MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Through staying at Bethsaida Hermitage you are automatically being given the
opportunity to support the many charity projects that we fund and are actively
involved with on a day to day basis in this area. The money you spend on your
food, ayurveda and accommodation goes directly to the projects listed below and
is very much needed. As you can see, the projects are ever growing, which means
more and more funding is needed to sustain them and carry on helping as many
underprivileged people as we can. The projects rely heavily on your support and
we appreciate all donations no matter how small. The support you will be giving
by staying with us gives the people benefiting from the projects much needed
help in the in the form of general support, money, food, accommodation, medicine
and education. Please read on to find out more……
A History of Bethsaida…..
Back in 1989, a priest called Pater Bernadine realised a vision he had by
setting in motion all that ‘Bethsaida’ now stands for. The Hermitage was set up
as part of ‘Bethsaida’ as a fund raising initiative so that we could provide
accommodation and food for people, and all the profit they brought to Bethsaida
Hermitage would go to the charity projects. Back in 1989, the first ‘Bethsaida’
project started out by housing and educating just 15 children from various
backgrounds. ‘Bethsaida’ is now the umbrella name under which several large and
complex charity projects are run. Currently, Pater Bernadine’s vision has grown
into an amalgamation of several projects under the ‘Bethsaida’ umbrella which
are detailed below:
Rosa Mystica Orphanage Higher Secondary School for Boys
& St. Therès Orphanage for girls
These two orphanages, which are also schools, were set up to house and educate boys and girls from all different underprivileged backgrounds and situations. In general the children at the orphanages come from backgrounds where they are living below the poverty line, they come from unsustainable social situations or from low income single parent families. The children are welcomed from all locations and belong to all castes and religions.
The orphanages and schools are run in much the same way as each other with all pupils going through their schooling and spending most of their young lives there. The boys and girls have holidays 3 times per year when they get to go back to their homes and maintain their relationships with their family members, friends and the place they come from.
By the time the pupils graduate from the schools, they specialise in the humanities, social sciences, chemistry, physics, biology, computer science and home economics. Young people who graduate from this school take with them the highly regarded qualification of being a graduate of Rosa Mystica / St Therèse and the intention is that they move on with a solid education and every chance of gaining well paid, fulfilling employment.
Marion Public School
More than 300 children from 3 – 10 years of age study at this mixed school. The
children get picked up from their villages by school bus every day and are
dropped back after the school day ends. A small percentage of these children’s
guardians contribute US$2 per month to their education and the rest of the costs
are covered by the ‘Bethsaida’ charity funds. These children come from
underprivileged rural communities and would otherwise remain uneducated. The
challenge at this school is that the parents are themselves uneducated and
therefore are unable to support the school in their endeavours to teach the
children. The curriculum here is the same as other normal city schools in India.
Industrial Training Institute
More than a hundred and fifty women learn in and work for this Institute. The
women here have been unable to finish their studies or have been unable to
continue with their studies for various social reasons due to disadvantaged
backgrounds or unfortunate circumstances. They learn tailoring, embroidering,
book binding, typewriting and weaving. This Institute not only gives these women
the opportunity to learn valuable skills for life but also helps them contribute
towards raising funds for their dowries.
J.B. Hospital is a small, basically equipped healthcare unit that was created
for children who fall sick and who attend both orphanages. It also gives medical
assistance and general heath care to the poor and those who are unable to afford
any kind of medical care. The hospital has an x-ray machine, provides dental
care and has an ECG machine as well as laboratory facilities for performing
This outreach programme has created the space for 52 village people, each
responsible for their own village, to discuss and resolve village life problems.
The village people, who we call ‘Animators’ are assisted by 4 ‘Leaders’ who are
employed by ‘Bethsaida’. We have monthly meetings where the Animators and
Leaders meet up to discuss issues that are going on in the village and how to
resolve and handle them in the best way possible. This project gives villagers
the opportunity to feel empowered in their lives and helps village life run
smoothly with the guidance and support of balanced and educated Leaders.
Millennium Project “ Sisu Sangamam Programme”
This project was born in the year 2000 to celebrate the new Millennium. The
programme encourages and supports the parents or guardians of these children,
from the age of 5 years, to pay a certain amount of rupees per month into a
savings account so that when the now 5 year old child reaches the age of 18,
there will be an amount of 75,000 rupees (approx 1,400 Euro). This amount of
money will be there to pay for whatever higher education they might want to
pursue, can contribute to their dowry payment or can help them in starting out
in a career. Bethsaida’s staff make sure that they track each child and ensure
they attend school each day throughout the period and that the parents or
guardians pay that money into the savings account each month for them.
The reason that this project requires lots of funding from us is that very often
the parents or guardians are unable to pay the suggested sum into the savings
accounts of the children and Bethsaida funds always top up the amount, when the
child reaches 18, to the €1,400 that was originally aimed for. This can mean
that we often multiply the saved amount by up to 5 or 6 times in order to give
each child on the scheme the same amount and the same start in their young adult
lives. As you can imagine, this is a very costly scheme but one that means so
much to the young adults who receive that headstart when they head out in to the
Old Age Pension
Many elderly people in this area are neglected and nearly 200 people per day
come to Bethsaida’s Day Programme where they spend time praying with Pater
Bernadine, receive food, medical care and a small monthly pension amount for
them to live on. The intention is for this programme to grow and for us to be
able to house those elderly people in need.
In the local dialect of the region, ‘Nanmarana Sahai’ means ‘help for the dead’,
this project gives financial assistance to people whose family members have died
but who are unable to buy a coffin and clothes for the burial ceremony.
Thank you for your support in reading about our projects and we look forward to
welcoming you here.
We always have regular updates in our Reception on our notice board which tells
guests where their support is being directed and gives news of any developments
in any of the charity projects as they happen. We do our best to have up to date
and varied photos up there so do make sure you have a look during your stay with