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Little Lilies Crèche lies in the heart of the village of Pallangi, about 10km from the town of Kodaikanal, and it now supports 50 children, aged 3-5. It was opened by the Betsy Elizabeth Trust in 2002, thanks to the hard work and determination of Ecolint students and teachers who converted an abandoned shed into a crèche building with two classrooms. Little Lilies had a precious resource on site - a well. The new crèche was named Little Lilies Crèche after the lilies growing on the property. 


Little Lilies opened its doors to seventeen children that year, and this was only the beginning. The crèche became a safe haven in the centre of the village as mothers dropped off their children before a day of hard labour in the fields and quarries. 

In the first ten years after Little Lilies opened its doors, Ecolint project work included the addition of a tiled roof, a tin sheet classroom with educational murals, a kitchen and a bathhouse. The playground was transformed to include a thriving vegetable garden, a strong boundary wall, and a stage for performances and community events. 


However, as a rental property, Little Liles was under constant threat of eviction. In 2010, Ecolint students donated funds for the purchase of the site, securing the future of Little Lilies. 


By 2013, government regulations about pre-school buildings were changing and the number requests for a place at Little Lilies was on the increase. Between 2013 and 2016, Ecolint contributed to the work of  Help Kids India in replacing the old building with a new brick building, with three classrooms, a separate kitchen and toilets. The student teams of 2017- 2018 helped with the renovation project, making Little Lilies the pride and joy of Pallangi.

Each year during their visit, the Ecolint students purchase crèche supplies, providing blankets, floor mats and kitchenware, as well as sandals, sweaters, and caps to keep the children warm during monsoon season. The team also ensures access to healthcare for Little Lilies’ children by funding the crèche nurse, first-aid medication, and a weekly doctor’s visit for sick children. 


Another important initiative is to provide the 5 year-old graduating children with a new school backpack, including notebooks, pens and the supplies they need for a positive start in primary school. 


Of all the work invested to construct, renovate and provide, the most valuable experience of all is the interaction and the relationship between Ecolint students and the crèche children. 

Each day is punctuated by activities that develop academic, social and life skills, as the children move from breakfast to yoga lessons, on to story time and writing, songs and dance, playtime, mealtimes, wash time, and even naptime. Our India Project students experience real life in the crèche as they accompany the little ones through their day, learning with them and from them. That bond is one they will cherish long after their time in India.


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