Give Thanks to the Lord for His Love is without end [Psalm136-1] with the psalmist we give thanks to the Lord for His great love is ever tangible in our services to the least and the last of the society. In 2017, the Daughters of the Church celebrated 25 years of service to the marginalized in Mandya, Karnataka.
The glorious 25 years began with a humble beginning in 1992, when Sr. Leela one of the Indian pioneers of the Daughters of the Church was invited by the government of Karnataka to be part of the State’s Leprosy Eradication Programme in the districts of Mandya and Srirangapatana. MOB Rural Health Centre, the registered society of the Daughters of the Church in Mandya, through survey, treatment, awareness, medical camps, housing project, and rehabilitation programme reached out to leprosy affected people covering 300 villages. Later on having learnt about the struggles and problems of the women in the rural area, the women’s self-help groups were formed. The community based rehabilitation programme was launched in response to the enormous number of disabled people living in the villages. Our service to the handicapped and women broadened as we reached out to the districts of Mysore, and Haveri in Karnataka.
Together with this, we also established Snehalaya Children’s Home, Mandya, an initiative of the Daughters of the Church, as a response to the needs of the time, a residential programme for children suffering from HIV/AIDS, within the age group of 3 to 21 who have lost one or both their parents and hence, their normal growth and development seem to be difficult in their home or community. At present, we care for 29 children out of whom 16 are boys and 13 are girls.
Snehalaya Children’s Home as an intervention model attempts to create an environment that would help children infected with HIV to grow and become beautiful, joyful and responsible human beings. The model which is evolved to meet the long-term needs of these children aims at future development. Value based formation, which is a key feature, will inculcate responsible living in these children and consequently will reintegrate them meaningfully to the larger society in the future.
The spiritual touch and inspiration of our Mother Foundress and the blessings of the Almighty has prompted us to extend our service to the Destitute by starting an open shelter for them in this jubilee year itself.
Silver jubilee celebration is not merely an occasion for introspection of the past but an opportunity for looking forward. MOB Rural Health Centre was a tiny plant initially and now it has grown into a huge tree spreading its branches far and wide in the State of Karnataka. With grateful heart, we recall to mind the pioneers who infused in us the vigour and enthusiasm to go forward overcoming the hurdles; we also recall the benefactors, well wishers and the poor who evangelize us. While we reflect on the past achievements and introspect on the preparations to meet the challenges that lie ahead we remember with gratitude all those who contributed in their own little way to make all our service to the poor what it is today. The year could well be called the Year of Gratitude, because we have so much to be thankful for when we honour the past, we energize the future and the present becomes a celebration. It can be said that our Mandya mission is a hub of our reach out programmes for the most marginalized ones of the society.