51 st Cheshire Home Founder’s Day hosted with Dignity and Pride Serving Disabled Folks
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved. God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try. It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. At the end of life, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in. I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things. A life not lived for others is not a life. Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa
Mangaluru: The Mangalore Cheshire Home (MCH) celebrated its “51st Founder’s Day” on Tuesday 27 September 2016, taking pride in renewing its commitment to serving the disabled and include them in the mainstream society. Thanks to the dear donors and well-wishers, Mangalore Cheshire Home has reached greater heights in serving and creating opportunities for people with disabilities. This has been made possible through the solidarity of countless friends. The Mangalore Chapter of the Cheshire Homes India, started on 7 August 1965 when service minded citizens of Mangaluru inspired by the noble ideas of Lord Cheshire, set up a Home for the rehabilitation of twelve burnt out Hansen women abandoned by society and their families, due to the stigma attached to the disease. It is a matter of great pride for the Home that Lord Cheshire himself inaugurated the first wing housing 12 inmates.
The differently-abled inmates of the house welcomed the small gathering by an action song which reflected their enthusiasm, despite their disabilities. Cheshire Homes have been serving people with several disabilities, making them realize the skills they are unaware of and striving to make them self-sufficient by teaching them. They are taught to work on things like Glass and Fabric painting, Envelope and making of paper bags, Greeting cards for all the occasions, Tailoring and even to work on Computers. Wilma Aranha-Chairperson of MCH welcomed the dignitaries on the dais and the audience and gave a brief description of MCH and its activities.
Speaking further about “The Miracle of the Mangalore Cheshire Home”, Aranha said, “As we celebrate the 51 st Founder’s Day of MCH, our hearts are filled with Joy and satisfaction in the wonderful work we are involved with. We thank our mentors who have shown us the way to love and care for those who are waiting at the threshold to receive it. Working with the differently-Abled is an experience by itself. No recreation will bring you this happiness which we get by serving the very special people of God. We have not been receiving the stipulated Grants for the past seven years but. We are able to carry on with the support given by the generous public, for some reason come in and offer their gift to the home. We thank all those who have supported us throughout the years which has helped the Mangalore Cheshire Home to reach the 51st milestone with dignity and pride”.
The Founder’s Day was marked with the garlanding of the portrait of Captain Leonard Cheshire-Founder of Cheshire Homes Fraternity, (Portrait of Capt Leonard Cheshire was an artwork done by Wilma Aranha), and also by lighting the traditional lamp by Chief Guest, Dr M Venkatraya Prabhu MD-Dean and Professor of Medicine, KMC-Mangaluru, along with other dignitaries on the dais namely Dr V Ravichandran- A Patron of MCH, and also the Founder of Diya Systems-Mangaluru; Air Marshal Philip Raj Kumar- Chairman of Cheshire Home-Bengaluru; Wilma Aranha and Hazel Colaco- Chairperson and Secretary of MCH respectively, and few inmates of MCH. In his speech, Dr Ravichandran commended the efforts of the Cheshire home, which has made several inmates independent and for providing the confidence for them to live a normal and happy life. He also assured of providing all the assistance to the persons who are getting trained on the computer at MCH, and also promised to employ even persons with disabilities at his IT firm. It is noted that Dr Ravichandran had donated a bunch of computers to MCH for computer training and studies.
Also speaking during the occasion, Dr Prabhu said, ” I am very much closely associated with MCH through some of the active members of this organization. I am really surprised to note from the annual report read by the secretary that so many projects and activities are held here. Seems like seeing is believing if we all visit MCH. These residents have found a new home at Cheshire Home, and are lucky to get all the love and caring. The training and other co-curricular activities being taught to these inmates by the caretakers and other volunteers needs to be commended and appreciated. Service to the poor is like doing God’s work, and we should all appreciate and commend Mangalore Cheshire Home for their tremendous service and love towards the less privileged, and may God bless its residents, management and staff”.
Speaking about The Leonard Cheshire Disability Global Alliance, Air Marshal Raj Kumar saod, ” It is a network of over 200 independently managed Cheshire organisations. The members, of which the UK charity Leonard Cheshire Disability is one, work in 54 countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. Leonard Cheshire Disability in the UK has no authority or supervisory function over other Cheshire partners. Global Alliance members are united by a desire to change attitudes towards disability around the world, supporting each other through sharing skills and experience. Each Cheshire organization has its own independent governance structure and individual NGO status. Many Global Alliance members work in partnership with our regional offices to implement projects across core programme areas, like education, livelihoods, and policy and campaigning. The secretariat of this alliance in UK facilitates the sharing of learning and best practice among Global Alliance members and coordinates common initiatives. Cheshire Homes have maintained their reputation everywhere, so many corporate companies are coming forward to support this organization financially”.
A humane gesture of the people who visit the place was also seen during the Founder’s day celebrations, where a number of people came forward to help the house with their small contributions for the successful running of the house- and these kind donors were presented with a rose and a group snap for sweet memories. The activities report of MCH was read by Secretary-Mrs Hazel Colaco. The vote of thanks was proposed by Mrs Shobha Shetty- Treasurer of MCH, and and the entire programme was professionally compered by Mrs Renee Lobo, the Jt Secretary of MCH. Who said that differently-abled persons can’t entertain the audience- a tiger dance by inmate Puneeth enthralled the gathering and was got a thunderous applaud. To add more fun to the cultural entertainment, a skit named ” Master Chef Mangaluru” was staged by the MCH inmates, where four contestants were judged by three judges for their preparation of South India’s favorite “Uppittu”, and the there was a grand prize for the “Best Uppittu” delicacy. Unfortunately, no one won, since the judges found whole onions, whole chillies, whole tomatoes in their preparations–all this was just to entertain and make the audience roar into laughter. Good piece of acting and talents unleashed by these differently-abled folks. Following a short cultural programme, the celebrations concluded with National Anthem.
