Children's Day

On 14th November every year Children's Day is celebrated across India to increase awareness of the rights, care and education of children. At RTU we make Children’s Day part of everything we do throughout November. Various events showcase the talents of our own children and those in nearby schools. Watching them perform is an amazing experience!

We celebrated Children’s Day with fancy dress and other competitions; solo and group dance entertainments; and an eclectic mix of drawing, song and elocution. The RTU-UK sponsors who were visiting us were our guests of honour. They presented prizes and joined with other visitors to make this joyous day even more special.

On 20th November, International Children’s Day was marked again by 320 of our Self-Help Group members and children, who signed a banner on child protection at E.Pudhupatti. The banner was organised by Tamil Manila Pengal Iyakkam (TMPl) to raise awareness of child abuse, child marriage, child labour and bonded labour. A TMPI representative spoke about equal rights for boys and girls.

Boosting subsistence farming income

On 16th November, RTU took part in another TMPI initiative, a dairy training day in E.Pudhupatti village. Thirty women from our Self-Help Groups received training on growing Azolla ferns to feed cattle; foot and mouth disease prevention; signs and symptoms of anthrax; timely animal vaccination practice; and the knowledge to create and market low-cost, value-added dairy products for extra income.

Rajapandi, a seven-year-old handicapped boy from the Kombaipatti village in Nilakottai Taluk, joined the RTU family in November. Rajapandi was born out of wedlock, his father, the husband-to-be, having absconded. The ensuing shame and rejection by villagers caused Rajapandi’s mother many difficulties.

When she fell sick and died in September, Rajapandi took to living on the streets as his grandfather and uncles were too poor to care for him. A local headmistress told us of Rajapandi’s plight. He is now living safely in our Miriam Children’s Village and studying 2nd standard in our Arul Malar primary school.

The goodness and generosity of our supporters, including those, like some of our visitors this month who sponsor a child, means Rajapandi’s future and that of many others like him is now assured.

Diwali celebrations

On November we also celebrated Diwali in all our Children's Villages and hostels. Highlights this year included new clothes for each RTU child, special food including home made snacks, and firecrackers. The whole day was great fun with the added joy for those RTU youngsters who were joined by their elder brothers and sisters in the afternoon. Activities and celebrations with pupils from other nearby schools also took place during the same week.

Making science real

In November our mobile science labs visited 99 government schools in rural villages to enable children to carry out hands-on science experiments using special lab equipment. On 30th November, we held our Inter-School Science Exhibition. Thirty-three teachers with 66 children from 16 schools in the Theni and Dindigul Districts took part. Each school showcased a project and there was much excitement and chatter as proud students demonstrated their submissions and answered onlooker questions. Father Antony, Father Maria Antony, Mrs G Shanmugalatha, and Brother Arockiadass helped the young scientists whose achievements were honoured with prizes and certificates.

Safe havens for rural families

During November, five houses were completed in Kannapatti village. RTU's Director, Fatherr Antony, lit the lamp in each newly occupied house.

Every RTU home provides a new start for a poor, rural family. RTU supporters can sponsor one of these safe havens, complete with a plaque commemorating the memory of a loved one or perhaps marking a special occasion. Each home is a life-changing blessing for those who move in.

November weddings

On 11th November, Shanmugapriya and Rajapandi (above) were married at Kodairoad. The bride came to RTU with her elder sister Kasthuri in May 2003 as their father had died of HIV and their mother was unable to provide for them. Shanmugapriya was educated in our schools before three-years of RTU-funded study for a Diploma in General Nursing. Successful completion enabled Ms Shanmugapriya to work in a private hospital. Her mother’s relatives arranged her marriage to Rajapandi. Father Antony Paulsamy and RTU staff attended with gifts.

On the same day, this time in Nilakottai, Lakshmi married Manoharan. RTU staff and alumni were present at the earlier betrothal celebration in October. Lakshmi came to RTU with her sister Muthulakshmi in September 2000 following the death of their father; their poor and sickly mother did not have the means to feed her daughters. Both girls were educated and then supported by RTU during their college studies. Lakshmi took a three-year General Nursing course at the Crescent School of Nursing, Madurai, before obtaining work. Muthulakshmi successfully completed a one-year training course in ophthalmology. She too is employed. Muthulakshmi’s marriage was facilitated by RTU, her sister’s by relatives. RTU has also supported this family in other ways: the girls’ mother lives in an RTU-built house.

A Happy Christmas and a hope-filled 2019

We are always blessed when our supporters visit us. Such visits are a catalyst for us to reach out to yet more children, their families and communities. They remind us of the human value of each gift you give RTU. It is your generosity and belief in us that enables us to serve those in need on your behalf.

I, and everyone at RTU, truly appreciate how you help us enrich the lives of all the disadvantaged children and families we support.

We all wish you and each of your family every blessing this Christmas and I pray that all your hopes for 2019 are fulfilled.

May God bless you all.

Fr J Antony Paulsamy, OFM Cap.
Director and Secretary

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