Sisters of Mercy of Holy Cross

HC Blog

16th June 2017

Sanjeevini Foundation

SANJEEVANI FOUNDATION- LOURDES COMMUNITY CENTRE, KALYAN

Sanjeevani Foundation a social wing of Lourdes Community Centre in Kalyan city, is a premier institution that was established on 20th July 2005, to cater to the social needs of the Kalyan residents. Necessity is the mother of invention and innovation –So Sanjeevani foundation is a child of the unprecedented floods that swept away the entire Kalyan city – an apt name for the organisation. ‘Sanjeevani’ because it gave new life.

Sanjeevani’s vision is to establish a just and sustainable society where values of love, equality and peace are lived and nurtured. It’s mission is to restore human dignity of the poor and the marginalised through a process of empowerment and development.

Sanjeevani has always believed that “Service to humanity is service to the Lord”. Driven with this desire, Sanjeevani has undertaken several activities over these years. The activities undertaken at a glance:

1. Women Empowerment – Sanjeevani organises awareness programmes to create social awareness among the women in order to build up their self esteem and to provide them with skills to make them self reliant and confident so that they can lead their lives with respect and dignity.

 

2. Counselling: People dealing with matrimonial issues, parenting, family disputes etc. as well as domestic workers, students etc. are offered counselling at Sanjeevani.

3. Legal Aid cell: Sanjeevani also provides legal aid through its Advocate, to people having legal issues and helps the people to settle their disputes amicably. Legal awareness training sessions are organised for the para social workers and the women’s group in order to equip them with the basic legal knowledge about their rights and duties.

 

4. NIOS – Among the multi various activities taken by the institution, the apex one is the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). NIOS is an attempt to give social dropouts a chance to complete their studies and join the main stream. It also provides a golden opportunity for children who are facing learning disabilities, lack of attention and concentration; children with financial problems; children who are family discards and children who are facing stress, a chance to enable these children to feel confident as normal kids, provide them life skills so that they are not branded as abnormal children and enable them to earn a living. With this vision, Sanjeevani has set out in its mission of making a difference in the lives of hundreds of underprivileged and unfortunate children, by offering coaching for students of X and XII std.. Every year about 50-60 students enrol themselves for NIOS. This difficult and noble task is handled by our dedicated and committed teachers who are driven by a sense of service to the Society and not by any monetary consideration.

We are proud to say that many of our students have secured good jobs and are doing very well in their careers. We would like to cite here a few success stories of our NIOS students:

  •  Abhinath (name changed), a child who had lost his father at a very young age and who had severe financial problems at home, joined the first batch of NIOS in Sanjeevani. We are proud to say that Abhinath passed his exams with flying colours and is a Chartered Accountant today.
  • Hilda (name changed) came from a very poor family background who was forced to discontinue her education at Std.VIII for lack of funds. After enrolling herself in NIOS, she completed her std. XII at Sanjeevani and went on further to complete her B.A. and is presently pursuing her M.S.W. and also working in an organisation.
  • Veena (name changed), a domestic worker from the age of 7, approached Sanjeevani when she was 14 years of age. Through her dedication and hard work she acquired education from NIOS at Sanjeevani and today she is doing her Teachers Training course for a better and bright future.

The foundation is extremely proud of their success and is grateful to the teachers for their dedication, devotion and commitment.

5. Prison Ministry “Renew a Prisoner Today, Better The World Tomorrow”. With this Motto in mind, Sanjeevani is deeply involved in the Prison Ministry at Kalyan. Prison Ministry India (PMI) is a national voluntary organisation working for the release, reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners started in the year 1986.

