A Day at Nathanael Care Centre, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
You enter Nathanael Care Centre through a large fenced front yard that serves as a play area for the children. Children line their shoes and sandals neatly at the front door before entering the facility. This keeps the mats on the floor clean so that the children can sit on them during the day, which is the usual Indian custom. The center has one large activity room, a kitchen and restrooms. If you were to visit, the children would treat you to recitations including the Lord’s Prayer, books of the Old and New Testament and Bible verses.
The 50 young children in the Early Childhood program (ages 3-5) begin arriving at 8:30 am, bundled up against the morning cold. The staff who care for the children include three teachers, a cook who prepares the meals and snacks, and a helper. Every day begins and ends with prayer. The children are taught scripture verses, action songs, Bible and morality stories and how to pray. Their daily instruction also includes lessons in discipline, basic hygiene, correct social interactions with staff and fellow students and numbers and letters. Play time is included each day with dancing, music and drama being their favorite
s activities. The center provides the children two nutritious meals and healthy snacks every day. When the children’s parents pick them up at 4:30 pm, they are so grateful that their children have spent the day in the protective care of Bethania Kids. Often the center sends the children home with food for the weekend.
As the children graduate from the Early Childhood Program and begin school, they return to Nathanael Care Centre every day from 4:30 to 6:30 pm for After-School Care. This ensures that the 55 children (ages 6-14) continue in the healthy habits they learned as young children and that they succeed in school. They are fed a nutritious snack, get help with their schoolwork from the two teachers on staff, have keyboard lessons once a week and continue to hear of God’s love for them.
Hold the Hand of a Child in Need
Nathanael Care Centre Serves the Community
Parents happily bring their children to Nathanael Care Centre because they know Bethania Kids is an organization that gives their children an opportunity to thrive. There is a waiting list for children to gain access to the center. For many, the meals they receive at Nathanael Care Centre are their primary diet. Priority is given to those families with the greatest need.
The Bethania Kids staff serves the children and their extended families by visiting the home of each child every two months to provide support for their families and to see that all is well. These families represent different religious backgrounds, including Christian, Muslim, and Hindu.
Without Nathanael Care Centre, the children would be left unsupervised to wander the streets and get into trouble, often going without food or fundamental guidance and care. The surrounding community has a large problem with unsupervised children causing trouble in their neighborhoods. Community leaders are very thankful that Nathanael Care Centre helps to reduce this problem by providing a safe environment for many of these children. They serve as examples to other neighborhood children regarding correct and respectful behavior. Graduates often return to visit the place that gave them a solid foundation and to the teachers and staff who loved them.
Nivetha is a 3-year-old girl whose mother died when she was young. Her father works as a day laborer and does his best to provide for Nivetha, her 7-year-old brother, and an elderly grandmother. Their living conditions are extremely primitive, with no running water or toilet facilities. When Nivetha first came to Nathanael Care Centre, she frequently cried for her mother’s love. At Nathanael she receives the love and comfort of Christ through the motherly care and compassion of the staff. Gradually, with this daily dose of reassuring love, she is becoming a happier child.
Thanks from a Parent
The gratitude for the sponsors of Nathanael Care Centre is best expressed by one of the parents (translated from Tamil): “There is no word to express our thanks. We are deeply grateful for your sacrificial support and want to give our whole-hearted thanks to our Bethania Kids family. We uphold you in our prayers and hope heavenly blessings shower upon you.”
Gifted Staff Patiently Serve the Children of Nathanael Care Centre
At Nathanael Care Centre, the children are given hope for a better and healthier life. They experience God’s love through Sagunthala Devi and her staff. With the assurance of God’s love for them and the solid foundation of all they have learned at Nathanael Care Centre, the children go forth with confidence as they face the many hardships in their lives.
Teachers: Sagunthala Devi P, Santhi G, Valliammal Ramesh, Sumathi P, Arockia Selvi Vanitha Chinnappan; Cook: Mary Stella Dickaster; Assistant, Esther Rani R.
History of Nathanael Kids Centre
Nathanael Care Centre was opened in 2003. The site is owned by the local government, which gave Bethania Kids permission to use the property to assist the community. Founder Bob Granner, Mr. Prasanna, the then local committee member (and former student of Bob Granner) and his friend Mr. Raguvaran, the Panchayat Councilor, were all instrumental in starting Nathanael Care Centre. Bob suggested naming the center Nathanael Day Care Centre, in honor of his son David Nathanael, also a founding member of Bethania Kids.
How Can You Help?
- Pray for the children and staff of Nathaneal Care Centre. They pray for you daily and give thanks to God for your love and generosity.
- Make a gift of $35/month or $420/year to Sponsor a Child (one or more) at Nathaneal Care Centre.
- If you are a church or an individual, it is possible to sponsor the center for a week, a month or a year, covering all the expenses required.
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.