- Andhra Pradesh
- 124 Children
Located in Andhra Pradesh, Bethel Orphanage was founded by Bethlemite sisters in 1985 in order to provide care for orphaned and other vulnerable children. Today, they provide a loving and nurturing home to 124 children, while also operating an English language school with more than 270 children enrolled. The other students are predominantly Sri Lankan refugees and children from the surrounding community who would otherwise not be able to afford an education. The management team at Bethel highly values the children in their care, and is open, respectful, and passionate about integrity, honesty, and education.
Sister Lilly Josephine Tahrigopala is the Provincial Superior and Chairman of Bethel Orphanage. She holds a master’s of arts and a bachelor’s in education and has served as headmistress, superior, and teacher of this children’s home since 1985 . Her motto, “to serve with love,” is evidenced by all she does and all she brings to the children of Bethel.
Bethel started working with The Miracle Foundation in October 2011. At that time, in spite of doing all they could for the children, the staff was experiencing severe budgetary constraints, and they were unable to meet the children’s basic needs. The children did not have safe drinking water or a balanced diet. Protein and vegetables were a rarity in their everyday menu and milk and eggs were only served twice a month. As a result, they were hungry, unable to concentrate, and their learning ability suffered. They were sleeping without mattresses, had limited toiletries and clothing, were not receiving adequate healthcare, and many were suffering from parasitic worms and anemia. Additionally, their caregivers were overburdened with multiple roles and responsibilities, serving as housemothers, teachers, and administrators.
Since then, we have worked hand in hand with the management at Bethel to raise the children’s standard of living and care. Today, all of the children enjoy nutritious, delicious food. They have uniforms, play clothes, and underwear. They have tutors to help them catch up after school and they’re learning life skills that help them to better understand the world around them. Their housemothers have received hours of training. The children have even been on a field trip to a nearby park and made their first-ever trip to the beach (read about it in our blog). And, after only six months of medical and nutritional interventions, only one six-year-old boy is still severely anemic. We are closely monitoring his condition and making certain that he receives all the care and attention he needs.
Education has a different meaning at Bethel now. It is not just completing the school education, Miracle Foundation is assisting every child (from class IX onwards) with aptitude testing and career counseling where the parents/relatives are part of the counseling session. Based on the results every child will be assisted for its higher studies.
These simple interventions have not only improved their lives and made it possible for them to study and enjoy themselves — as all children should — but they have also instilled a sense of hope and responsibility in them that they’ve never had before. Today, the children of Bethel believe they can grow up to be whoever they want to be. Thank you for your support of these children!
Ambassador Project: In March 2012, the school’s interior and exterior were repainted and we sent an Ambassador team to paint a colorful, two-story mural — illustrating the dramatically changing flora and fauna of the regional landscape (ocean to mountains to jungle). View Ambassador Danny Marsili amazing photo collage of the entire experience.