Giving life, Hope and Future to the orphaned and abandoned in Fullness
Forming a new man in the new world though holistic education and family environment
Sunrise children’s village
“Giving life, hope and future to the orphaned and abandoned” with this mentioned motto the community of Schoenstatt Fathers established this village in 2006. Sunrise children’s village gives a home for the orphaned and abandoned children. It aims at the future of the children. It gives them a home, shelter, food and education.
There are 45 orphaned and neglected children accommodated and well taken care of by mothers. These children have bitter, sad and wounded childhood as they have lost either father or mother and they are almost abandoned on the streets or exposed to critical and unhealthy situation of the families, which have spoiled their happy childhood. Sunrise Children’s Village have identified these children and assumed moral responsibility to accompany them and form them by providing food, shelter, clothes and all other necessary accessories that they grow in happy childhood joyfully.
They are well taken care of by our mothers, who themselves have lots of challenges and problems in their personal life. Our mothers also have sad and bitter history in their personal life and hence in solidarity with Sunrise Children’s Village and for the noble cause, they join us in upbringing the children in values. They serve us selflessly for the children they are entrusted with. We have 3 mothers and every mother takes care of 10 Children.
It is an ideal and dream project to give them family atmosphere with all its merits and demerits. We have taken unconditional approach for every child. We assume the responsibility to educate them in their own uniqueness. They are all unique in various talents. We need to identify them and give them the right orientation so that they grow in self confidence to achieve the heights. We employ professionals to help them identify the right possibilities for their life. We offer quality food, value education, other academics, and psychological assistance that they grow in maturity.
We are responsible until every child reaches the age of independence. Sunrise village works on ideals and forming new man in the new society. It envisions that this children’s village becomes a model village and it has to be duplicated in all major cities as the number of orphans and abandoned ones keep increasing. The local contributions are very meagre to be self sufficient to fulfil this great ideal and dream project. Because this village is situated away from the city and the neighbourhood is experiencing lots of draught and poverty. We depend on the national and international connections and contributions. We have a great workforce of man power to work for this noble cause but what paralyses is the economy and finance.
We have the following in mind
- To help them regain their lost childhood
- To give happy childhood.
- No child should go hungry to bed.
- We want to fight against poverty and our common enemy is poverty.
- The child becomes self reliant when the basic needs are fulfilled.
- To provide right choice for the right candidates that they excel in their academics.
Everyday life begins with prayer, mediation. Everyone comes to a common place, since there is no chapel for the children alone, they come to the house chapel of fathers to worship and adore the lord. During holidays, we have yoga and meditation practices that they might help the children increase their concentration and memory skills. Every day evening the children are advised to do sports and physical exercises for 45 minutes, which helps them, regain their strength.
Off to school
16 children of sunrise children’s village go to Schoenstatt Matriculation School, which is in the premise itself and 8 children go to St.Thomas high school which is about 15 km away from home. Every day they go by hired taxi, due to safety and security issues.
Every child is celebrated and remembered on its birthdays. We wish him happy birthday with prayers and homemade cakes. We have this celebration in the evening at the cottages.
Staff meeting is essential for the smooth functioning of the village. This sunrise children’s village is mother centred. Fathers work at the back ground. The active role is taken by the mothers who are staff members. We have also two older girls and two children representatives to discuss the upcoming issues in the staff meeting. Every week we have staff meeting and evaluate the daily routine, events, dynamics and the life stream of the village.
Children parliament is one the unique features of sunrise. The events, the needs and initiatives are discussed in their meetings and carried out. They themselves organise their group meetings and come up with constructive ideas. ‘Good morning talks’ are one of their contributions for the whole village.
Home management committee meeting
Home management committee meetings are one of the obligatory ones which needs to be conducted every month. District child protection officer is the head of the meeting. Director, administrator, medical practitioner, school staff, mothers, children representatives, nurses constitute this home management committee. All the issues with regard to running of children home are discussed, evaluated, advised, and decided. And the reports are to be sent to the District child protection unit for their supervision.
Pedagogical principles & strategy
We want to educate ourselves under the protection of Mary to be free, firm and spiritual personalities.
