* How support forgotten
* First support : widows
* Second support : young women
* To help us
" It is a chain of children or groups of
children, all across Tamil organised with minimum structures and
expanses. Rather than an organization, it is a movement of children
that he manages to hold with his only presence and great love of
children. Some might find it very disrupted, it certainly is not
a traditional or conformist approach
It is diametrically opposed
to the "traditional" orphanages formula, which may become
a desert of love where children can hardly blossom
. Of course,
there might be disorder and frailty, the disorder and frailty of
." (Father Ceyrac)
I. THE PROJECT
1) At the beginning, in 1993…
The Father Ceyrac among
children from Singanur.
"We had only
two priorities. The first one was to give a child what
he needs most and most of our children never experienced: the
feeling of being loved. The other priority was education. India
has a huge number of children labourers: 20 millions, according
to official sources; the actual number varies from 50 to 100 million
children labourers out of 500 million children in India. This is
a very difficult problem to solve. Suppressing such habits immediately
is impossible: consequences would be tragic for the poor families,
and more particularly widows. We propose an intermediate solution:
let the child go to school in the morning, and work in the afternoon,
or vice versa. But we reject any hard work, be it in a factory or
anywhere else. This is not an easy way out, but we really insist
on the fact that all our children, without any exception, should
enrol in a communal or Christian school. In addition to this regular
schooling, there are one or two supplementary classes every evening
thanks to the help provided by young girls to the children. These
repetitions build the unity of our movement." (*)
(*) Pierre Ceyrac, Pèlerins des frontières
( p 111-116), Editions du CERF
2) The project today
Tamil Nadu, Andhra, an Mumbai, Raipur, Madhya
Prdesh, Kerala, Karnataka
Number of centers
villages and slums
Number of children supported
Number of children completely taken care
Number of young girls in charge of educational
3) The children
Children from Siganur
The Opened Hands movement helps all the abandoned
children and pupils of poor families regardless of the caste, colour,
religion, or language. Children come mostly on their own will after
having heard of the movement.
Nowadays, this movement - since it is not an orphanage- concerns
30 000 children totally. Each child gets help according to his/her
situation. The aid given varies: food, clothes, housing, medical
care, schoolbooks, school fees, educational support.
Time for lunch
Type of aid provided according to the children's
Number of children
Payment for 3 meals, clothing, school uniforms,
school books, medical equipment. Evening classes.
Orphans; prostitutes' and handicapped parents'
Payment for 2 daily meals, schoolbooks,
school uniforms and evening classes.
Children - only one parent is alive
2 monthly meals, evening classes.
1) Women's network
The widows and unmarried girls are in charge
of the children's education and supervision.
Indeed, the widows' situation in India is often
very difficult. Those who remain at home to take care of the children
don't have any money to feed them; those who choose to work cannot
take care of their children. This system saves the children and
helps the widows to regain their maternal dignity.
"The second pillar of this structure is the young girls. Due
to lack of resources, especially in the villages, many of them cannot
go to the university after completing college. They remain at home
until they are married! Here, they prepare the orphan's meals, help
them do their homework from 6 to 8 p.m. and get a small allocation.
A big advantage of this system is to provide the children with a
feminine presence, to offer the young girls a little bit of money
for their future dowry, without which marriages are impossible in
India. The greatest advantage is that they discover freedom they
haven't had, a useful experience and friendship throughout the Tamil
region. Also, they meet monthly during short sessions that enable
them to share their experiences." (*)
Two women are in charge of each group of five
villages. Their work is to check the children's arrivals and departures,
their school levels, and to coordinate work in the villages they
are in charge of.
" This way, not only do these two infrastructures
save women but also contribute very efficiently to woman's
Young girls' functions and salaries:
In charge of the evening classes from 4
to 7 p.m.
In charge of children in the morning, from
7 to 8 a.m. and of the evening classes.
In charge of the children in the morning,
from 7 to 8 a.m., of the evening classes and works with the
In charge of children in the morning, from
7 to 8 a.m., of the evening classes, supervises and manages
the widows of 5 centres and works with them.
Full time in charge of a center, manages
the teachers staff and supervises the widows in 5 villages.
- A district coordinator (more than 10 villages), who sometimes
visits the other Tamil Nadu centers
- An accountant
2) The spirit of Ambukarangal.
"This spirit leads to the
children's development, widows' rehabilitation and the training
of young girls who will become real animators or even catalyst of
change in their village. It is priceless for a child to perceive
a feeling of love and be lucky enough to be fed or be able to study.
It is so important for a woman left alone to to be given the opportunity
to breed decently her children and to love and protect other. It
is such an accomplishment to feel recognised as a person able not
only to live independantly but also to take care of many children
and bring life to a village for a young woman whose studies have
been shortened by lack of money and whose familial situation will
not make another mariage possible.
These are the very ideas that appealed to us, it is also for them
that nothing must stop.
(Valuation and support mission
to the Indian association Ambukarangal, Father Ceyrac Children's
Trust, 1997 Mission Report)
EXPENDITURE FOR THE FIRST SEMESTER 2000 (JANUARY-MAY 2000).
§Non certified teachers only
earn 250 RS a month and we dont have the means to increase this
Like the children, they live in precarity.
§We cannot visit all the centers. Villages are often far away
which makes any checking difficult.
§Children often live far from their school and have to walk
(sometimes 6 miles a day).
§ Even in centers deprived of housings for accommodating the children,
like Pelakuppam, living conditions remain very poor. Indeed, during
the rainy season, water keeps leaking and children are unable to
protect themselves. Moreover, the sewage evacuation system doesn't
work properly and causes serious sanitary problems.
1) Material needs:
§ A more performing computer
§ Construction tools
2) Human needs
§ A computer specialist, in order to improve the young girls'
knowledge in this domain.
§ A doctor providing girls with a medical training, especially
as far as hygien is concerned (to teach them basic hygien rules
they have to teach the children : hands washing, clothes washing,
basic cares, garbage treatment..)
§ For the children's medical care
§ To buy items related to the children's health and hygien
§ For the teachers' wages
§ To buy vehicules, maybe a minivan for the children
§ Sale of mancraftship
§ Organisation of sewing, computer and photography classes
§ Creation of a farm.