Dayavu Home for Boys – Kannivadi, Tamil Nadu
Welcome to Dayavu Home for Boys in Kannivadi, Tamil Nadu state, South India. Kannivadi is near the town of Dindigul and the foothills of the Western Ghats. It was the first of Bethania Kids’ homes, started 30 years ago with just 7 children. A long and bumpy dirt road brings you to Dayavu Home, but once there, you recognize the oasis it is for the boys who live there. As you drive through the gates, the porch across the front of the two-story building beckons you to meet the children. On the bottom floor of the building is an office, a sick room, the kitchen, a large room used for studying and meals as well as one dormitory-style bedroom. The second floor has two more large bedrooms and bathroom facilities. Behind the home is an additional bathroom, a large water tank and a flat concrete area used for washing and drying clothes. It is a very large compound that includes a home for the caretaker’s family, a guest house, an open-air chapel and land for agricultural use.
Hold the Hand of a Child in Need
The Boys of Dayavu Home
The boys at Dayavu Home are there because they had no one to care for them. Some are orphans, some are semi-orphans and others came from dire family situations where poverty and trauma left them struggling to survive. The transition to the disciplined, structured life at Dayavu Home is sometimes difficult but made easier by the support and encouragement from the other boys who have had similar experiences. With the loving care of the staff and the daily provision of nutritious meals, health care and hygienic living, these boys soon flourish. They are full of energy and fun and also show great respect to the staff and to one another.
Although the boys are initially shy, if you visit, they will soon take your hand and invite you to see their pet birds, the peacock, and the vegetables and banana trees they are growing. The coconut grove and papaya and tamarind trees provide wonderful shade as well as food for the kitchen. There is also a large grove of guava trees, teak trees and flowering plants. The playground equipment and expansive space in front of the home allow room for the boys to play their favorite sports. Water availability is often a problem in this area, but thanks to new wells and a drip-irrigation system from Field of Hope, the situation has dramatically improved.
It doesn’t take long for the boys to win your heart at Dayavu Home. The smiles on their faces and sparkles in their eyes are rewarding to see, especially as they have all experienced various forms of trauma in their lives. They take great pride in their tidy bedrooms, the plants they nurture and grow, and the art they create out of sand or flower petals. They are delighted to share these achievements with you. When you ask to take their pictures, they will comb each other’s hair to make sure each looks his best. Should you happen to notice a red seed lying on the ground and pick it up to look at it, before you know it you’re presented with handfuls of those seeds. Hearing them laugh as they are up to their knees in mud while playing in the irrigation ditches of the coconut grove brings home the realization that these boys have been given the gift of a childhood that includes joy and laughter when their lives could have been so different.
My name is Ananthakumar. I came to Dayavu Home when I was five years old and my parents were unable to care for me. I sleep in a bunk bed and have a locker and shelf where I keep my things. I like Dayavu Home very much. I especially like the playgrounds and the volleyball games.
Education is the key to our future! We work very hard to succeed academically at the local school where we go on the Bethania Kids bus. With the help of a tutor after school, we study very hard to succeed. The staff meets regularly with our teachers at the school to make sure we are doing well.
Spiritual life is very important to us. We start each day early, beginning and ending with devotions in which we read scripture verses and sing and pray together. We enjoy presenting religious dramas in the open-air chapel, especially at Christmas time. We pray for you, our sponsors, every evening in devotions and give thanks for all the benefits that Bethania Kids provides for us. Your generous support gives us hope for the future.
What Is Happening at Dayavu Home?
There are many exciting things happening at Dayavu Home, including quite a lot of construction. A new compound wall surrounds the front entrance and part of the right side. The back wooded areas are now fenced and help keep out the goats and other animals that used to cross our property. Now we have protection for our guava, teak and other fruit trees. We added another bathroom for kitchen staff and have recently repaired the guest house, which was the original home of founder Dayavu Dhanapal and her daughter, Priscilla, while they managed the home. The boys enjoyed watching the construction work.
An Alumni Story
As Dayavu Home was the first Bethania Kids home, it has the oldest alumni. At the beginning, Dayavu Home included both boys and girls. Alumna Mrs. Anita returned last year to talk to us about growing up at Bethania Kids’ first home. She shared her life story and how Bethania Kids saved her life. With tears of joy, she shared the pain of growing up in extreme poverty before coming to live at Dayavu Home. She is now happily married, has a small child, and she works as a nurse in a local government hospital. We are very proud of Mrs. Anita!
The Town of Kannivadi and Our Home
Kannivadi is a small town just outside of Dindigul in the state of Tamil Nadu, with a population of approximately 350,000. It is on the plains at the base of the Western Ghat mountains and the Ghat Road (Mountain Road) that leads to Kodaikanal. Kannivadi is largely an agricultural area, and the Dayavu Home for Boys is in a remote 7.5-acre site with an access road through adjacent coconut farms. The boys go to school at a nearby location on the Bethania school bus. The staff obtain food from vendors in the town of Dindigul.
The property is beautiful! It has several hundred trees, and we are replanting trees destroyed by drought and recent cyclones, including lemon, teak, guava, mango, and tamarind trees. We obtain many of the tree saplings from the Indian Government through grants. The Field of Hope group also helped us with drip irrigation and developing a sustainable system of orchards and gardens. We are dependent on heavy rains during the monsoon months of July, August and September. We plant trees during that time so they root deeply and can survive the drier months. We are also starting a kitchen garden. We recently fenced the entire property to prevent nomadic goat herds from decimating our guava trees. We look forward to a time soon when each boy will have responsibility for a piece of the garden.
Meet the Staff at Dayavu Home
Mr. Eduman Isaac, who was in charge of the project, sadly passed away from COVID-19. Joseph Murugesan and his wife, Anusia, who serve as teachers, bookkeepers, drivers and caretakers for the boys, are currently overseeing the project while a search is being held for a new permanent leader. Joseph grew up at Dayavu Home. They are joined by Sivakami, who is the cook for the boys. Mrs. Ramuthai has recently joined as assistant cook, and her husband, Mr. Nagaraj, works as night watchman. Ramesh, who grew up at the Bethania Kids/CSI Special School in Kodaikanal, serves as a helper and caretaker at Dayavu Home.
How Can You Help?
- You can Sponsor A Child for $50 per month or $600 per year. This is our biggest need. Your Sponsor A Child gift covers all the expenses for one boy at Dayavu Home.
- Churches or individuals can make gifts to the monthly or annual expenses of the Dayavu Home for Boys. Monthly expenses for Dayavu Home = $2,250; annual expenses = $27,000
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