“When you are called from your prayers or the Eucharistic celebration to serve the poor, you lose nothing since to serve the poor is to go to God. You must see God in the faces of the poor.” St. Vincent De Paul
By upholding the words of heavenly patron St. Vincent De Paul, Vincentian Congregation of Marymatha province has begun its social service to the unreached in the society. The objective of the service is to see the image of God in the faces of downtrodden, under privileged people in the society. For this purpose it has been established a networking agency for social work in India and abroad and named as Vincentian Network of Social Work Agencies (ViNSA). The organization has undertaken social and charitable initiatives catering the needs of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized of the society with the support of various funding agencies, kind hearted people, well-wishers, etc.
The networking centres of ViNSA have been spread in various parts of the world. In India it has wing at Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Nagaland. In abroad, there are centres at Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda in African continent in America the service has established in Peru and USA, European counties of Germany and Switzerland and finally in the continent of Australia.
For the long 25 years the wings of ViNSA has been rendered its service through the various organization registered in the particular localities and are as follows: Vincentian Service Society Marymatha Province, Vincentian Service Society Centre for Rural Development, De Paul Extension Services DiST, De Paul Centre for Research and Development DiST, Divine Trust Muringoor, Karuna Bhavan Potta, St Vincent Balabahavan Thottakam, Bhimadole Deavelopment Soceity, Iswarya Women Charitable Society Bhimadole, Vincentian Mission Service society Ahmednagar, Morning Star Charitable Trust Vavarath, Tabore Vincentian Religious Trust Kalyan, etc.
Boys’ Home at Bhimadole was established in 1982 by Rev. Fr. Mathew Kunnel with the objective to provide better education to the poor children at Andhra Pradesh. The children are accommodated in the boys home who hail from poor families whose parents are farmers or cooly laborers. Most of them are semi orphans. The children of boys home are sent to the English medium school. From the beginning of the boys home more than 200 children were received it service who studies from LKG to 10th Standard. Among the passed out students many of them are professionals and work as teachers in various schools. At present 57 students are accommodated in the boys’ home.
Karivena Boys’ home at Andhra Pradesh was established in 1992 by Rev. Fr. John Pullen with the intention to provide facility to have good education. The boys home was became a place to provide shelter home for the children who hail from poor families. The support was given to the children who study from LKG to 10 the standard. From the beginning till now more than 300 children were received its support. Those who were successfully completed the studies work in various companies. At present there are 44 children are accommodated in the boys home among them 21 are studding in the De Paul English medium school and 23 are studying in the Telugu medium school.
The boys’ home at Meenagadi was established in 1974 with the intention to provide good education to the children who are wandering in street. In the boys home the children are accommodated studying from LKG to 12th standard. Chdren from broken families are accommodated in the boys’ home. The support to the children are given with free of cost. Around 3000 children made use the support of boys home. At present there are 31 children are accommodated in the centre.
The boys’ home at Thottakam was estblishesd in the year 1964 with the intention to provide better education facilities to the chidren from the poor and broken families. Free education, food, accommodation and medical assistance were provided to all inmates. Till now more than 650 students were educational assistance through the boys’ home and have reached various field of life. Some are professionally qualified people like doctors, engineers and many are working in abroad. There was skill development training given to the students. Students who study from 3 to 10th standard are accommodated in the boys’ home. at present 28 students are accommodated in this centre.
Fr. Thomas Mullenmadackel started the Vavarath mission on 23rd January 2001 De Paul Residential School along with both boys and girls hostels. The girls’ hostel is attached to Snehasadan convent and boys’ hostel is attached to De Paul centre. The nearby students can come by walk but the others, who live 5 to 6 km away, cannot come by walk daily and usually parents, especially girls’ parents, discourage them from school. So to start hostels were very necessary for imparting education. The organization provide them food and accommodation along with all the facilities like free books, treatments in emergencies, and school stationeries according to the availability and needy students. The students belong to basically Scheduled Tribes, Adivasi, Nomadic Tribes, etc. The Parents of these students are mainly shepherds or farmers. So the hostel is a great support for them, for they can stay in the hostel the whole year and go to the school daily. The students from 5th to 10th are accommodated here and about 600 boys and 400 girls are passed out of the hostel and among them 8 boys and 3 girls are doing their engineering and 4 girls have completed their nursing and about 50 of the students are working in industrial companies. And this is a great record for our hostel, for there were not single employees from this area.
