History of Boys Town YMCA

The independence struggle in India saw the increase in poverty and population, which resulted in the increase of children abandoned and lost families, gave rise to innumerable orphans and destitute children. In order to rehabilitate these street children the YMCA started the ‘Street Boys Club’.  The main objective was to make the destitute children responsible citizens by providing opportunities for mental, physical, and spiritual growth and empower with education and vocational guidance to make them self-reliant.

Genesis

The street boys club started at YMCA Esplanade as a night school was the precursor to the ‘Home for the Homeless’ established at Old Fort Hut in 1947 under the leadership of Mr. G. Solomon, Mr. Lawrence C. Burr. Fraternal Secretary of USA and Mr.V.G. Williams. At the close of the war due to the creditable services rendered to the war victims the Government permitted the acquirement of a Building at Fort. On 1st May 1947 the Home for the Homeless was born. Thanks to the commendable services of YMCA leaders saw the opening of many new facilities for the children, which included starting of Vocational courses such as Carpentry, rattan, tailoring, and an elementary school, which we later upgraded as upper primary school. The home, which started with 5 inmates increased to150.

To accommodate the growing need of the Boys town activities 25 acres of land was acquired at Kottivakkam in1960. With the aid of a small government grant 4 cottages were built and the New Boys Town came into existence. A fresh awakening in the development of Boys town was witnessed with the building of a school, carpentry section, rattan training, welding workshop, multipurpose hall and chapel. A noteworthy feature was the opening of the multipurpose hall by Mr.R.Venkataraman, former President of India.

The Transformation

The modest beginning which started as a night school for pavement dwellers and rag pickers in 1945 saw the functioning of a destitute home and elementary school with15 children and 3 three teachers at the Old Fort Hut, was upgraded to a upper primary school with150 children in1958, Today the school has over 2000 children and 50 teachers and is upgraded as Higher secondary school.

The Primary School that was started at Kottivakkam with abou20 student and 2 teachers today proudly boasts of about 2500 children on rolls and 50 staffs. It truly testifies the saying of Jesus Christ’ be diligent in small thing I shall give you possession over mighty things”. The YMCA has diligently upheld the spiritual values of Christian doctrines as fundamental basis to all its endeavors, and so we witness the fruits of the sincere labour and dedication in the pioneering services offered in rehabilitating the community.

Yes we have grown in number, but we have to miles in achieving our dreams to offer quality Education. Yes we have accomplished in achieving a big task, but the YMCA is relentless in its pursuit to achieve the bigger dream that is to alleviate the quality of Service that deprives children for want of enough resources.

The Challenge

Yes, we are proud that we have made creditable achievements from15 to 100 to 2000to4000, but we are still striving to offer the best that deprives these under privileged children due to lack of financial assistance. We have the school sans tables, library, canteen and playroom. The growing need from local community has compelled to provide additional classrooms. But to provide these basis amenities we require substantial capital. The meager fees collected are barely sufficient to pay salaries, how then are we going to produce quality education.

The Destitute Home has over 50 inmates drawn from the lowest strata of the society. Children of widows, destitute and homeless, who have no place in the society, the YMCA takes care of them. For decades the infrastructure of Boys Town survived with the barest of amenities from available resources.

Boys Town Destitute Home

“No one is incapable of being taught, that no one can do without education, and it is the fundamental birthright of a child to be loved and to be educated”.

The Madras YMCA has been involved in rendering service to the community towards development since 1890 and has entered into many special fields like educating the rural poor children, marginalized farmers children, counseling students, youth and women development, through various projects in and around Madras (Chennai).

Aim and Objectives:

The overall aim of the project is to provide opportunities for the poor orphaned and destitute boys to have good facilities for the development of their life as a whole.

Objectives:

  1. To provide comfortable accommodation and care and counseling for the poor orphaned and destitute boys at the YMCA Boys Home.
  2. To offer the children with special opportunities for education in schools and provide additional support so that they excel in studies.
  3. To meet the physical needs of the boys such as food, dress materials, beddings etc.,
  4. To provide facilities for the boys to develop a healthy physique and encourage them to get trained and participate in state level sports competitions.
  5. To provide recreation facilities for the boys such as indoor and out door games, pleasure trips and exposure visits.
YMCA Kottivakkam Boys Town

Successful Outcomes

Services of the YMCA Boy’s Town are well recognized by the community as many of our inmates have settled well in life with good education, good morale and good standard of living. The time and the years they have spent at the YMCA Home have molded them into successful citizens. They have also developed a sense of personal and community responsibility to uphold this service and have the pleasure of celebrating special occasions such as Christmas and their birthdays at our Boy’s Town. Murugan, a full orphan boy completed his education up to X standard in our Boys’ Town and is currently working in Doordhrshan (Government Television) as senior technical Engineer. With his pocket money, he is used to sponsoring a day meal for our orphanage. Peter completed Hotel management and is currently working in 5 stars Hotel ITC Chola as chef.  Magesh how lived in our home with his brother and completed X standard in April 2014 and has scored 470 out of 500 marks. He is pursuing his studies to fulfill his vision of becoming a Computer Engineer.

Administration & Co-ordination

The General Secretary of the YMCA Madras will be the Chief Executive of this project. There will be a Secretary in charge of the YMCA Boys Town. Under the guidance of the Secretary, the Warden of the home takes care of the day today affairs. He is responsible for maintaining the boys with utmost care and discipline. He acts as a liaison between the home and the school for the boys. There will be a tutor who is responsible for the education of the boys. There will be two cooks to prepare food for the inmates. The care taker would provide drinking water for the boys and takes care of cleanliness and personal hygiene. The watchman or security guards the home during day and night.

Conclusion

Children are the treasures of a Nation and it is believed that education is a strong power to change the world. As YMCA we feel solidarity with the poor and less privileged orphans and destitute boys and we want to continue and sustain the good work initiated by our fore fathers in caring for these poor boys.  It is a responsibility entrusted upon us to love, care and provides opportunity for them to develop a healthy personality and to experience life without frustration and odd patterns of behaviour. We strongly believe that this special effort taken by the YMCA will be a tiny spark to light the darkened lives of poor orphaned children.

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