The Betty Boys Home is a boarding school run by the missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, located in Kolli Hills, in the Namakkal district, state of Tamil Nadu, India.
In this region, one of the poorest of the country, life for children is very challenging. The number of orphans and homeless children is indeed very high, schooling is below average and the level of children’s work related exploitation is high.
The majority of families living in this region work in agriculture, have a very low income and, as often happens in poor and rural areas, education of children is a very much neglected aspect. The low school attendance is principally caused by the long distance between villages and schools and by the impossibility for families to afford the transportation expenses. These mountainous areas indeed do not facilitate the connections between the various villages: in the BBH’s neighbouring areas there are around 32.000 people spread in more than 270 villages.
In order to face this situation, the MSFS’s priests together with the locals, thought to build a boarding school for the poorest students; with AVSI’s aid economical support, thanks to the funds raised for the Tsunami emergency, they built the Betty Boys Home, inaugurated in 2007.
The building counts two floors: at the ground floor there is the kitchen, the dining room and a library, at the first floor there is a dormitory, a study room, a chapel, a PE room and the bathrooms.
The school follows the SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Instruction for everyone) state programme, educating children and teenagers aged 6 to 14. Since 2015, following a governmental guideline, the school can host only male students. At present it can host 50 children and the missionaries are working to have government permission to host 75.
The main objective of the institution is to instil trust and courage in the children’s lives, as regards each individual’s circumstance. This is why, in addition to schooling, various other activities are proposed to the children, such as yoga, karate, dancing, meditation, painting and many more.
The school’s motto is “From darkness to light”.