Friends Helping FriendS
In 1989, Father Bernardine realized a vision and everything what Bethsaida is now, was the impetus. The Ayurveda Resort Bethsaida Hermitage is part of the "BETHSAIDA organization" and was created as a fundraising initiative. We offer guests accommodation and meals in order to invest the profit in our charity projects.
At the beginning there were only 15 orphan boys with different social backgrounds, for which we were able to provide a roof over their heads and teaching. Today BETHSAIDA has more comprehensive and ambitious charitable projects, which are organized according to the vision of Father Bernardine.
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Rosa Mystica orphanage for boys & St. Therese orphanage for girls
These two orphanages, including schools up to secondary school level were set up to accommodate boys and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and to teach them. Most children come from families living below the poverty line and their social living conditions are not stable. Others are from low-income families with only one parent. All children are welcome, no matter what caste and religion they belong to.
Both orphanages and schools are equal. All pupils are taught and they spend most of their time together in the homes. Once a month, and during the holidays the minors return home to continue relationship with their family, friends and to maintain contact to their home village.
During the school year, students in the humanities are taught natural and social sciences, as well as chemistry, physics, biology, computer science and home economics. The diploma of the Rosa Mystica- and St. Therese School is very prestigious. The aim is that as many of the young graduates receive a solid professional training and so their desire for a well-paying and meaningful profession comes true.
Marion Public School
Approximately 750 children aged 3 to 18 years visit this English-language mixed day school. The children are picked up daily from the surrounding villages by the school bus and returned after school. This day school model is another pioneering achievement from Bethsaida, allowing both parents to work.
The special thing about this school is the guiding principle, to enable children from disadvantaged families in rural villages an English-language training. English schools are widespread in India, more in the cities than over the countryside. The children of the "Marion Public School" have the same curriculum as students in public schools.
Their guardians pay, whenever possible, monthly 500 rupees as own contribution to the educational costs of their child, but the majority of the costs is taken over by Bethsaida Organization who manages the school.
Trivandrum Hotel School
For the graduates, it was not always easy to find adequate training courses after their school years in the orphanages. Bethsaida Organization founded a country-approved Hotel Management School in July of 2010.
The two-year course in "Hotel Management" includes theory and practice. The newly built training center has all the facilities it needs to learn typical hotel work and practice. The trainees receive their practical training here at the front desk, in the kitchen, in service and in-house service. During a three-month internship at various hotels in Kerala, the male and female students can apply what they have learned. Upon successful completion, graduates receive a recognized diploma from the Indian state.
BETHSAIDA College of Arts and Science
Apart from the training at the hotel school all the students visit the University in Trivandrum on the weekends. So after the third year they can pursue a bachelor degree in business administration, computer science or sociology. Depending on their qualifications their study can be continued afterwards.
Industrial Training Institute Vocational Training
Young women from the villages are offered practical training in the workshops. These women were not able to complete school or other advanced training for various reasons or because of their financial background. Offered are courses in keyboarding, in sewing and tailoring with a basic course. These courses are recognized by the state and lead to a diploma.
In the bookbinding and printing sector the young women earn a small wage.
With the money earned, the women can pay part of her marriage dowry. The Indian society demands from the families of marriageable girls the payment of huge sums of money to the groom's family. Women in India can occupy a respected place in Indian society only through marriage or as a nun.
"Carmelites of Divine Mercy" Carmelite convent school
In the sister community "Carmelites of Divine Mercy" young women who opt for this route, are destined for a very demanding training time to be nuns. Nuns enjoy a high reputation in the Indian society. They can use their influence and bring much good after their training in the villages as teachers, nursing staff or social workers.
In the future the congregation will take up the activities initiated by Father Bernardine, founder of these institutions.
Animators program / Care takers in the villages
Bethsaida organisation has set up a support and counseling program for 52 villages since 1997. Each village is assigned an "animator", i.e a supervisor, whose task is to discuss problems with the villagers and to find solutions. Each "animator" is supported in the village by 4 assistants, so-called "leaders". The "animators" are paid for their work from Bethsaida. All caregivers meet once a month, to discuss problems in their villages and seek solutions together. This project will allow the women in the villages to be more capable of action and promotes self-help among the population.
Day care for needy elders
In the villages there are many single elderly men and women. Older people are often alone after their retirement , because their families lack the financial means to provide for them.
Every morning after the school children have arrived in the schools, the school bus picks them up from the surrounding villages and brings them to the day-care centers on the Bethsaida terrain.
They spend time with Father Bernardine talking and praying. They receive a free hot lunch from the Bethsaida central kitchen, which in turn provides jobs for local people.
If necessary, medical care is organized. In the late afternoon, they will be taken back to their villages.
The fully equipped dental office is housed in the premises of JB.-Hospital. This is a small hospital, which is currently not used, but when needed, however, may shortly begin its function.
In the dental practice, the children of the orphanage schools and residents from the surrounding area are examined and treated.
Thank you for your interest in the projects described in this statement. We look forward to welcoming you as a partner.
News about the latest developments can be found regularly on the bulletin board at the reception. Guests learn where their financial support flows. We try to document ongoing projects in words and pictures, so you can keep updated during your stay.
Updated Nov. 26th, 2015