Leatherhead Methodist Church


In September, Barbara and I visited our friend Jeyapaul, in Tamil Nadu, to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Kathryn’s Mercy Home, which LMC has been supporting for many of those years. We went with two other couples who have supported the project from the beginning and are the British trustees of the project.

It was an amazing celebration with processions, music, dancing, speeches and food. Unfortunately, we hit the worst rainstorm of the year, and had to move inside, much to Jeyapaul’s disappointment. But the celebrations continued, the girls braved the weather to do their dances outside, while the audience, huddled together under a canopy or shared an umbrella.

We heard from a grandfather, who when his daughter and son-in-law died, had to look after his grand-daughter, and had no resources to do so. He even considered killing her and himself, but she was sent to KMH. He thanked Jeyapaul for saving his and his grand-daughter's lives. We heard from former residents, who spoke of how they had been set on their paths as an actress, an engineer, and a mother that wouldn’t have been possible without KMH. Although we had to have their speeches translated for us, it was a very moving, and happy occasion, despite the rain!

The next day we visited the Christian primary school that Jeyapaul has founded a few miles away from KMH, in the poorest area of the town, where the Dalits live, aiming to offer a good education to those who would struggle to get it otherwise. He proudly says it has the best results in the town. The style is old fashioned from a British point of view. Young children sit in rows and learn by rote, but the writing we saw of the older children was very impressive in its content. Education is seen as the key to improvement for individuals and communities in India, and the commitment to it is very impressive and humbling.

It was good to be able to visit again a project that we and LMC have supported for so long, and see it flourishing so well.

Ian and Barbara Howarth