In the year 2005 Navajeevan Home for the children was built under the direction and care of Fr. Bernard Kallidukkanaickal and is blessed on January 23, 2006 by Bp. Mallavarap Prakase in the presence of Very Rev. Fr Varghese Puthusery, the Superior General and Very Rev. Fr. James Kallumkal, the provincial superior and number of priests and nuns and the parish community.
Now the Navajeevan Home is changed into hostel for poor girls, since there are no handicapped children. The Little Sisters of Christ helps us to look after the girls here. Now sr. Maia is the warden and sr. Tabitha is her assistant. Fr.PaulVillattu is the director of the Navajeevan Home. At present, there are 46 girl students here in the Navajeevan Home. Rev Fr. Jose Kannampally, Fr. George Njavally, Fr. AntoEdassery, Fr.Anand Yella were the former Directors of the Navajeevan Home respectively.
Another area of support given by the organization was care for old age people. For this purpose various old age homes were established in different places. The intention of the geriatric care was to provide support to the old age people to lead happy life in process of aging. Various services were provides to the geriatric people who approach the centre like medicinal support, food, shelter, cloth and even spiritual care. Divine charitable trust has established divine home for aged, Maria Santhi Bhavan for aged women and divine mercy home for aged men. At present more than 110 old age people of both gender are accommodated in those centre.
It was established in 1998 at Potta with the intention to provide shelter for aged couple by Rev. Fr. George Vazhakulamkudy along with Rev. Fr. Nediyani VC. In the beginning there were 4 couples accommodated in the centre. The centre provides shelter to the aged couples who are abandoned by the relatives and thrown into the street. The centre provides shelter, food and medicine to all the inmates. All support are given to the inmate with the free of cost. At present there are 19 couples are accommodated in the centre.
VSS has special provision to provide care to old age people. The resent trend shows that new generation show more hesitation to take care of their older parents. They dump their parents into the old age homes without any kindness in their eyes. To provide better assistance abandoned old age people, VSS has formed a special group for the senior citizens and named as De Paul Fellowship of Senior Citizens at Angamaly (DEFOSCAA). It is group of 110 senior citizens formed from the beginning of the organization. There were regular meeting were conducted for the members. All member of the club will be gathering in every second Saturday of the month. There were arranged various programme for the senior citizens.
Assistance to mental health is another initiative of the organization. To provide better medical support about 400mentaly ill people are accommodated in various centres without any discrimination of caste sex and creed. Inmates of the centres are rejected by the family members and thrown in the street. The sick people are accommodated in separated wards according to the type of sickness they face. All the inmates are given good medicinal support by qualified medical team, food, shelter and cloth. Those who cured from the sickness will be sending back to the family.
VSS is working among the differently abled children in association with Lillian Fonds, Netherlands. It is a project to help mentally and physically challenged children under the age of 25. Under this project the organization has helped 118 children. They were given assistance in education, medical and social skill development. These children were helped twice in a year and staffs of VSS visit them in frequent intervals to ensure the children are directly benefited.
It is a venture of Divine Charitable Trust to render rehabilitation of drug addicts and alcoholics. The centre will be accommodated person without the discrimination of age. Highly qualified professionals provide their support to the patens to get away from the illness.
