December 20, 2010

Happy Christmas

Monday, December 20, 2010 Relief Projects India
At RPI we want to take this time to thank our wonderful friends and supporters for your help, interest and concern over the past year.

December 12, 2010

New Pyjamas

Sunday, December 12, 2010 Relief Projects India
The toddlers have been keeping nice and warm during the cool, monsoon evenings in these cosy pyjamas sent by Outi.

New Packages

Sunday, December 12, 2010 Relief Projects India
Details of the latest packages received at the Mercy Home are posted on our website:
Again, many thanks for these wonderful items. We sometimes reflect and remember the days when the babies were wrapped in torn saris, when we first started working at the Mercy Home. You all have helped transform that.

November 29, 2010

New Report in Times of India on Gender Imbalance in India

Monday, November 29, 2010 Relief Projects India
Purchasing Brides!
HANDIGARH: Haryana, reeling under a skewed sex ratio, is faced with yet another startling fact – an NGO has found that girls are being "bought" and brought to Haryana from 20 states across the country. The state's sex ratio stands at 837 in the 0-6 years age group, its lowest in the last five years and second only to Punjab.

Read more: In Haryana, get a bride for Rs 1,000 from Bihar - The Times of India

November 22, 2010

New Evening Tuitions

Monday, November 22, 2010 Relief Projects India

The SHE programme has been organising evening tuitions for disadvantaged village children in six villages, with a total of about 850 children benefiting. We have now started tuitions in a seventh village, thanks to the sponsorship of a local businessman.

November 14, 2010

Children's Day

Sunday, November 14, 2010 Relief Projects India
Today was National Children's Day in India, so we had lots of fun celebrating with the toddlers. The carers enjoyed dressing them up and the children enjoyed dancing and action songs. Their beautiful dresses have all been donated by local families. We also did activities with our tuition students from nearby villages (99 kids in all. Photos coming soon!)

PHOTOS: 1. Suleka, Manju and Darshana performing their action song.
2. Beautiful Manju.
3. Group (from back left) - Melvina, Suleka, Manju, Darshana, Pushpa Raj, Induja
4. Melvina has only learned to walk recently, but she loves dancing.

November 11, 2010

More Packages

Thursday, November 11, 2010 Relief Projects India

We received more packages at the Mercy Home from many wonderful friends and supporters. Details are on our website:

November 8, 2010

Dowry Murders and Torture in India

Monday, November 08, 2010 Relief Projects India

Last week, the following article appeared in the Times of India newspaper:
NEW DELHI: Shaken by the large number of women being killed for dowry, the Supreme Court said Indian society has become sick. "The hallmark of a healthy society is the respect it shows to women. Indian society has become a sick society. This is evident from the large number of cases coming up in this court and also in almost all courts in the country in which young women are being killed by their husbands or by their in-laws by pouring kerosene on them and setting them on fire or by hanging/strangulating them," an anguished bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra said in a recent judgment.

"What is the level of civilization of a society in which a large number of women are treated in this horrendous and barbaric manner? What has our society become," asked the Bench before upholding life term for the husband and mother-in-law of a woman killed for dowry.

The bench had a point. Data compiled for 2008 by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed that there were 8,172 dowry deaths in the country . (RPI comment: The actual statistics are probably much higher as many deaths go unreported or are reported as suicides.)

Read more: Our society has become sick: SC on dowry deaths The Times of India

Please read about the RPI SHE programme that is aimed at improving the status and treatment of women and female children. An integral part of our programme is college presentations where we present a powerpoint on relevant social and moral issues, and discuss these issues with the young students.

Photo copyright © Ron Harmon: In-laws or husbands will frequently pour acid on a wife's face in an attempt to force her family to pay more dowry.

October 27, 2010

Babies leaving for adoption

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 Relief Projects India
These babies are dressed in special pretty dresses to go to join their new adoptive parents, and begin what we hope will be a new, happier life.

October 23, 2010

Alistair will be leaving us

Saturday, October 23, 2010 Relief Projects India

A few months ago, a couple came forward saying they were 3-year-old Alistair's parents and asking to take him. The courts have examined their claim and finally approved it so he will be leaving us in the next few days. We are all going to miss him and there have been a few moist eyes amongst the staff. We are all hoping his parents will take good care of him. The Mercy Home director will be giving them a little talk about the fact that they abandoned him for 3 years, and challenging them to be good parents.

October 13, 2010

New Packages of Supplies

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 Relief Projects India
Recently quite a few packages have arrived at the Mercy Home.
A complete list of the packages can be found at:
On the left, Suleka is wearing a pretty dress that arrived in one of the packages. On the right is a wonderful set of 'Peter and Jane' readers which we will use to teach the older toddlers to read.

October 9, 2010

Asika and Sujita Adopted!

Saturday, October 09, 2010 Relief Projects India
We are so happy that these two toddlers, both of whom are 2 years old, have finally been adopted by good families who are happy to have them. We miss them but wish them and their new families a happy, loving life together.

October 2, 2010

More Renovations

Saturday, October 02, 2010 Relief Projects India
Some of the dormitories for the senior citizens have been renovated. (Thanks again to Claretian supporters in Spain.)

Before.... and after

September 20, 2010

TV Report

Monday, September 20, 2010 Relief Projects India
SBS TV Channel in Australia did a very good new article on our work at the Mercy Home and on the problem of unwanted female babies. The show can be watched on their internet site:

September 16, 2010

Divining for water

Thursday, September 16, 2010 Relief Projects India
First the man walks around with a magnet on a string. When it starts swinging wildly, that indicates the presence of water. Then he checks with a coconut!! The coconut wobbles and even falls off his hand over the same spot where he thinks there's water. Jesse wanted to try! And all the neighbours came to watch the fun.

