The Betsy Elizabeth Trust in India

The Betsy Elizabeth Trust (BET) is a grassroots organization in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. BET provides schooling, nutrition and health care to 270 children, ages 2-5, living in extreme poverty. BET’s projects are fully staffed by qualified Indian nationals who manage the day-to-day operations of its five crèches and the sewing and health centers.

BET was officially recognized as a non-governmental organization by the Government of India in 1999 and holds a foreign contribution license, which allows it to receive donations from overseas. Government approved audits are held annually on all Trust finances.

A Board of Directors supervises the activities of the Betsy Elizabeth Trust. BET services are offered to children in need, regardless of religion. The foundation of the crèches is God’s love and children from all religious backgrounds are welcome at the crèches.

~ Betsy Elizabeth Trust Outreach Projects ~

The Sewing Center, Kodaikanal

In 2008, BET opened a sewing and training center to provide impoverished women with much-needed employment. A full-time teacher leads the program and women are employed in sewing and weaving. The center workers create tote bags, pillow covers, quilts, yoga mat cases, sarongs, and specially requested items.

Initially the project was funded by Marie Theiss, an American volunteer with HKI. The Sewing Center is actively seeking retail outlets for its projects and working to bring in more orders, and more workers, as this is achieved.

The Sewing Center women take part in all crèche celebrations, parent workshops,  and teacher seminars. When a substitute for staff  is needed at the crèches  they are called upon, and some have moved into crèche positions permanently. Without exception, these women have difficult home lives. The sewing center provides them with a safe haven, friends, meaningful and creative work, and some income.

Mumtaz, the director of the sewing center, works on one of three sewing machines.
Mumtaz, the director of the sewing center, works on one of three sewing machines.
The Sewing Center provides much needed income for its workers.
The Sewing Center provides much needed income for its workers.
BET’s small office and the Sewing Center share the space.
BET’s small office and the Sewing Center share the space.

Health Center, Porayar

Helping Hearts children practice morning yoga in front of the the health center.

In addition to generational poverty, most of the parents of the children who come to the crèches are functionally illiterate. They lack the knowledge and resources to avail prenatal care,  for good hygiene, and in taking basic care of their children’s health. Lora Chatfield, an HKI volunteer and registered nurse, traveled to Porayar to make a preliminary needs assessment. She found that there are no near-by health services in the region and village people urgently wanted and needed the program.

BET joined forces with the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) to start the Health Center in 2007 to offer basic care and health education to Porayar and neighboring communities in the tsunami affected coastal area. It is open to all.

Students from the St. Johnsbury Academy, VT, raised $5,000 and traveled to Poriyar to build a dedicated space adjacent to the Helping Hearts Crèche for the Health Center. The Poriyar Health Center is staffed by a nurse midwife who is in the Health Center or at the crèches six days a week, but is always on call.

~ The Betsy Elizabeth Trust Board of Directors ~

There are currently five board members, all Indian nationals.

Mr. William Jesudass, President
Property officer and church administrator, Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church

Hilda Isaac

Mrs. Hilda Isaac, Executive Director & Board Member (since 1998)

Managing director of BET-operated crèches, the health and sewing centers.  Oversees a staff of 38 including teachers, assistant teachers, helpers, cooks, two nurses and an aide, two drivers, maintenance/gardens help, and office assistant.  After earning a degree in early childhood education, Mrs. Hilda worked with Betsy Dailey in setting up the first crèche.  Mrs. Hilda has dedicated her life to crèche work with the poor and has received many accolades, both regional and national, for her work.

Hilda Isaac, Executive Director, Betsy Elizabeth Trust

2016 Honors Ceremony in Delhi; Mrs. Hilda receiving the Jewel of India and National Mahila Rattan gold Medal Awards.

PHOTO: 2016 Honors Ceremony in Delhi; Mrs. Hilda receiving the Jewel of India and National Mahila Rattan gold Medal Awards.

Recognition and Service Awards:

2017 Honorary Doctorate for outstanding service in children’s education and women’s health. Presented by the Director of  Jeeva Theological Open University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Executive Election Commissioner of Tamil Nadu and  High Court Judge of Tamil Nadu.

2016 National Mahila Rattan Gold Medal Award for women empowerment and social work; Indian Solidarity Council, New Delhi. The Jewel of India and Mahila Rattan Awards were presented by the Governor of Delhi, the Election Commissioner of India, and a judge of the Supreme Court of India in a ceremony in New Delhi on April 6.

2016 Jewel of India Award for exemplary service in social activities, child education and health care for the poor; International Institute of  Education and Management.

2016 Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award for medical care for rural people; International Business Council, New Delhi.

2016 Mother Theresa Award for outstanding achievements in children’s education and health services to the down-trodden people in rural areas in Porayar and Kodaikanal; National and International Compendium

2014 Nelson Mandela Award for service to the poor, received from the Thanjur district public president.

2010 Outstanding Down- Trodden Kids’ Education and Health Service Award received from the village Dalit community people, awarded by the President  of Thillaiyadi, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu.

2010 Hygienic and Health Service to Poor Children and Women Award, Kodaikanal Rotary Club.

2008 Outstanding Children’s Health Care and Educational Service Award received from Mr. Sam Babu, Executive Director, Van Allen Hospital, Kodaikanal.

2003 Best Social Service Award  received from Kodaikanal Executive Municipal Chairman, Mr. Kurian Abraham.

Mr. Gnanaprakasum, Treasurer, Trustee since 1998, past BET President
Economic director of social work, Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church

Mrs. Jayanthi, Trustee since 1998
Physical therapist and early childhood specialist

Mrs. Thilaga, Trustee, 2015
Preschool administrator

Please keep in your thoughts past BET members:

Mrs. Ananthi resigned this last year for family reasons. She was a board member since 1997 and introduced Mrs. Hilda to Betsy Dailey.

Mr. Imbaraj passed away in December, 2014.  He was instrumental in acquiring the Foreign Contribution Account number for BET in 1997, allowing BET to receive foreign funds.  Mr. Imbaraj was a board member from then until his death.

Learn more about each of the Five Crèches and where they are located.

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