Our Affiliated Project: The St. Paul’s Home for Girls in Paloncha, Andhra Pradesh, India

 

Quick facts about the St. Paul’s Home for Girls:

  • Ages served: 6 – 19
  • Facility description: A complex of buildings including a dormitory, a dining hall and offices
  • Education: The girls live at the St. Paul’s Home, but attend the government schools in Paloncha. Core academic subjects are taught, including Telugu (the regional language), Hindi (the national language) and English (in the higher grade levels). Frequent field trips enhance students’ learning experience.
  • Academic schedule: In India, the school year varies some by region but typically begins in late June and ends in late April, with a two-to-three week break in December.
  • Daily schedule: The girls rise early each day, attend chapel, eat breakfast, complete assigned chores and then study until it is time to walk the short distance to school. They return to the home for lunch and then walk back to school to resume classes. After dinner, the evening is set aside for studying, recreation, and an early bedtime.
  • Activities: Recreational activities include volleyball, jump-rope and distinctly Indian games such as kho-kho (a form of tag). The girls also frequent a nearby mango garden for picnics.

From the snowcapped Himalayans to tropical beaches, India is truly a nation of contrasts. It boasts a rich history spanning tens of thousands of years. In fact, the earliest known civilization in South Asia once called India’s fertile Indus Valley home.

Today, with the world’s second-largest population, India includes a staggering variety of ethnicities, languages, religions and cultures. Its wealth of natural resources and vibrant cultures, however, belie the abject poverty in which so many of India’s citizens live. The industrial town of Paloncha — located in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh — is no exception to these maladies. In fact, over the past few decades, Paloncha has seen a marked influx of migrants from surrounding rural communities, who come here in search of employment opportunities. The resulting overpopulation has led to a severe lack of housing, sanitation, medical care and schools. Widespread illness, poverty and malnutrition are tragic realities for the children of this region.

This is especially true for girls, who essentially begin life at a disadvantage in India, with markedly lower literacy rates and socioeconomic status than their male counterparts. For this reason, the Church of South India established the St. Paul’s Home for Girls. In conjunction with Children Incorporated’s sponsorship program, the home serves as a beacon of hope. It strives to provide underprivileged girls basic needs along with a well-rounded education — the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.