by Mabel’s Care Centre. We are reaching out with the love of Christ to serve so many.
- Sponsor a Child (one or more) at Mabel’s Care Centre. There are 55 children in Day Care and 50 in After School Care. $35 per month or $420 per year provides for all expenses for each child sponsored.
- Churches and individuals may consider gifts to cover expenses for a month or a year of running the Mabel’s Care Centre Early Childhood and After School programs.
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.