Chinna Kalvarayan Hills of Tamilnadu lies in the heart of rural southern India. It suffers from poverty, poor education and has largely missed out on the modernisation seen in the major cities of India.
The Bethesda Project brings hope to the lives of almost 600 children by providing quality education in an area where education is often neglected.
This is particularly beneficial for young girls who can miss out on formal education. Take for example the story of Rachel, who after attending the Gnana Deepam Matriculation School was able to go on and study as a doctor in China. This is all the more remarkable, as she had never previously left the area.
But, the Bethesda project doesn’t just provide quality education. It gives a home for over 30 children who have been orphaned and destitute. In addition the project provides residential facilities for children in isolated communities, beyond the catchment area of the bus service the school offers.
It also exists to support the broader community and show the love of Christ in practical ways through a thriving church.
Our connection with Bethesda
Blandford Evangelical Church became involved in the Bethesda Project through Sarah Devaraj.
Sarah grew up in BEC and later qualified as a teacher and taught in local schools. She took time out to engage in mission in South America and later went on to study theology at Moorland’s Bible College. It was here that she met her husband Simon Devaraj and together they felt called to work in the Bethesda Project. The Project had been established by Simon’s parents, initially to provide training to local people in improved agricultural techniques and husbandry, centred on the small farm . The Project developed a school and childrens’homes for orphaned children and those from extremely impoverished families. Alongside this Project a small church was established, which continues to grow today and has planted another.
The Project is in part, funded by support from BEC, but also through child sponsorship. In 2013 a team of twelve people from BEC visited the Project and ran activities, taught in lessons, provided coaching in athletics and various sports and led some craft activities. There was also some spiritual input through daily meetings for children in the boys’and the girls’homes. Following on from this, one of the team members, Trudi Carter, returned as a volunteer between 2014 and 2016, to provide coaching and training support for pupils from the school in athletics, hockey, football, netball and various other sports. Working alongside other Project Team members, a number of significant sporting accolades were achieved.
Sarah and Simon have introduced us to the work of Bethesda and the need to help this impoverished part of India. We support them financially, provide prayer cover and help practically wherever possible.
If you would like to know more about the work of Sarah and Simon, or support them in someway; contact the church office.