De Paul Care centre for at Kozhikode was started in 2003 by the initiative of Rev. Fr. Kuriakose Aryankalayil VC., by inculcating the charism that is “preach the good news to the poor”. It is an accommodation centre for person with chronic illness such as cancer, kidney failure, heart diseases etc who come to the medical college for the treatment. The rooms are provided with fewer service charges. Along with the patient, care givers also accommodated in the room. Food is provided to the patients and bystander. Per day there are 75 patients and their caregivers are accommodated in the centre. Special bath room attached rooms are kept aside for the heat patients who were appeared for surgery. The centre is composed of 70 room and a hall which can accommodated 7 patients. There are 7 people render their service to the patients who come from various part of Kerala.
De Paul Care centre at Thalassery is a new initiative to provide accommodation to the people with chronic illness. The centre will be inaugurated on 16th May 2015 and initiated by Rev. Fr. Kuriakose Aryankalayil VC. The centre can provide accommodation to 60 patients and their care givers. The person who comes to Malabar cancer centre for treatment can avail the service of the care centre. The service is provided with nominal cost and provides meals to both patient and bystander.
It is one of the greatest initiatives of the organization to eradicate the stigma created by AIDS in the society. at present the centre provide assistance to the HIV/ AIDS patens to live peacefully in the society. the centre render support to the patients through professionally qualified staffs. Nursing care is given to all with the support of Daughters of charity a nun’s congregation. At present there are __ patients accommodated in the centre.
This centre was established in the year 1990 by Divine Charitable Trust to provide shelter to the mothers and their children. Among the inmates most of them are unwed mothers who are exploited by social evils. In the centre most of the mothers are provided with job opportunities and children are sent to the school for proper education.
Vincentian Service Society and Bhimadole Development Society together implemented an integrated Rural Development Project with the support of Karl Kubal Foundation Germany and Europian Union. The project lasted for Ten (five plus five) years. Thirty villages under Bhimadole Parish was the project area. Fathers and Sisters along with lay people worked in the department of Literacy Education, Health, Small Scale Industries and Agriculture. Women welfare programs, School Dropout Prevention Programs, Child Labor Prevention and Rehabilitation programs, Stabilizer assembling unit, Garment making unit etc. were well appreciated by various Government Departments. The impact of the project on Eluru Diocise was tremendous. Before starting the project Bishop had an unsatisfactory impression about our work in the parish. In fact he told us straight that we have not developed the parish like other religious doing the same work. As we started the project his impression changed. Ironically he asked other priests to go to Bhimadole and see whether they too could implement similar projects. He was very happy with our project and development works and was ready to give more opportunity and new centers. He did it, he entrusted property at Pinakadamy for college and seminary. The project gave a boost to our Andhra Mission, no doubt.
This unit has started in the year 2008 to provide job opportunities to the local women in Andhra Pradesh by Bhimadole Development Society. The unit has been established by Rev. Fr. Martin Palatty. There are 15 women are working in the stabilizer unit. The goods which are produced will be given to V Guard Industries. The employees are given basic training on the making the materials and being employed in the unit.
Another venture of Bhimadole Development Society is De Paul Stabilizer Assembling unit which has been established in the year 2014 by Rev. Fr. Joby Kaithakulam VC, with the intention to provide job opportunities to 15 local women in Andhra Pradesh. There are basic training given to the employees on the manufacturing of goods in the centre.
A project for integral development of four villages in Andhra Pradesh West Godavari District: - it is a multi village development project supported by side by side India Belgium. The project provide integral development through education, sanitation, awareness programme, housing and medical camps. It is an ongoing project and will be completed in 3 to 5 years. The project will be supporting the poor families in the 4 district of Andhra Pradesh for their entire development.
It is a housing Project with a difference. It is a joint venture. Vincentian fathers, CSN Sisters, and a few Laypeople jointly implemented this project with active participation of people. Voluntary agencies working in a particular area may be coming to the same people with their own programs could do better job in case they are doing it jointly. That was the vision behind the joint venture. It was a very successful venture as far as housing is concerned. 25 houses were constructed in the housing area named Deepthi Gramam. Each house with concrete roof is constructed in a plot of 4.5 cents of land. Entire expense was met with the contribution of the would be inhabitants. It is marvelous example of participatory development work. The role of the Social workers was resource mobilization, direction and application of new technology in low cost house construction. From the beginning the organizers could create an impression among the people that they are not standing in the receiving end alone. They were involved in all the decision making and construction process. There was no handing over the keys to the beneficiaries as inauguration; just lighting the traditional lamp.
