Father Antony motivates the children by telling them that their handicap is not inside them. He assures them that at St. Mary’s they will be cared for, educated and taught a trade so they can become young men and women able to get jobs, raise families, and hold their heads high. The children respond with trust and are very good students.
Food, clothing, housing, and medical care are freely provided to all. Father Antony instructs the cooks to have a few extra meals on hand at all times so no child ever goes hungry.
Some of the children will go on to higher training at St. Mary’s educational colleges, while others are taught a trade, trained for business, enrolled in computer courses or taught other skills. One very handicapped student has a special aptitude for the violin and is receiving instruction at a music university.
The buildings and living quarters of St. Mary’s are constructed with a clever system of modified steps that allow handicapped children to traverse from ground to upper levels on their own accord and without assistance. As funds become available, St. Mary’s is continuing its building expansion by adding second and third levels to existing buildings for the housing of more children in need.
Deaf children usually have no formal communication skills when they come to St. Mary’s. They are first given audio tests, and those that can be helped are equipped with hearing aids. Next, they are assigned to special instructors who teach the children Tamil sign language. Once sign language is mastered, the children are educated and taught their native language of Tamil. Since the deaf must learn two languages (sign and native language), they are not taught English at this time.
Poor children also receive all that is needed for their care and education at St. Mary’s. Father Antony has established the Matriculation school, which immerses the children in the English language as they master it.
All children attend daily mass, pray the rosary, and pray for their benefactors several times a day. Normally Father Antony will celebrate the daily mass and teachers will sign the mass for the deaf children.