SUN Programme report, December 2014
SUN Programme completes 38 years!
We thank God for the opportunity to complete 38 years of SUN Programme work in India, having distributed the first drinks to 120 children in Pongatur, Tamil Nadu in April 1976. The number of children covered by the Nutrition Programme continues to grow and we now have about 2250 children and 100 needy elderly folk receiving the drink across the total of 24 areas in which we now work. The Centres, varying from 40-350 children each, range across South India and the East coast, being up to 2000 km apart.
In addition to the health benefit to the children, and to others helped through SUN Schemes ancilliary projects, the programme has been a way of providing employment and assistance to many unemployed families. In a country where there are no social welfare payments, this has avoided a major drain on ecclesial and mission welfare funds. Currently eighteen families are employed part-time in supervising the Centres in their area with payments to them of A$40 to A$80 per month. This most often constitutes their major or sole source of income.
- Karimban, Idukki Dt., Kerala. – Being one of the most fertile of India’s states, Kerala in the main has less susceptibility to malnutrition than other areas, but the more remote tribal villages of the hilly regions of Idukki District are an exception. Landless, in a state of low rural employment, they have few resources, and the benefits, to their children is obvious. Under the supervision of Rajan James, this Centre has picked up children from a number of sparsely populated hamlets and brought them to a single location. About 40 lively children, queue with amazing patience, for the tasty nutty gungy (Porridge) that provides them with so much that is vital to their healthy growth.
- Kalamavu, Idukki Dt., Kerala. – This centre is run by Baby John and his wife Bindu. Situated on the outskirts of Kalamavu, a small town in the high hills of northern Idukki Dt., this is a centre catering for about 50 children and has good community involvement. Baby John and Bindu periodically run special Health and Nutrition days for the parents, motivating them to provide a good nutrition base for their children, and ecouraging them to experiment with the addition of nutrition ingredients in the daily diet of their families. 3. Hallahally Extn., Mandya Dt, Karnataka – Under the direction of Sowbhagya John, and with the help of her daughter Abigail, this programme caters for about 40 children from a labouring community who basically live on a rice only diet.
- Indiranagar – Adoni, A.P. – Named after India’s former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – Indira-nagar is a huts colony where 120 children gather for their drink prepared and delivered by Devaputra and family. This is an area traditionally of vitamin A deficiency, and the nutritious drink with its overloading of vitamin A, both from the natural ingredients, and the additives, is vital to keep their sharp brown eyes bright and prevent night blindness, that in many cases leads to total blindness. (Over a million of India’s several million totally blind are such due to this). In conjunction with the Nutrition programme here, Jemima Catherine runs a small school for 40 children who would otherwise attend no school at all.
- Sunday School – Adoni, A.P. – The second centre at Adoni is one associated with the Sunday School. As most of the 55 children at the Sunday School are from very poor backgrounds, a small centre is run from the Ecclesial meeting room to cater for them. It also provides an added incentive to turn up for Sunday School, as well as keeping in touch during the week. This programme provides Manikyamma, whose husband Rajanna died suddenly some years ago, leaving her with six children, with a small regular income from supervising the programme. She also daily goes for coolie work.
- Indira Gandhi Nagar, Kurnool, A.P. – A large collection of single and two roomed dwellings in what is commonly called “Weaker Sections Colony” a classification by the Govt. which in full form is “Economically Weaker Sections Colony”.on the western outskirts of Kurnool forms Indira Gandhi Nagar (nagar = housing colony). R Suvarna of the Kurnool Ecclesia, with the help of Mary from Johorapuram Ecclesia, provide supplementary nutrition for about 120 children. Most of the parents are daily labourers providing a simple rice based diet for their children. The children receive the drink in the evening on their way home from school. The parents and colony elders are very grateful of this help for their children.
- Soganur Road, Yemmiganur, Kurnool Dt., A.P. – Run by bro Vijay Bhasker from the Ecclesial hall – 45 children attending. All these children also attend the weekly Sunday School.
- Model School – Yemmiganur, A.P. – A small school run by Bhasker and Indira supplies the Nutrition drink regularly to 50 of the most needy children in their school.
- Chigali, Kurnool Dt., A.P. – The home of Ramanjanee is in a very traditional village comprising a few significant homes of wealthy landowners and many mud walled huts of the labourers – 110 children attend this centre.
- Kavali, Nellore Dt., A.P. – On the outskirts of Kavali in another “Weaker Sections” colony Rachel Ollery runs a centre where 75 children receive the thrice weekly nutrition porridge. With the passing away of Bro Israel Ollery this year, Rachel’s husband Suresh is now helping with the programme.
- Kadiam, A.P. – Run by Bro Andrew and Sis Shubha in conjunction with their Faith Home project this provides for Faith Home children and some other SS pupils – total of 40 children.
