Fund backs orphanage ‘outreach’

Rebecca McMillan shows a colourful Indian sarong to Rev. Dr. John Nelson and Mrs. Valerie Beattie, two of the General Steele Trustees.
Rebecca McMillan shows a colourful Indian sarong to Rev. Dr. John Nelson and Mrs. Valerie Beattie, two of the General Steele Trustees.

Life in an Indian orphanage has been highlighted at a meeting in Ballycarry of the General Sir James Steele Trust Fund.

The Fund, which provides support to local young people undertaking community work, awarded a bursary to Rebecca McMillan, who travelled to Salem in Tamil Nadu, India, during the summer.

She was part of the Exodus outreach group from Northern Ireland and spent just over two weeks in India.

Rebecca delivered a powerpoint presentation to Fund Trustees which showed the conditions in the orphanage in which she and others worked, and highlighted the positive benefits being brought to the local community in Salem by the work of the Christian orphanage and schools there.

During her time there she organised event timetables and lessons for the children and the group was able to enhance the lives of young people through simple things such as provision of pillows, colouring pencils and other gifts.

The Magheramorne student outlined the difficulties which can exist for the minority Christian and Muslim community in the predominately Hindu city of three million people.

Rebecca also spoke of the preparation for travelling to India, which required a 27 hour journey from Dublin, including an eight hour bus journey.

She was welcomed by the chairman of the Trustees, Dr. David Hume, while the bursary presentation was made by the Trust treasurer Rev. Dr. John Nelson.

Another of the Trustees, Mrs. Valerie Beattie, said that Rebecca had brought characteristic enthusiasm and commitment to the role and that there could be little doubt that the experience had been life-changing.

The local student is the third individual recipient of a Trust Fund bursary, all awards being made to young people carrying out work for communities overseas.

The first recipient, Andrew Crawford, was involved in work in Peru while a young Cllr. Mark McKinty also was involved some years ago with an outreach to India.

The Trust also supported a Ballycarry Primary School visit to the Northern Ireland War Memorial this year, as part of helping to highlight the life and service of General Steele to young people from the village.

The Fund is open to individuals born in Ballycarry or who have attended the local primary school.