There is a welfare center (Three storied Building) and a Nursery School in the project area. This welfare center was constructed with foreign aid. 200 families living around Deepthi Gramam were supposed to be beneficiaries of this welfare centre. For some time welfare center functioned actively. Shirt making and food packing etc went on rather well. Marketing side was weak hence production center was closed and space and equipment was rented out. It went on like that for about 12 years. Now work is going on to revive the project and run it actively with the cooperation of Vincentian fathers and CSN sisters, with the same vision – Joint venture.
The Vincentian Fathers ventured in to the village in 1999 on humanitarian grounds. Today our intervention in the village includes a local Marathi medium High School from 5th to 10th grades with 186 students, Boys’ Boarding with 86 inmates, Girls’ Boarding with 38 inmates, Self Help Groups, and a rural clinic that provides medical assistance in emergency round the clock, staff quarters, Convent for the Sisters, diary, Poultry farm, fish culture, cultivation in the land available, fodder fields, fruit trees and flower garden.
The school in local Marathi Medium is recognized by the Education Department of the Government of the Maharashtra on permanently non-grantable basis. About 190 students from the village and surrounding hamlets are getting educated from 5th to 10th standards. The girl children are rarely given education and they are treated as an earning member and are given in marriage at an early age. By the regular contacts with the village people more girls are attending the school, many of them even staying in the Free Tribal Boarding.
As there is no medical assistance available in around 20 kilometres, even in emergencies, there was a felt need for a clinic -at least an OPD- in the area. Even serious and fatal diseases were not treated. The organization started De Paul Clinic and the services of a qualified Doctor and a trained Nurse were made available round the clock. It has arranged free distribution of preventive medicines and injection. Health awareness rallies, health and hygiene classes for the people of different walks of life, medical camps, free distribution of spectacles, etc. were occasionally conducted in the village.
The Project area is located in a rain-shadow and drought prone area of Ahmednagar District, and hence there is acute shortage of potable drinking water throughout the year, especially the summer. As there was scanty rain in this area for the last few years most of the open wells dried out and drinking water became a rare thing. The popular cry for drinking water neglected and ignored by the authorities so far was heard and immediately responded to by the Morning Star Charitable Trust and it drilled 18 tube wells in different villages and hamlets of Rahuri and Parner Sub- Divisions(Talukas) and installed hand-operated lift pumps to draw water. It brought much relief to the uncared households of the tribal belt, especially the womenfolk.
The Morning Star Charitable Trust has established and mobilized various Self Help Groups (SHG) in different hamlets and nearby villages for the women to come together to interact. The SHG inculcated the habit of saving from their petty incomes and lend it among the members and later use it to start some income generating programmes. This will help the group members for better interaction and deeper appreciation of each other. It also equiped them with the knowledge about the banking transactions, and provide a platform to come together, share their views, and discuss their problems. By coming together and getting organized the in SHGs, they were eligible for bank loans and acquire government sponsored developmental programmes to finance the income generating projects like goat farm, poultry farm, chalk making, soap manufacturing etc
The organization has developed a systematic, scientific, and viable recycling programme, which includes almost all the interventions of the Trust in this dry and drought prone hilly village. The programme is named AN INTEGRATED ECO-FRIENDLY RECYCLING PROGRAMME (IERP). The total programme owes its existence to the water pumped out of the 235 feet deep drilled-tube well in their plot.
DEAP is an innovative programme of VSS to impart quality education to economically backward and academically excellent students and help them to be self-reliant through the educational assistance with the support of well-wishers and like-minded people.