The main work of PMI volunteers at Kalyan, both inside and outside the prison are as follows:-

Inside the prisons:

  • Personal Counselling and Moral instructions
  • Letter writing for personal concern and healing the broken hearts
  • Setting up of a good library for mental growth and recreation
  • Job oriented training programmes inside the prison such tailoring and needle work for women
  • Providing recreational facilities and vocational training machines
  • Conducting literary, arts and sports competition such as drawing, singing, essay writing, and drama and the winners are given prizes.
  • Preparing the prisoners to write university exams
  • Conducting medical camps
  • Providing free legal aid
  • Arranging spiritual discourses

Outside the prisons:

Our work does not end inside the prison but also covers extensively the life of a prisoner including his family even after his release. As we know, a prisoner is branded as a criminal irrespective of his status of committing or not committing a crime, society and sometimes their own families are not ready to accept them. This further fuels their criminal components in their character. Here PMI intervenes in their lives giving them hope in life. The Sanjeevani staff often visit the families of the prisoners and in some cases it supports the education of the prisoner’s children. In the year of Mercy, 7 people were released from the prison due to the efforts of the Prison Ministry.

 

6. Work in the Tribal villages: The situation of the Kathkari tribals in the villages is very saddening. They live in very poor conditions and most of them do not have land or any sustainable income. The health condition of the people is very poor and the men and women in the village are addicted to liquor, chewing gutka and tobacco etc. . The children too are deprived of the basic need of education. Recognising this need of the tribals, Sanjeevani embarked on its mission to reach out to this underprivileged and deprived class of people. Presently, Sanjeevani is working in five villages of Kalyan Taluka. The activities carried out in these villages are as follows:

  1. Support Classes: Sanjeevani conducts support classes for the children of these villages in order to impart quality education to them. About 120 children attend these classes regularly.
  2. Women Empowerment: Sanjeevani also works towards women empowerment through the women Self Help Groups (SHG). Total 600 women are in the group (Kalyan urban and Rural). Direct beneficiaries are women and their families are indirect beneficiaries. The SHG member’s develop discipline, conduct regular meetings, savings and credit activities.
  3. Health: Health Training was given to 23 tribal women and 20 women in Kalyan by the Health Promotion Trust on the topic of preventive health care. Four  medical camps were conducted in two villages. In Naugaon village, 5 people were identified with leprosy and they are now undergoing treatment for the same with the support of Sanjeevani. 17 children are malnourished in the villages, for these children Nutrition powder is provided regularly.
  4.  Others: Sanjeevani also helps the villagers with essential needs such as opening of bank accounts (Three tribal villages 50 accounts), applying for Antoday Ration Card (Below Poverty Line specially for Katkari tribals)) cards, 20 PAN cards are made.
  5. Vocational training: In Waholi village, through our intervention at present 3 girls are doing home nursing 4 boys are doing ITI at Muund through the help of Crompton. Also we are Proud of Anita Waghe, a widow with three children who completed Xth together with her daughter. She had been awarded by many and her real life is covered by Chitralakha magazine. 

​7. Anti Human Trafficking: Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We work for the elimination of violence against women and children. So far we have rescued 9 girls and one boy. We have imparted awareness programmes to 13 schools for teachers as well as students, Women groups and Religious communities.

We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become even more, aggressive and threatens individuals. Since it is an organised crime we felt the need for net working so we work with International Justice Mission (IJM).  We support them in their rescue mission. We also work with rescued girls in Ulhasnagar Shelter home. In 2016, on Human Rights Day, we had organised a Rally in Kalyan to create awareness on human trafficking. The participants were 5 school children, Women groups, Nursing students, Religious Sisters and others. 

 

Success Story: The joy of Christmas was when we rescued a girl from Virar Komal (Name changed) from Chattisghard who was trafficked 10 years ago from home. After the whole days relentless effort, we rescued her at 9.30 p.m on 25th December 2015. Her parents and uncle came from Chattisghard  and took her back home. The reunion was a remarkable one. Every those who witnessed the reunion had tears of joy in their eyes.

8. Mid – day meal Scheme: The foundation provides nutritional meals to the children of Our Lady of Lourdes School through the Mid-day meal programme. This has created small jobs for a few, poor and needy women who prepare the meals, thereby making them self sufficient and financially independent. The centre also distributes food grains to the poor and needy families.

