A Beacon for Helpless Children – Bethesda Life
Everyone has a mission to complete in one’s lifetime, but only a few actually have the courage to take it up at an early age. Beena always had an affinity towards helping the poor and needy, even in her childhood. Having been brought up in a home that always had its doors open to the hungry and poor, Beena learnt compassion and generosity at a very young age. True to her passion, she founded the Bethesda Life Centre with her husband, Martin. The aim of the establishment was simple – to provide shelter and support to orphan and needy children.
The ambitious project is presently a resounding success, helping over 150 children to become independent adults and lead respectable lives. However, Beena and Martin have faced their share of challenges in the beginning. It all started with an unwed mother who sought help and shelter at their home. As this young girl had been tested positive for HIV, no one was willing to help her out. Though Beena and Martin did not have extra space in their home for her, they took her in, giving her all the care and assistance she needed. This fuelled their dream further.
Within some months, they were also approached to look after three underprivileged children, who had been orphaned. With some help from sponsors, Beena and Martin were able to house these children in a rented residence, with food and all other amenities provided. Soon their work gained mileage in Goa, with several social organizations seeking to tie up with them. This led to more and more children finding a home in the newly formed Bethesda Life Centre. When the children reached schooling age, they were admitted to well-known schools.
The next challenge that BLC faced was the difficulty in ensuring that the children passed all their subjects in school. Most of the children came from unconventional backgrounds and found it difficult to study in the school setup. Furthermore, several of them faced learning and behavioural difficulties. The teachers at most of the schools were not equipped to deal with the children that obviously needed special attention. Moreover, it was becoming increasingly difficult to constantly monitor each child’s progress at school as this was just one of the many aspects that the BLC was responsible for. Exasperated with the low success rate of the children in school, Beena decided to start a school right within the BLC premises for the children. This would enable the children to remain in a comfortable learning environment and consequently improve their scholastic performance. Thus, the Rising Star School was established. Not surprisingly, there was a meteoric rise in the children’s performance. They were given special attention and training according to their needs. Thus, this ensured that no child was forced to drop out or give up education.
One of the BLC’s driving priorities is to encourage social acceptance of HIV positive children. Though we live in the 21st century, such children are often excluded and ostracised. This alienation coupled with their poverty makes them feel extremely helpless and rejected. The Bethesda Life Centre is one of the few organisations that have the courage to take up this cause. Besides providing such children the emotional support they need, the BLC also gives them the right education and guidance.
With their impact and reach still growing rapidly, the Bethesda Life Centre is a model institution for children’s welfare in Goa. We sincerely hope that more people participate in the BLC’s work and help make the world a truly better place for these children.
Tel: +91 0832 245 9962