The Centre now has around 400 children in its care of whom approximately 70% are total orphans and another 10% have only one parent.
Most of them live with a member of their family, maybe a cousin or often a grandmother, but about a third of the children live at the Centre during term time. None can afford to attend a state run school. The Centre keeps records of all the children and makes regular visits to homes to check that all is well. At the Centre they receive medical attention, food, clothes and education. Children are thrilled to be taken on by the Bala Children’s Centre, as they know they have been given the opportunity of a good education and of making something of their lives.
The Centre now has a primary school, a secondary school, and a twelve acre farm, all on separate sites. The educational standards are high and about a third in the first class of seniors to leave secondary school at the end of 2013 won scholarships to university. In addition, the primary school results are always considerably better than the 25 state schools in the area. This is a result of the love, encouragement and discipline strongly instilled by the Centre.
The charity welcomes visits to the Centre from its supporters (at their own expense) and at least one group per year has visited from the UK since 2006. These visits enable us to keep up-to-date with the Centre’s developments and challenges and allow us to spend time with the children.
Bala has a policy of never turning away a child in need, which means its numbers and needs are ever growing.
The UK Bala Charity has always sent, and will continue to send, a monthly amount towards the Centre’s regular expenditure, such as food, staff salaries, and all that is necessary to it. Unfortunately, the monthly amount that we send is considerably short of what they need. We have though been able to provide the money to buy the 3 sites, and build all the classrooms and associated buildings.
Our goal, however, has always been to make the whole operation self-sufficient by helping them to start income-producing projects. We are on the way to doing this, having established a small dairy farm and a poly-greenhouse on the agricultural land, both of which have been set up with expert local advice. There are several high yielding cows in the dairy and we will continue to increase the numbers as the farm expands. The aim for the poly-houses is for them to produce 3 crops a year. A river that borders the land flows all year, and water is pumped as necessary.