9. Prayer Meeting: On every Thursday, a prayer service is conducted in the centre for the prisoners and the volunteers in order to gain spiritual strength to carry out their mission.

10. Inter religious prayers are conducted on different occasions. During Diwali and Id.

11. Net working: Sanjeevani networks with different NGOs and works with different cells in the parish such as the Women’s cell, Prison Ministry cell, Civil and political cell, Inter Religious cell, Senior citizen’s cell etc. Ration Kruti Samiti(RKS) Shramik Mukti Sanghatan, Panchyet Probodhani Trust, Andhashradha  Nirmulan Sameeti, International Justice Mission (IJM), Holy Cross Hospital, Prison Ministry India(PMI), ASIAN MOVEMENT OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING (AMRAT), Justice and Peace Trust (JPC), Centre for Social Action (CSA), Finance Arch diocese of Bombay, Anugragha, Snehasadan, Ashraya, Navjeevan etc.

12. Human Touch:  There are many needs in our society and there are  many who are in GREAT NEED of love, care, affection and support. Sanjeevani which means ‘New Life’ has been involved in reaching out to and touching the lives of those in dire need.

One such human being who is in constant need of our care and support is Diana Fernandes, who is presently living in the Rehabilitation Centre at Bangalore Humanitarian Home. We would to like share the story of this unfortunate girl who came to Sanjeevani office one fine morning with a bleeding nose and injured body and endless tears in her eyes. Diana’s father was a drug addict while her mother deserted the family when Diana was of very young age. Her mother re-married and is presently living in another country. When Diana was 12, her dad hit her with a iron rod on her head, which affected her so badly that from that day onwards she has been suffering from fits. After that incident, another shocking incident took place.  Diana’s uncle beat her up badly and threw her out of the house. Diana was never accepted by her own family and she was placed by her family  in a remand home at Dongri. When she was 18 she was sent back to Kalyan. However, the family refused to accept her. She went on without food for many days at a time and slept on the roadside. She was abused by many people. Finally she approached Sanjeevania and we placed her in many homes in Mumbai including Mental hospital and Pune. However as she had lost her mental balance by that time, she would not stay at any one place for more than a few days. She would run away from any given institution after a few days. When Diana was in the Mental Hospital, she tried to climb up a tree and fell down and broke her hip and was admitted in the hospital. We were called by the hospital authorities and were asked to take her back. With much difficulty, we got her admitted in a hospital but a few days later she started creating problems there too and they refused to keep her. We finally pleaded the sisters of an institution in Mysore to admit her and take care of her. They agreed and we admitted her there. However after a few months, we received a call from the institution asking us to deposit Rs.10000/- every month or else to take her back. We were devastated as we did not have the funds to pay.  Again we requested Bangalore Humanitarian home to accept this unfortunate girl. The institution agreed to admit the girl on the condition that we would have to pay an amount of Rs.5000/ every month. We decided to plead of people for the said amount rather than leave this poor girl on the road. Diana is 26 years old now and needs support to continue to live a decent life. Sanjeevani is making all efforts to raise the funds for this unfortunate girl.

Another such heart touching story is of a woman named Mercy, who was found at the gate of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Kalyan (West), curled up and sobbing with pain. She was very frail. Her body was festered with wounds and emitting a foul smell. We were shocked to see that her wounds were infested with worms.  She was dying. We started looking out for help to save this woman.  We faced rejection from several people as she was stinking and was an extremely unpleasant sight. Sadly, even some doctors blatantly refused to treat this helpless woman. At 7.30 pm in the evening, we finally managed to admit this woman in Sion Hospital where she was given immediate treatment. Mercy recovered after a few days and we placed her the home run by the sister of Charity.

We seek God’s blessings and the support of the community and well wishers to help us in our Mission of  working for the underprivileged and needy so that we have a society where people can live in peace and dignity.

 

 

Sr.Dhanam

Co-ordinator

Sanjeevani Fondation,

Lourdes Community Centre.

 Kalyan – 421301

Mob: 9323338277

Posted By:Sr. Dhanam