It is a programme which helps the poor excellent children in their higher education. VSS provides assistance to academically good students for professional course on a condition that they teach another child when they get a job. This chain continuous as it grows
In the onetime assistance programme, it was given assistance to the children to accomplish educational needs. The support will be giving as cash and paid in one time. This will be an instant assistance give to the students and do not require repayment.
As per the Ongoing Education Programme, it is intended to support the children who have done their elementary education from De Paul Boys homes. The assistance is given to the children to enhance them to attain a job and accomplish their wishes. Through the OEP, it has supported children to find their own job by receiving qualitative education.
Rev. Fr.Varkey Kattarath is the founder of Vincentian Congregation and the scholarship is arranged in the fond memory of him. It is a merit based scholarship programme to the children who show excellence in their studies and hail from the poor economic background.
Interest Free Loan Scheme is an education assistance provided to the children who are unable to pay the fees in big amount. Through the programme it was given assistance to the children by giving an amount of money to pay their fees. Those students will be repaying as instalment in the monthly or weekly bases. There will not be any interest paid by the beneficiaries for the amount that they received.
Another initiative of the ViNSA was De Paul Housing project. With the support of networking agencies, the organization has implemented the project. The objective of the programme was to provide shelter to the economically back warded people who are unable to construct the house by themselves. The housing projects have been supported by various funding agencies in India and abroad.
ViNSA has given more attention to provide assistance for health care service. The assistance was given to seriously ill persons who were unable to meet the medical expenses. Patients who came with medical report and the recommendation letter from the parish priest were helped after visiting the house and enquiring about the case.
ViNSA helped people to be independent through its self employment programme. Financial assistance was given on loan basis to people who have the caliber to take up an enterprise and make living for themselves and for others. With the money individual could start their own self employment and meet the needs of the family. Through self employment programme, it has helped to eradicate poverty in the family. The beneficiaries may pay back the amount on installment basis.
Another important assistance program of ViNSA is marriage help. The organization has found out that numbers of young girls were struggling to attain married life. Their parents were found difficulty to conduct the marriage of their girl children. By understanding the pain of those parents and young children, the organization has initiated to support them to lead better married life. For the same the organization has financially supported many girls to attain their dream to happy married life.
An innovative programme of the networking agencies are to conduct medical camps in various place and to create awareness on health related issues. Those programmes were conducted on lifestyle diseases, non-communicable diseases and celebration of international days like cancer, TB, HIV/AIDS and mental health days.
It is the initiative of partner organization called De Paul Extension Service (DES) to provide assistance to mental health well being and adolescent health. These programmes are implemented with the support of national and international agencies which work for the same. Adolescent health education programme support the adolescent people to tackle the issues they face in their development stage. Trained and skilled professionals lead the class to the teenagers on various issues and provide assistance to lead healthy life.
It is a documentary programme started by Goodness TV in the year 2012 to provide support to the sick people in the society. This documentary programme will provide information on bed ridden persons in the society who are in need of care and support. The programme will be telecasted through Goodness TV in India and Divine Vision in abroad. Those who watch the documentary will be helping the sick people. Till now through the programme it supported 37 sick people and gathered around 90 lakh rupees for the same. Mr. Peter and Mr. Robi works for the success of the programme.
A 24hr Ambulance service has begun on 2011. Aim of the service is to provide speedy and low rate service to the poor and a free service in accidents. This service is available in four Vincentian Houses – Angamaly, Potta, Puthuppady and Vettikuzhi. We value every life and desire to give maximum support as possible to save a life even to the poor who cannot afford costly services. Unfortunately this programme was stopped in the last year.
It is in the zenith of joy and bliss as Marymatha province of Vincentian Congregation celebrates 25th year of missionary service to support the underprivileged, marginalized and disadvantaged people in the society. Now in the spirit of silver jubilee, Marymatha province has a wish to provide housing assistance to homeless people in the society in collaboration with Vincentian Service Society. It has planned to construct 25 homes to the family who are really in need of a shelter. As per the plan each house will be having 500 square feet.