C H I T
Children’s Homes in India Trust
CHIT is currently supporting two children's homes in Andhra Pradesh. One is in the town of Bapatla, the other in the small village of Nidamarru, both in Guntur District in East Andhra Pradesh. To find Bapatla on a map, click here and look for the red circle. Zoom in and out to get a better idea. Nidamarru is not shown, but is approximately 60 km north of Bapatla, 10 km south of Vijayawada.
The picture on the right shows the main block of the Bapatla campus. The home has a capacity of about 250 children, accommodated in segregated boys' and girls' dormitories. Children are normally taken in when they are about 7 years old, but for the last two years, while we were building up our numbers, children of 8 to 10 have also been accepted. They attend high school locally until aged 16 and then, depending on academic achievement transfer to college or vocational training. While they are at the local sixth form college they still live in the home. If studying some distance away, the home continues to support them up to and including first degree level studies.
The Nidamarru campus is smaller, about half the capacity, built in a similar style.
Both homes feature in the video downloadable from this website (see About us). They are run by a team of about 18, led by Director Mrs Rachel Rani, and a Warden at each home. They are supported by house parents and a resident qualified nurse who all live on campus with the children. Other staff look after cooking, washing, mending and other duties around the homes. The general management of the homes also requires a small administrative team who deal with correspondence, including with UK supporters, and the accounts. The Director is accountable to a management committee that operates in the manner of a board of governors or trustees, and is itself subject to Indian legislation roughly equivalent to the UK Charities Act. Formerly GCVS of Bapatla Andhra Pradesh, the Indian management committee have recently registered the new name Children's Homes Society.
Almost all the education provided, including the high school next to the Bapatla home, is delivered in the local language, Telugu, and Hindi is also taught. The governors of the Elizabeth Barrie High School have decided to change the teaching to English Medium. We judge that it will give the children an exceptional boost to their potential. In the first instance this will probably be through making the possibility of transfer at age 16 easier by giving them more immersion in English in the last one or two years at high school. Two English teachers from the UK helped at the high school for six weeks in January/February 2008 going out with the Trustees on their annual visit. Claire and Stuart Brown have returned on two further occasions. They have really stimulated the children's interest in learning English. Teachers, preferably with a T.E.F.L. qualification who would like to help in this way should contact George Kent on 01225 863124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The governance arrangements between CHIT and the Indian management are deliberately kept simple to ensure that the basics are attended to well. They fall into three main areas:
• Financial control and reporting, including performance reporting
• Safeguarding children
• Health & Safety
Financial control and reporting, including performance reporting
Financial controls are designed around the annual budget, which is prepared by the Director for agreement by the management committee and then referred to CHIT trustees for information and comment if appropriate. Thereafter, so long as the income to the homes permits it, expenditure is committed in accordance with the budget by the Director and Wardens. Emergency expenses (medical expenses for a sick child are a typical example) will be approved provisionally by a Standing Committee of the key members of the management committee and fully examined and ratified at the next full committee meeting.
Such is the principle. In 2009/10 problems arose due to inflation and the strengthening rupee, but the Homes coped well. Extra costs were incurred for rice and vegetables, emergency repairs to the jeep and an overrun on the cost of building the 35,000 litre water tower.
Accounts are managed by an accountant, and transactions are endorsed by the Treasurer of the management committee. To satisfy local regulation the homes must submit an annual report including financial statements on completion of their financial year (31 March). Additionally the accountant prepares a receipts and payments report monthly for each of the several accounts operated and summarises these in quarterly reports. The quarterly reports are submitted to the management committee and to the CHIT trustees.
Performance reporting is steadily improving.
CHIT has worked closely with the Director of the homes to develop what we consider to be an appropriate matching pair of child protection policies. In India, the policy, which has been certified on each page by every member of the management committee and three CHIT trustees, focuses on the responsibilities of the Wardens as the child protection officer in each home, the arrangements for screening staff and others as appropriate, and arrangements for independent support. As we encourage committed supporters to visit the homes, and given the regrettable risk that this could be a conduit for abuse, we have agreed a process of screening of UK visitors. We shall continue to monitor the propriety of communications between children in India and supporters in UK. Reports on implementation are expected together with the quarterly financial reports.
Health & Safety
Health & Safety is governed by a simple overarching policy that identifies the Warden of each home as responsible for the health and safety of the home, and it details the principal risk areas the Warden is expected to observe. In addition a more detailed check sheet is provided to the Warden as a source of advice on what inspections to carry out and what to expect of the other members of staff. It is difficult to require safety standards comparable with those expected in the UK, as the domestic and work environments are very different. Rather than attempting to engineer out risks that are commonplace in the community, CHIT is encouraging the homes to educate both staff and children about hazards and how to avoid them. An inspection is regularly made at our request from the electricity company and the fire brigade.
A daily log is carefully kept, in English, by the director of welfare. This is inspected
by the responsible trustee on their annual visit. The nurse also keeps detailed records
of illnesses and treatment provided. After the visit of Dr Kal Rai the trustees approved
his recommendation that all children on entering the home for the first time should
have a chest x-
Current financial picture
A summary of the current and recent financial position, may be obtained on request by contacting us at email@example.com.