Now that Cheshire Homes-Mangalore has successfully completed 51 years, they still need the support from the public/well-wishers to continue with their mission to serve the less fortunate/disabled-so let’s donate generously towards this Home, so that they can continue with the good work that they are all entrusted with. According to Mathew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, ….”, we should know that giving is something done voluntarily. Giving should not be done under compulsion, coercion, duress, or conviction. There are some exceptions, of course. When you do give, you are to give what you have chosen in your heart. Those who take pity on those less fortunate than us are true neighbours and caregivers.
In conclusion, the joy of being able to bless and give someone you love and care, and to make them smile, is priceless. The satisfaction that comes from making a difference in the lives of others cannot be overstated. Knowing that you have helped make someone else’s life a little brighter and better is a special feeling, and one that will last with you for a long time. And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy. So if you are looking for a way to enhance your act of sharing and giving experience, try giving back now. Let’s give to the less fortunate, ashrams, non-profit organizations, needy families and children, and others a feeling of hope, and make a difference in their lives. And one place you can donate some of your wealth is Mangalore Cheshire Home, where the Committee members of MCH are inviting well-wishers and friends to be partners in their endeavors to help the persons with disability to live a life of dignity.
For more details of Mangalore Cheshire Home and how you can support the Home please call 0824-2430468 (O); 9480958541, 082436505 (Chairperson-Wilma Aranha); 9449837332, 0824-2437332 (Hon.Secretary-Hazel Colaco)
About Mangalore Cheshire Home:
The Cheshire Home Fraternity was started by Group Capt. Leonard Cheshire, a war veteran who was devastated by the bombings at Hiroshima while he served in the II World War. This prompted him to open his home as a refuge to the soldiers maimed by war and the first Cheshire Home was opened in U.K. in 1948. Now Mangaluru Cheshire Home is proud to belong to a fraternity of over 250 Cheshire Homes throughout the world with 24 Homes in India alone serving the differently-abled in their quest for dignity.
From its humble beginning the Mangalore Cheshire Home (MCH) has emerged as a full-fledged organization with a home specially designed to accommodate paraplegics, physically handicapped and mentally challenged women with wheelchair friendly passages and wash areas. Its present strength is 20 plus residents, including women with cerebral palsy, mentally challenged, orthopedically handicapped, persons with multiple disabilities and Leprosy Cured Patients; and 7 plus day care students. Though the Cheshire Home initially was a refuge to destitute differently-abled women, over the years the focus gradually shifted from merely providing food shelter and clothing, to creating a holistic approach to disability or simply trying to make the disabled able. This new approach steered the local Cheshire Home to start training programmes for the residents and presently they are involved in making of greeting cards, tailoring and embroidery, flower making etc.
Capt. Leonard Cheshire
A recent venture was jasmine cultivation and broom making which is suitable for those unable to master any craft due to deformities. The greeting cards and other crafts are sold by the committee members at various bazaars and churches thus generating income. Encouraged by the response of the residents who take pride in earning something and not being treated as dependent human beings, MCH launched a vocational training centre on 10th June 2007 and also started enrolling day care students to learn job oriented courses. The Women’s Polytechnic (PWD) Bondel, collaborated with MCH to begin training programs for their students where they would pay the teacher and a stipend to the students and a diploma at the end of the course and MCH would supply the computers, sewing machines etc and the courses being conducted in the Cheshire Home premises itself.
The Home went a step further and launched the Livelihood research Centre on 26th April 2011, with the financial aid and donation of two used computers from the National Council of Cheshire Homes. Adding one more new computer along with two used ones, the computer training program was started. So far nearly 25 students have completed the training, passed the course, and some have been employed at call centres and other firms.
Today the MCH is proud that many of its students both resident and nonresidents are empowered either employed or self-employed and live a life of dignity. The MCH is in every sense a home for the service users who not only take part in all the activities but also contribute to the running of the Home. They also celebrate all religious festivals irrespective of caste or creed and observe national days like Independence Day and Republic Day. Excursions, picnics and visits to the circus or other places of entertainment. They also participate in solidarity programs conducted by other disabled organizations and the Women and Child Welfare Department. Physiotherapy facilities and regular medical check-ups are also organized regularly for the residents.
The Mission of MCH is – To provide persons with disability, regardless of caste, creed, race or color a quality assured residential home; To empower persons with disability to become independent, confident citizens by imparting vocational training in employment-oriented skills; To encourage persons with disability to be accepted in society as equals and ensure they are given proper opportunity to live a life of dignity; To create an awareness amongst public the rights of the differently abled; and To help the differently abled persons to procure disability certificates, Government pensions, railway and bus passes and other amenities provided by the Govt.
Keeping in mind the needs of the service users, the Home has all the relevant facilities like wheelchair friendly passages and toilets, convenient washrooms, mosquito proofing, power inverters, security grills, rainwater harvesting and other amenities. The Rehabilitation unit also provides physiotherapy and conducts yoga classes and exercises daily for the residents with the guidance from the Physiotherapy Department of Fr Muller’s Hospital. MCH is managed by local committee of service oriented people – though the Home is a part of the Global Alliance, it is an autonomous entity with independent funding depending entirely on donations and grants for its maintenance. But the sad part is that the Home has not received any grants from the Govt. for the last so many years. Also, the Sisters of the daughters of Charity along with a dedicated staff ensure the smooth running of MCH.