- Gayathrinagar, Hyderabad, A.P. – There is a large slum adjacent to the home of Bro Timothy and Sis Mary Kumari. Sis Mary Kumari looks after the programme with two helpers. 120 children attend regularly and their names are noted in the Register. There is a shifting population on the outskirts of the slum and extra children always line up, but are usually gone by next week. A register is kept and only if children appear 3 times are they added to it. Usually an extra 20 or so drinks are provided for these itinerants.
- Budwel, Hyderabad, T.S. – On a barren patch adjacent to a series of stone quarries; near Budwel, Sis Indira and Sis Saloni run a centre for about 40 children. These children are also picked up by the Shunem bus, and the Marica School bus (kindly loaned to us each Sunday – with a driver) on Sunday mornings and brought to the Sunday School at Shunem Home.
- Marica School Kismathpur, Hyd. – Fourteen kilometres from central Hyderabad is the village of Kismathpur, which will be familiar to many readers as it is home to the Christadelphian Shunem Home, the C3 Centre, and the Galbraith home. Here the village wing of Marica Schools is providing education to poor and disabled children. They are most appreciative of the programme, and regular visits by medical personnel, arranged by the school, have confirmed the very positive effects on the 350 children who benefit from the nutrition drink here. In this village, where skin complaints were particularly prevalent, the marked improvement has been commented on by the Drs. attending the school clinic.
- Marica School, Venkat Ramana Enclave, Chevella, T.S. – About 30 kms further out, the school has opened a branch for 157 children at their Chevella premises. Here the school is an agent on our behalf, providing the nutrition drink to these very poorly fed children. These centres are particularly cost efficient for us as we only have to supply the ingredients, and the school cooks and distributes it through the school staff. We are appreciative of the help of the manager of these schools, Mrs Marie Christine, in initiating these centres. 16. Marica School, Kesaram Village, RR Dist. T.S.-: In the same area is the Centre in this poorly developed village catering for 76 children from particularly underprivileged back-grounds – their parents being engaged in seasonal rural labour, and begging.
- Attapur, Hyderabad, A.P. – Adjacent to the ring road at Attapur, Leela Kondaiah, assisted by Mary Sunderaj, runs a centre for 90 children from a nearby labourers colony. The continuing growth in high rise buildings in Hyderabad draws the jobless poor for daily labour, but their children, pulled out of school, if they were receiving any schooling, miss out both educationally and nutritionally – the high cost of vegetables in the city (compared to their village) means a downturn in the overall nutrition levels.
- APSA, Hyderabad, A.P. – In conjunction with APSA – a community development NGO, we run two centres in slum areas of Hyderabad city. As well as regular nutrition material we provide a small amount for a teacher’s salary at one of the Centres as most of these children do not attend school, so our programme gives a basic education in preparation for streaming into formal education. A total of 83 children are currently involved in this programme.
- Mulugu Mandal, Medak District, A.P. – This programme is run by Mr Noah David, (a brother to Esther David of Hyderabad Ecclesia) in a very poor, dryland village of Medak District. About 85 children and 20 poor elderly people line up regularly for the Nutrition drink.
- Shunem Home, Hyderabad, A.P. – Our own Shunem Home children, all of whom are from families with leprosy under treatment in our Street Leprosy programme, Hyderabad, are too precious to us to miss out on this health giving drink, so two cartons of Nutrition materials each delivery day, are supplied to Shunem for the 100 children in our care there.
- SC Colony, Gajuwaka, Visakhapatnam, A.P. – This centre is run by Bro A Philip of the LV Nagar Ecclesia under guidance from Bro Samuel. It caters for about 75 children in the huts in SC Colony, where we also run a small school where Hannah of the Gajuwaka Ecclesia teaches. An associate Centre has now been set up in a nearby needy area for 70 children.
- Sironcha, Maharashtra – This remote small town is where Sis Sarah spent her childhood. It is a very poor area and we have been able to arrange through opur friend Dr. Luke, for the village children in the area and the hostel, to receive the drink. We are so happy to be able to do something for the families among whom Sarah grew up, and where her mother, Elvira, taught for many years. There are 85 children being helped at this Centre.
- Sarenga, West Bengal – This programme is run by Tuphan Biswas and his wife Peuli, assisted by Soma Kotal. The Bankura district is a very poor area, with little development or job opportunities. Agriculturally it is poor, with only dry (non-irrigated) lands and so the people depend on a single crop of rice per year. The Nutrition Programme is very beneficial for the children, and parents are very happy we are helping in this way. 82 children are currently involved in the programme.
- Compassion India, Kadiam, A.P. – In another welfare venture in Kadiam, Andrew Johnson and the Ecclesia have opened a Clinic for HIV positive patients. One way we can assist is providing good nutrition so we are now supplying the Christadelphian Compassion India Centre with Nutrition materials for 60 people.