Self education and the pedagogy of trust, pedagogy of ideals are the focal points of educational principles. We allow the children to initiate, explore, and engage in the constructive ideas, plans and execution. Guiding Star is our MTA. She is the teacher and guide. We have our devotion of renewing our covenant of love.
It is one of the strategies, which I believe, one of the way for venting the emotions, burdens, hurt feelings, success and failures. Every Saturday we sit and listen to the stories of the children and appreciate and evaluate the growth of the children. We positively approach the setbacks that they face during the week. Children are spontaneous enough to reveal their secrets and share their life stories.
Good morning talks
We begin the day with the inspirations of great people, stories of great leaders, life style of the community and the children get a chance to narrate the stories with a moral outline. This helps the children fight their stage fear, gain confidence and help them grow in communication skills.
We have a pedagogical system, not only for the academics, but also we want to inculcate the sense for humour, thirst for music, interest in dance and drama. Hence, every fourth Saturday is dedicated for each cottage to perform their potential talents. Children are very eager to compete with other cottages and perform as best as they could.
The children need guidance, counseling and assistance for their well being. We have a qualified psychologist as the director, qualified social worker as administrator. They handle the individual behaviour modifications sessions. Every child is to meet the counsellor once a week and report their progress. We also have one Sr.Rosy JMJ as qualified counsellor, who comes every Sunday to counsel the girls and make a good follow-up of their growth. Our Child probation office John Xavier, is another social worker, who keeps the tack of individual child care plan and present the growth of the children to the District child protection unit.
Every three months, one doctor comes for medical check up for the children and keep the medical records update. Thanks be to God, we are all safe without major medical issues.
Every year, to complete the academic year, we used to conduct various programs such as Talents Show, Fire Camp, and competitions to evaluate their potentials, creativity and innovations. Children come up with their talents and be proud of their growth. There is a great thirst for the children to know more about the world outside. Whenever possible, we used to take the children around to explore the world around them. We have educational tours, pilgrimages and other outings. We have visited Science centre, Madurai Shrine. Also there are long outings for the children.
- Talents show
- Fire camp
- Cultural festivals
- Prayer meetings and retreats
- Educational tours
- Visit to Science centre
- Children’s day
- Birthday and feast day celebrations
- Pilgrimage to different shrines
IT is good to report some success stories of Sunrise Children’ s Village. Being brought up in Sunrise village for 8 to 10 years, we have the older students who are trying to be independent on their own in the society, some are internees and some are working.
- Surya has completed her B.Sc food science and is working in SRM hospital in Chennai.
- Hema, having completed her B.Sc Computer Science, is working in a IT company in Chennai.
- Muthu, having completed his school, is doing his diploma in mechanical work in Caterpillar company, near Chennai.
- Paulpandi, has his passion to be a film maker. He has completed his B.sc Visual communications and not works as a trainee in a channel. His passion is to become a director.
- Kowsalya, has scored good marks in her school and has received Free merit seat for engineering in computer science.
- Divya, Has completed her B.A History and now is doing her Master degree in Social Work. She is a part time staff in Sunrise village
- Saranya, Has completed her B.Sc Chemistry and her passion is to become a qualified teacher. She is doing her degree in Education.
- Esther, after completing her school is doing her undergraduate in Business Administration in Trichy
- Monisha, After her school, she is doing her degree in Social work in Trichy.
- Family atmosphere:
It is the dream of Schoenstatt fathers to create Sunrise children’s village with family atmosphere. We have 45 children from 45 different families and backgrounds. To bring them to a common life stream, with one mother and 8 children (brothers and sisters) is a difficult task. As the children grow older, we face the adolescent issues. Mothers often feel that they are servants due to the approach of the children. Since some of the mothers live in Sunrise with their own children, the issues of favouritism also pops up. we are trying our best to create family atmosphere amidst difficulties and hardships.
- Financial situation
The atmosphere in the village is very positive and healthy. But the financial situation of the village is not so healthy. We depend on the local, national and international connections to fulfil the needs of the children. There is constant hike in fuel every day, and the daily needs get more and more expensive. We are unable to meet both ends. More over education becomes very expensive.