Enable

 

Where and what 

Our children’s village – Enable for Life – is located seven kilometres outside of Tranquebar in Tamil Nadu in south-east India. Enable has bought a large piece of land (about 100,000 sqm or 25 acres), and the plan is to build  a small children’s village with ten houses. Seven houses have already been built and the first girls have moved in. Fifteen  girls live in each house. The houses are spacious with a kitchen and a bathroom in each. Here the girls live like a normal Indian family; they go to school, do their homework, play and have domestic chores. In addition, we have built a large hall of 100 sqm, a guest house/office, a multipurpose house, a køkkenhus and a very small house at the entrance for the guard.

For whom

Our little village is for girls only. In India, girls are abandoned ten times as often as boys. This is because parents have to pay a costly dowry when a girl is to marry, and because it is customary for a son to take care of his parents when they grow old; this means that a daughter costs money and is not seen to contribute to the family. Girls are also very exposed in Indian society. It is not uncommon that they are killed at birth, if the parents were hoping for a boy. (a practice which fortunately is disappearing). If a girl is abandoned by her parents, she risks being kidnapped for prostitution.

Another important reason for helping girls is that if you educate a woman you educate a whole family. If you educate a man, you only educate one person. Education of women is also the most effective form of birth control.

Education 

The girls attend the best school possible, and it is important that they learn to speak English. The girls will also learn how important hygiene is, both personal hygiene and hygiene when preparing food. They will also learn about a healthy and balanced diet.

Religion

The girls keep their religion when they come to the village. No converting takes place.

Cast

Although the caste system is formally abolished in India, it is still very much alive and kicking. Many of the girls who join us are from the lowest social classes. They are the poorest and most disadvantaged group in India. Education vice it may not be such a big disadvantage. India has affirmative action legislation in many areas including access to educational institutions including universities.

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Partners in India

The daily operation is handled by St. Joseph Development Trust (SJDT). SJDT already operates four other orphanages, a micro finance bank, self-help programs for women etc. SJDT selects the girls who come to Enable.

How far are we

The first six houses, a principal and guest house, a community kitchen, a watchman’s shed, an assembly hall  and a multi-purpose house have been built. In May 2009 the first 21 girls moved in are now attending school. We now have 100 girls aged five to eighteen. 4 of these girls now attend a higher education.

Future

The plan is to build a house every second year until all ten houses have been built. 

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