Christian mission service, a charitable organization, has been caring for orphan and destitute children for the past 49 years. It has 74 institutions for the care of children, young people and senior citizens, mostly located in rural areas.Presently for 6,000 and approximately 45,000 have passed through the gates of CMS.
The children are normally admitted to the Homes between the ages of five and ten. They are usually brought by a relative, parent or guardian, and sometimes by the police or a pastor. Admission to the CMS Homes is without reference to caste, creed, or religion. The only criteria are that they should be orphans or semi-orphans and destitute. A substantial section of the children of CMS Homes are from backward rural areas and from neglected refugee and tribal sections. In many cases children admitted to these homes are those, who could not get placements in institutions elsewhere.
After admission, the Mission attempts to put the children under foster care through the Indian Fostership Scheme and through its offices in Germany and Switzerland.
Over the years the CMS Homes have changed their pattern and style of working, aiming to progressively improve the care given to the children. Through experience we have learned that orphan children develop healthily, mentally and psychologically if they live together as groups of boys and girls in a family atmosphere. In the Children’s Village and Children’s Homes, 9 boys and 9 girls are normally accommodated in one cottage under the care of a house mother or house parents who have been specially trained and equipped to look after the Mental, physical and spiritual development of the children. The work of the different house mothers or house parents in a Children’s Home or Village is coordinated by a Warden who is trained to look after the total maintenance of the Home.
In the Home, the children are provided with all their daily needs such as food, clothing, school uniforms, education and gifts during festivals, and recreational facilities. Children are given a well-balanced diet. A Dietician supervises all the Home kitchens, storekeepers and the cooks and gives the necessary advice on the diet. Usually children dine as a family group. House fathers and house mothers are expected to sit and dine with the children to enable them to have close contact with them. Their health status is periodically checked through full time medical and health personnel employed by CMS as well as through voluntary help from private medical practitioners. The children are taught to wash and keep their own clothes neat and help keep their Homes and surroundings clean and beautiful.
Opportunities are given to the children to develop their talents. They are encouraged to participate in dramas, singing, drawing, painting, gardening etc.
The children are educated through local schools. House parents escort the children to school every day. The children are helped in their education by supervising their home study and giving them tuition in the evenings to improve in difficult subjects. In addition special classes and motivating courses are organized before public exams and bridge courses during the holidays for those who are going into SSLC classes.
After completing their schooling, those who secure more than 65% marks are sent to +2 class and later for higher education in external institutions, (colleges, universities and professional institutions). The others are sent for vocational training, mainly run by the mission itself. There are 12 such Training Centers run by the Mission. These include three Industrial Training centers, an Agricultural Institute, three Tailoring Institutes, a Printing Press and Institute, and a Weaving Institute.
The spiritual growth and development of the children is taken care of through having regular morning and evening devotions in the Homes led by the house parents, attendance at Sunday services both in the Homes and at local churches, Sunday schools and VBS classes. Many of the children have moving testimonies of having experienced the love of God in their lives through the care and love they receive in the Homes.
After completing their graduation or training the young people are given advice and guidance for further employment. CMS helps them go into the world and settle down.
During the past 49 years CMS has registered considerable progress. The number of the children supported by CMS has increased from a few in 1957 to 600 in 1966, 1483 in 1972, 3735 in 1982, 6082 in 1992 and 6500 at present. The Mission has 29 Children’s Homes and 14 Training Centers in five states in India. The Mission also has a Home for mentally disabled children, a home for the physically disabled, and a home for the aged.
Apart from the Homes, CMS runs Day Care Centers (Creches) for children above three, whose parents are poor workers. When they start to go to school they are given tuition in the evenings till 8.30 pm.
The Mission also helps poor people in the neighborhood. For example at the CMS Central Office at Coonoor poor people and beggars come regularly to receive financial help and spiritual guidance. Others are given a few kilograms of rice regularly. During Christmas time poor people are provided with blankets and clothing. Free medical help is also given for the most needy.
A small hospital has been started to give treatment to deserving people in the area. Through its ‘Home for the Homeless’ Programme CMS has also constructed free houses for poor aged people and widows.
As the population in India increases and financial and social stresses are greater in this modern world, the needs of people increase and CMS has grown and developed to meet these needs.
It would not be possible to run these institutions without the 680 dedicated, selfless and committed staff (some of whom were looked after, and trained by the Mission), who are working in it.
CMS is also an expression of the willingness of groups of Christians from India, Germany and Switzerland and other countries to share the burden of the poor in countries like India.
Above all we give thanks and praise to our Lord for calling us to serve Him through His children and for enabling us to grow and develop to meet their needs.