The House  |  Empowerment Foundation  |  Financial Support  |  Photos

Soorya Udayam Illam, "The House of the Rising Sun", is situated in South India. This relief centre for some 40 children was made possible partly due to the support of "Wilde Ganzen" and NCDO*. It also functions as an educational centre for children from the region. Building started in 2004, and in 2006 the first children moved in.
Soorya Udayam Illam is an eco-friendly, partly self-supporting project.
The Empowerment Foundation is the local executive organisation, with Rany and Srikanth as inspiring and driving forces. Together they put into practice a type of development aid that is efficient and durable, and aimed at emancipation.
The relief centre Soorya Udayam Illam is the core of the other welfare work the Empowerment Foundation does, such as the emancipation of the local community through self-help groups and micro credits, educational programmes, health care and hygiene education.

* Nationale Commissie voor internationale samenwerking en duurzame ontwikkeling [National Commission for International Coorperation and Lasting Development]

Relief centre

The Home, with Rany and Srikanth as mother and father, offers children who, for whatever reason, cannot live at home anymore, a loving, happy and safe environment. There are neglected and abandoned children, street children, orphans, and children who had to work far too hard, some even in prostitution. What they all have in common is that school attendance was erratic, giving them virtually no chance to extricate themselves from their situation. In Soorya Udayam Illam the sun comes out again for all of them …
The majority of children in the house are girls, because in India they are most vulnerable.
Soorya Udayam Illam lies near Pondicherry, a safe five kilometres from the coast that was hit by the Tsunami in 2004. The Home is also a haven to children who lost their parents in this disaster. They were usually looked after locally, but not always in the most efficient way. Since then, mostly girls have found themselves in dire circumstances with hardly any hope of a future.
The Home has a central space where activities take place, a kitchen for cooking, general sanitary facilities, and 8 sleeping units, each with a separate bath/toilet facility, for 5 to 6 children. It's surrounded by a luscious garden that includes a vegetable patch and a cow shed.

Educational centre

A relatively small investment to expand Soorya Udayam Illam made it possible to also use it as an educational centre for local children. More than a hundred follow classes as part of dropout education (for children who have fallen behind and cannot simply go into ordinary education), and exam preparation. There are computer, nature, culture, and many other classes. This kind of education usefully supplements regular education, which is limited to basic skills (reading, writing, arithmetic).
At the moment, education is offered on a project basis, but when structural financing is in place for salaries, the educational centre will be able to become an independent, regular school.


Soorya Udayam Illam is an environmentally friendly project, which tries to be self-sufficient as much as possible. An organic vegetable garden and fruit trees guarantee healthy and varied meals, which are extra tasty thanks to the varied herb garden. A well was drilled for (drinking) water, and a couple of cows do not only produce milk, but also manure and biogas. A special installation turns the cow dung into gas, which is used for cooking.
Both the resident children and the children in the educational projects are taught about everything to do with nature: all the different flowers, herbs and plants, and their uses; the impact of the seasons; and maintaining a (vegetable) garden. The children are close to nature, and, moreover, they enjoy taking good care of it.
At the moment we are looking for funds to equip Soorya Udayam Illam with a solar energy installation.

Empowerment Foundation

The Befriend organisation cooperates with the Empowerment Foundation, the local Indian partner that runs and manages the project. The Empowerment Foundation distinguishes itself by its modern approach to development aid. It focuses mainly on the "empowerment" of women and children through education, offering relief, self-help groups, and micro credits. More than two hundred self-help groups have already been set-up with the support of the Empowerment Foundation, which are all running successfully. Because the Foundation offers this wide range of activities in the local community, it is an established and respected regional organisation, which means the reach and impact go beyond ‘just’ taking care of and counselling street children and orphans.
From its social experience the Empowerment Foundation knows like no other which children qualify for the support Soorya Udayam Illam can offer.

Why are “empowerment” and your support so important?

- In India poverty is systemic and omnipresent. It is true the Indian economy is on the way up, but this only profits a few. 40% of the population still lives below the poverty line. There’s a world to win by supporting children from this section of the population.

- By providing a safe environment and schooling, most underprivileged children in Indian society get a chance of a better future.

- Soorya Udayam Illam gives priority to girls. In India women still have a lower status than men. Especially for girls from the lower castes who are orphans, live on the street, or are otherwise in a difficult position, it is almost impossible to improve their circumstances without outside support.

- Soorya Udayam Illam has put an efficient approach to development aid into practice, aimed at durability and emancipation, and run by a small organisation. This organisation has so far – with a minimum of overheads – provided structural help to over two thousand families, and has given many children and adults the chance of a better, independent future.

- In India it is very difficult to get structural financial project support from the government as an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation). The Empowerment Foundation is a young organisation that runs its development programme on the basis of ad hoc subsidies. At the moment, the Empowerment Foundation is dependent on the Befriend Foundation for its running costs. Organisations like “Wilde Ganzen” and NCDO do not subsidies any running costs.

With thanks to

Soorya Udayam Illam has come about thanks to the commitment and contributions of:

Stichting Wilde Ganzen
Stichting KIO
Stichting Connecting Hearts
2College, Oisterwijk
De Krullevaar, Brummen
Jan Hekmanschool, Ouderkerk a/d Amstel

At the moment the project has the three year structural support of the Jan Hekmanschool.

* Nationale Commissie voor internationale samenwerking en duurzame ontwikkeling [National Commission for International Cooperation and Lasting Development]



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