Our annual Children’s Camp began on Christmas Day.  Over 700 children from our four Children’s Villages, eight hostels, the professional students away at college, and those in residential schools came together for three days of fun and learning. The celebrations started in St Peter’s Primary School which vibrated with the echoes of carols and seasonal joy. Our children staged beautiful dances and Christmas sketches. The Christmas cake was cut by little Rajapandi, newly arrived at RTU.

Each Christmas Day the mothers who have completed 10 years of service are honoured with a gold ring. This year Mrs Rani, a foster mother in Sirumalar Children’s Village, and Mrs Annammal, warden of Josephine girls’ hostel, were presented with their rings by our director, Fr Antony Paulsamy. The chief guests, alumni members, and the audience applauded their dedicated service to the children in our care. Four of the alumni shared their memorable and heart-warming stories of their time in Sirumalar Children’s Village. Many cried after listening to how their foster mothers had transformed the children’s lives. The RTU anthem was sung in conclusion and we all enjoyed an appetising lunch.

We started the next day of our Children’s Camp by dividing the children into groups according to their age and then various activities were organised

Female alumni members took care of our 199 primary and 269 middle level children. They taught art, drawing, clay modelling and handicrafts such as jewellery, key chains, bands, baskets, paper bags etc. Male alumni members organised outdoor events, games, quizzes, singing and dancing.

Secondary level students with trainers from the Nikhil Foundation had activities and seminars on general awareness and motivation, time management, interpersonal skills, planning, goal setting and life talents. Mr Mahendran and his team organised a language skills programme for the middle level children. This included writing, appraising poetry, and creating simple topics. A colleague, Mr Vijayaraja, helped 30 students with a special interest in art.

Those in the Children’s Villages presented wonderful dance displays.

On the final day, the primary and middle level children exhibited their drawings, paintings and other handiworks for appreciation by us and our visitors. Organised by 21 of our alumni, the event showcased our children’s involvement and interest in learning and developing new skills. The day was rounded-off with a late afternoon get-together followed by dinner.

Although each day of our Children’s Camp was packed with learning and fun, no one went hungry! A tasty lunch was complemented by morning and evening refreshments. Treats included Kadalaimittai (a healthy, high protein, peanut-based delicacy), coco mittai (another yummy confectionery), buns, cake, chocolates, sweets and balloons. In total, over 9,000 meals were prepared by our central kitchens.

The aims of our annual Children’s Camp are to bring all our children together for fun activities so that they can interact and learn from one another, to nurture their talents and creativity and to increase their confidence. 

Other activities in December  

Anbu Illam Children’s Village, our first Children's Village (meaning place of love), celebrated its 33rd anniversary and Nirmala Children's Village celebrated its 24th anniversary. It was wonderful to be part of the amazing celebrations. Children performed special dances with zeal. Speeches and delicious food helped complete the day.

On 12th December, an Olympic-style event was held for our balwadi (pre-school) children. Two hundred children from eight RTU balwadies joined together to take part in events such as running, lucky games, potato gathering, water filling, passing the ball, musical rounds and free drawing.

Home Support Programme

On 2nd December 35 local HIV+ children joined a joint World AIDS Day and Camp Rainbow event organised by the Theni HIV+ Network in our Anbu Illam Children’s Village. And on 28th December 19 more children joined a World AIDS Day event hosted by the Pudukottai+ Network in association with the Hondai Car Company.

Rural Housing Programme

Australian volunteers from St Bede’s College in Melbourne built four houses in Palapatti village before formally handing them over to their new occupiers who were overwhelmed with joy and hope for a better future. We thank all for their tremendous hard work which in just two weeks provided much needed shelter and hope for more of those neglected by society.

I am Muthumanickam, 47 years old, living in Palapatti village in Dindigul District. I was working as a well-digger for the last 20 years. In 2014, I fell from the top of a well injuring my spinal cord. From that day onwards, I could not go for any hard work regularly. My wife Pandiyammal is 39 years old and she goes for construction work for a daily wage. She is the only breadwinner in the family. We have two daughters and one son. For the last five years we lived in a small hut with no basic facilities. During this time, I came to know about RTU and I asked RTU to build a house for us because of our terrible living conditions. I have been on the waiting list for some time but last month the RTU housing team visited our hut, assessed our living conditions, and promised to build a house for us. This month (December) I received the good news that volunteers from St Bede’s College were coming to our village to build a house for us. Within two weeks our new home was ready. The house consists of main room, kitchen, veranda, toilet and electricity.

St Bede’s College and RTU fulfilled my dream of having a wonderful and safe house for my family. I consider this a great gift to my children. I am very grateful to RTU and the volunteers for their great support. Thank you. 

RTU supporters can sponsor one of these safe havens, complete with a plaque commemorating the memory of a loved one or, say, a special occasion. Each home is a life-changing blessing for those who benefit.

Your support brings great hope and blessings to those in need

Your unending support throughout 2018 has made a great difference to the lives of many RTU children and others in desperate need. I thank you once again for your love and affection and much admire the time and effort you bless us with to enable RTU to underpin and expand its work.

Thank you for trusting us to carry out this good work on your behalf. All your guidance and encouragement to serve the poorest people in our area are special memories that we will always treasure.

We wish you a blessed and happy New Year 2019. May peace, love and prosperity follow you always.

Thank you. 

Fr J Antony Paulsamy, OFM Cap


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