The Derek O’Neill Home opened in July 2005 and consists of two projects – a school and orphanage, and a quail farm. It serves the needs of the Narikurava (Vaghiri) people, who are nomadic tribes within the districts of Tamil Nadu, India. The traditional occupation of the Narikurava people is hunting, but as state restrictions on hunting and possession of firearms have been enforced, these people have had their livelihood compromised. Consequently they have sought alternatives, such as selling beaded ornaments and migrating from place to place to find a market for them. The Narikurava face extreme poverty and discrimination and because the children typically don’t stay in one place for long, they rarely attend school. This makes it more likely that the cycle of poor education and poverty will continue.
The school and orphanage caters to the needs of the Narikurava children, providing nourishment in a safe and loving environment. The goal of the project is to improve the physical and emotional well-being of the children, to give them adequate shelter and nutrition and to educate them to be able to lift themselves out of poverty.
Recent funding has included well work, proper sanitation and bathrooms.
The Quail Farm
The Quail Farming Project supports the whole community by assisting the villagers to become more self-sufficient. A large hut has been constructed to house the quails, and an incubator has been provided to ensure a greater success rate for the eggs. The local children are encouraged to help with the care of the quails and the farm generates some vital income for the community.