Our children come from different backgrounds – some are orphans, others are children of HIV/AIDS-affected parents but are themselves negative, some are children of commercial sex workers and children of parents with leprosy and incurable diseases. At the Bethesda Life Centre, these children receive love, care and attention in a safe & comfortable home. Their needs for food, clothing, medical treatment are met here. They also receive a formal education.
We have three residential care homes; each home has 24/7 electricity and running water, attached toilets and bathrooms. The dormitories are equipped with individual beds & cotton mattresses for each child, and individual storage space for their belongings. Industrial washers are used to manage the laundry in every home. Our homes are also equipped with fire safety equipment.
A senior warden and two caregivers provide support and care for the children in each home, and a resident cook prepares meals that provide the children a balanced diet every day. Qualified doctors visit the homes regularly to run routine health-checks for each of our children. We have access to public playgrounds so that our children can play & have opportunities to participate in community sports.
We look after our children in 3 homes: Rebekah’s Enclave is home to all our girls, Daniel’s Enclave is home to our boys under the age of 9, and Joshua’s Enclave is home to our older boys. More than 400 children have received support, care & education through the care home project at BLC over the last 13 years.
From Monday to Saturday, everyone at home is up bright and early: 6am. The dormitory is bustling with activity as we all race to gobble up breakfast at 7am, and then get ready for school by 8am. Some of my younger friends can’t keep up with the pace so our caregivers help them get ready, and we all head off to school in our school bus.
After a long day at school we head home at 2pm where our cook & caregivers have a warm, tasty lunch waiting for us. We eat lots of different things as part of the menu the cook prepares for the week: meat, fish, eggs and lots of vegetables (which are not so popular with everyone!). After lunch we rest for a while and then sit down to finish our homework until 4:30pm. The Warden and a few volunteers help us with our studies during this time. When I find it difficult to understand something at school, my warden sits with me during study time at home and helps me understand it properly so that I can do well at school.
With study time out of the way we feast on tea & biscuits at 4:30 pm and head out for my favourite time of the day – outdoor playtime for 90 minutes! We play football, cricket, badminton… so much fun!
We go back indoors at 7:15pm and freshen up for devotion time together. We sit down for dinner at 8pm. After dinner we have time to talk to each other and get our things ready for the next day. Being among the older children in the home, I help the warden and caregivers to do things around the home. This helps me learn how to care for others and take responsibility for things. It’s lights out at 10pm by which time I am so ready to just sleep!
Sundays are special days! We can wake up late and don’t have to think about schoolwork. We just do things that make us happy – relaxing, going to the beach, watching a movie or doing something adventurous or naughty together and have a good laugh! Our warden supervises us to make sure we don’t get into trouble!