September 15, 2010

Land Purchase

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 Relief Projects India

Here is a view across the land that was purchased for RPI for a new SHE centre, to promote the health and welfare of mothers and children, especially female and physically challenged children. The centre will also be involved in the fight against female infanticide and foeticide. The land is located near Usilampatti, which is the heart of the infanticide belt in this part of Tamil Nadu.

September 10, 2010

Generator room.

Friday, September 10, 2010 Relief Projects India

Thanks to Brandon, the small generator for the nursery has been moved from under the stairs, where the diesel fumes blew right into the nursery. It is now housed in a specially built room on the roof.

Renovating the shower rooms for the elderly.

Friday, September 10, 2010 Relief Projects India
Thanks to the generosity of friends of the Claretians in Spain, the bathrooms for the elderly have had a 'face lift' and are vastly improved from the dilapidated and moldy state they were in. Tiling is underway in their bedrooms too, but sponsorship is still needed for a room for the dying.

September 6, 2010

Toddler Progress

Monday, September 06, 2010 Relief Projects India

The toddlers are making lots of good progress. Asika is now walking, the quieter ones like Manchu and Rani are much happier, and they are learning lots. They love their flash cards and have already learned, fruits, vegetables, wild and domestic animals and transport. They even know the flags of Asia. "What is this?" asks Jennifer, "Bhutan, or India, or Japan" reply excited little voices. Glen Doman was right--toddlers love to learn and can learn anything presented to them in a fun manner.

August 22, 2010

Good News

Sunday, August 22, 2010 Relief Projects India

A friend of ours is sending the x-rays of Suleka's leg to a specialist in the USA. This doctor is part of a team of doctors who visit India once a year to perform specialist operations. We do not yet know if it is possible to do anything for her condition but we are thankful to be able to get expert advice. (For those who are new to this blog, Suleka is a beautiful 3-year old girl at the Mercy Home who was born with a thigh bone missing in one leg.)

August 8, 2010

New Babies

Sunday, August 08, 2010 Relief Projects India
Over the past few weeks, 7 babies have gone for adoption, and 8 new ones have arrived. Surprisingly, we received 4 boys--from unwed mothers.
Here is the new baby who was brought one month ago by the sad mummy below:

August 3, 2010

Evening walk

Tuesday, August 03, 2010 Relief Projects India
We always enjoy accompanying the toddlers for their evening walk. And we are encouraged to see how much English they have learned! Here is Jesse with his little friends.

July 28, 2010

Sad face of a mummy who gave away her baby

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Relief Projects India

This sad woman came to the Mercy Home straight from the hospital with her husband and mother-in-law and father-in-law, to give away her 3rd daughter, newly-born. They were obviously trying for a boy. What must she be feeling? Tears for the baby she will never hold again, probably tears of bitterness and condemnation too that she has not produced a boy. Often the decision to give the baby away, (or kill it) is made by the husband and/or in-laws, who pressure or coerce the mother to part with her child. We could only comfort her that her baby would be well cared for, and try to encourage the family that their other two daughters can be a blessing.

In Tamil Nadu, there is a saying, the second or third daughter is the baby born for the burial pit. God help the attitude towards girls to change in this country--and for the financially crippling practice of dowry to stop once and for all.

July 16, 2010

50 million females missing!

Friday, July 16, 2010 Relief Projects India
Some revealing statistics:

* According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) up to 50 million girls and women have gone missing from India’ s population over the last two decades.

* In Tamil Nadu, statistics indicate total shortfall of about 13,000 daughters per year. Approximately 67% due to pre-birth deficit (ie. selective abortion of females, known as foeticide) and 33% due to infanticide, and neglect.

July 3, 2010

Meet Induja

Saturday, July 03, 2010 Relief Projects India
Induja is a lovely baby, but with her disability it is unlikely she will be chosen for adoption. She's a potential future member of our 'Little Darlings' group.

Visit our website:www.relief

June 21, 2010

Weekend at the Mercy Home with Minna

Monday, June 21, 2010 Relief Projects India
We had a wonderful weekend at the Mercy Home with Minna and also Melissa, a friend of hers who came to help with the babies. As well as enjoying time with the toddlers and babies, we also were able to check on any needs for the nursery and toddlers, (updated needs list coming soon.) Also, with the nursery upgrade now almost completed, we are turning our attention to the needs of the elderly residents. They do have some outstanding and urgent needs, especially the infirm elderly residents. More on that coming soon.

Minna feeding little Nivedan

Opening one of the packages received from our wonderful Finnish friends.

Melissa has some special time with Celsi

June 19, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Saturday, June 19, 2010 Relief Projects India
Little Aksika fast asleep (on one of the comfy new pillows sewn by Minna.)
Latest news flash: Aksika has just been adopted by a good family!
(Click on any of the images on this blog to see a larger version.)

June 14, 2010

June 6, 2010

New TV for the toddlers

Sunday, June 06, 2010 Relief Projects India
Many thanks to the friends of the Mercy Home who raised the money for this TV. It will be a wonderful tool for teaching them English.

The children were absolutely enthralled!

May 31, 2010

Latest arrivals at the Mercy Home

Monday, May 31, 2010 Relief Projects India
Four new babies arrived at the Mercy Home over the past 6 weeks. Here they are:

Little Alpana was only 1.5 kg. when she arrived. Now at one month old she is already 2 1/2 kg.

An abandoned baby boy, Nivedan, who was brought to the Home by an old lady.

Roshil, at 6 weeks, is a healthy 4 1/2 kg. He was found abandoned by an old man. He is almost certainly from an unwed mother since he is a boy.

Abinaya is a Mercy Home baby who was sent for adoption, but her adoptive parents discovered she is mentally retarded and sent her back. She will be sent to a special home.