The CRHD Story
The story of Cross Roads for Human Development
In 1968 a little7 year old boy named Joseph who came from the ‘dalit’ or outcaste background, walked out of the village of Turukanadoni and headed for the Mission School in the city of Raichur, Kartartaka State, South India, some 14 miles away. He was wearing a pair of shorts and a shirt, no shoes. He had been chosen by the missionaries to receive an education at the boarding school. Despite extreme poverty and the early death of his father in his teenage years he managed to complete his education and went on to gain a degree, then Master’s degrees and became a lecturer at South India Biblical Seminary and Union Biblical Seminary, Pune. Finally he came to England, to Manchester, to study for a Ph.D in Theology which he completed in 1998. In 2000 accompanied by his wife and two young sons he took a lay-worker’s post in Bristol at Totterdown Methodist Church to work with Indian and Pakistani Christians.
His name is The Revd Dr Joseph Suray and he is now serving the Methodist Church along with his wife, Nutan, also an ordained Methodist minister.
While working with the Revd Gill Evans at Totterdown in Bristol he shared the story of his childhood, his struggles, his triumph over adversity and finally the vision that had come to him many years before and which he had never lost, namely that of starting a school in his native village so that the chance of education could be given to the young children locked into a unending cycle of poverty.
The vision became a reality as money was raised to start a nursery class in rooms which were built on to the village church. In 2002 Joseph, his family and Gill flew to India and were in the village for the consecration and opening of ‘Kids Paradise’ school. It was an immediate success but it became evident that larger premises were going to be needed. Again money was raised to buy land and to construct a purpose-built school with three classrooms, a hall and a kitchen. The new school opened in 2004 with 3 teachers and three classes, the nursery with 40+ children, class one with 27 children and class two with 25 children. The school gained approval from the government to provide primary schooling. This whole area on the granite Deccan plateau is designated as likely to experience drought. It is impoverished and children are undernourished. It was decided therefore to provide them with a basic midday meal, usually rice and dhal with some vegetables and so the school also employed a cook.
At first the children were entirely from the ‘outcaste’ or ‘dalit’ background but as the school gained respect in the village for its good practice and teaching, Hindu caste people and Muslim parents asked for their children to be admitted. For the first time in that village there is a chance for caste and outcaste to meet, learn and play together. Parents of caste children understand that this school has a Christian ethos and will teach the children about Jesus and they accept this because they recognise that Kid’s Paradise provides good schooling.
In 2007 the growing numbers at the school meant more fund-raising to provide more classrooms. A second story was added and was opened in 2008. This was a magnificent effort and the building is admired by all who visit. The added accommodation. has provided 5 more classrooms and a much needed office.
The purchase of land adjoining the school provided the children with a large play area and in the far corner a bore well now provides running water throughout the year. This has an electric pump so the original hand pump which tended to fail in the dry season has gone.
In 2011 the school was employing 8 full-time teachers. The enlarged premises allow the school to offer education to the full primary age range. This terminates at the end of year 7 in India. Maths, Science, Environmental Studies, Kannada, English and Physical Education form the core of the syllabus but there is also a daily act of worship with Christian teaching.
The school reached a full complement of approaching 200 students in 2011. Each year several of our students gain gold medals in competitive state exams for science and maths and inspectors have given the school excellent reports.
Thanks to some very generous donations CRHD India was able to purchase the equivalent of a small minibus. This has made a big difference in that staff can be transported to and from the city. The vehicle can be hired by local people and emergencies dealt with.
Cross Roads for Human Development or CRHD is the name we gave our organisation. It is registered as a charity in India. Its counterpart in Great Britain is also a registered charity and raises funds in many different ways, by regular standing orders from supporters, donations and various events. It has no paid staff and is committed not only to seeing the work of the village primary school flourish but also in the longer term to establishing a secondary boarding school in the nearby city of Raichur. Thanks to a most generous donation land was purchased and a possible design for the development drawn up. All that is needed is of course a lot of money! The secondary school project would ideally be part of an education centre which would train pastors and teachers and offer agricultural training as well as providing hostels for ‘dalit’ (outcaste) students who are studying in the city. There could also be facilities for the elderly and a medical centre.
A sewing project to help women support themselves and their families was started originally in the home of Mr and Mrs Y. Daniel in Raichur. Sewing machines were purchased and the women, mainly very young married Muslim girls who attend classes are taught basic sewing, machine skills and machine embroidery along with designing and making simple clothes for their children. There are now 2 centres in Raichur and Mrs Daniel does a wonderful job. To date more than 500 women have completed their training.
A ‘health worker’ is now employed to come to the centres on a weekly basis to answer questions and offer general health related issues. This can be very helpful in a country where issues relating to sex are generally regarded as taboo.
Sadly our beloved President of CRHD India, Mr Y Daniel died of cancer in 2009. He is greatly missed. He was a wonderful man of outstanding integrity and had been a father figure to our Chairman Revd Dr Joseph for many years. It is very hard for Mrs Daniel to carry on without him but she is a woman of great faith and courage and her work with the women’s project is greatly appreciated.
Through generous help CRHD has been able to offer the necessary finance to train three nurses and support the training of a young man as a teacher.
There are plans open a pre-school project in the city. This would involve parents paying a small fee and would therefore be self financing.
The present challenge for CRHD is how best to help those students who have now reached the end of primary education and desperately want to continue their education at secondary level.
Finance is the only obstacle. If we had enough money we could build a secondary school on our land near to the city or perhaps even start classes within the city. We could partially finance the boarding fees for students to attend the old mission school in Raichur but these options are not financially viable at present.
The committees in both India and Great Britain would like to extend their thanks to all who have donated so generously and enabled the project to flourish and of course if you would like to donate or have ideas on where new finance could come from then please let us know!
Our first ‘batch’ of students who started in our pre-school class in 2002 has now reached the end of compulsory education and that is something of which we can be very proud. The majority of our students would have had no education at all without Kids Paradise School.
To God be the glory!