My name is Joseph Benziger. In December of 1969 I became an ordained priest, and for the next 17 years I worked with and around poor families in the southernmost part of India. I found many families living in inhumane conditions, in small huts whose walls were nothing but woven coconut leaves, with no running water or electricity. Such families exist within a poverty loop from which they have been unable to escape for generations. Many are illiterate, have little access to healthcare, and a poor educational system for their children.

I became convinced that the families’ children should be the main point of focus. In order to leave the poverty trap for good, an educated generation must emerge, with qualifications and skills to help them build decent lives to support themselves (and their families).

I decided to open a home where children from such disadvantaged families could live and study. I would provide them with the necessities which they did not have in their own homes, as well as access to Government approved schools. This was the idea which launched Bethany Home, which has been running since . Bethany Home takes in poor children irrespective of religion, community or reputation.

Bethany Home for children is not an institution. It is not run as a hostel or a boarding house. It is a Home where my wife and I take on the roles of mother and father. We try to limit the number of children in the home to around 25, in order that we should retain the family atmosphere. We dine, pray and live together, and we are able to accord each child with warmth, care, love and attention. "Bethany Home" is a unique place for our children, an oasis, providing them with electricity, running water, good food, sanitation, healthcare, accommodation and above all a good education.

 

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