Cheshire Home celebrates 50 years of Caring and Loving Service to Humanity

“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 Government”- Mission of Cheshire Home

Mangaluru : 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. 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 neighbors and care givers. And Cheshire Home-Mangaluru with the kind contribution and support from donors and well-wishers has been serving the disabled people for the last 50 years-and it’s a milestone of dignity and pride..

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The Mangalore Cheshire Home celebrated its Golden Jubilee on Sunday, 27th September 2015 at its location at Suvarna Lane, near Fr Muller’s Hospital, and took pride in renewing its commitment in serving the disabled and including 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 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 organisation with a home specially designed to accommodate paraplegics, physically handicapped and mentally challenged women with wheel chair friendly passages and wash areas. It’s present strength is 20 residents, including women with cerebral palsy, mentally challenged, orthopaedically handicapped, persons with multiple disabilities and Leprosy Cured Patients; and 7 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.

The inauguration and blessing of the renovated Cheshire Home was done by the Bishop of Mangaluru, Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, which was followed by a formal function held at the Academy Hall of Fr Muller’s Charitable Institutions. The program began by invoking God’s blessings through a prayer song, followed by a welcome dance performed by the residents of Cheshire Home. The residents were felicitated with gifts by the Bishop of Mangaluru, which brought miles of smiles on the face of these less fortunate folks.

In her welcome address Wilma Aranha-Chairperson of Cheshire Home said, “While Mangalore Cheshire Home is celebrating its golden jubilee, 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 50th milestone with dignity and pride”.

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Hazel Colaco-secretary of Mangalore Cheshire Home narrated to the audience the history of Cheshire Home since its inception 50 years ago, which was followed by inauguration of the prestigious celebrations by lighting the traditional lamp by Bishop of Mangaluru; the portrait of the Founder-Capt. Leonard Cheshire (painted by Wilma Aranha was unveiled by Rana M Philip (Bengaluru)-Chairman of Cheshire Homes India-National council, and garlanded by Bishop Aloysius D’souza. Other dignitaries on the dais namely, MP Oscar Fernandes and his wife Blossom, MLC Ivan D’souza, MCC Mayor Jacintha Alfred, Mrs Octavia Albuquerque, Ex-MLC and Founder member of Cheshire Home, Wilma Aranha- CH Chairperson, Rev Fr Patrick Rodrigues- Director, Fr Muller’s Charitable Institutions, MLA JR Lobo, and Deputy Commissioner AB Ibrahim.

Mrs Octavia Albuquerque, who is 92 years old was felicitated for her dedication and yeomen service to Mangalore Cheshire Home, and through her commitment and sacrifice the Home has reached to greater heights- there was a loud applaud from the audience when Octavia was felicitated. A two minute silence was observed in memory of Terry Vaz, who had served as secretary of Cheshire Home for 46 years. Oscar Fernandes in his speech complimented Cheshire Home and its members for their service and care towards the disabled residents. Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim also saluted Cheshire Homes for their dedicated service to the rejected people by the society for the past 50 years. Today people are behind power and glory. Joint families are breaking apart, nuclear families are emerging, no one is concerned about the disabled and the aged people of the society. He assured that the district administration will see that the Home gets food every month from the government and will provide all the support in the future years.

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The Golden Jubilee Souvenir was released by Octavia Albuquerque, followed by honouring the past presidents/secretaries/committee members of Cheshire Home. Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul and past Sisters were also honoured for their impeccable service to the Cheshire Home and its residents. Fr Vernon Vaz and Peter Vaz accepted the honors on behalf of their late mother Terry Vaz for her service and unstinted dedication towards Cheshire Homes. Certificates were presented to the Trainees and also to the volunteers for rendering their service to the Home. Dr Shantharam Shetty also spoke and complimented the management for their excellent job in taking care and loving the residents.

Speaking to the gathering, Bishop Aloysius D’souza said, ” Today we are celebrating the loving service rendered for the past 50 years towards the residents of this Home. Cheshire Home is a home where residents feel comfortable, cared and loved- it’s a home away from home. These residents have found a new home at Cheshire Home, and are lucky to get all the love and caring. Those who serve are the children of God, and those who serve and care are the feet and hands of Jesus Christ. Service with love to humanity is very much practiced at Cheshire Homes, which we all should appreciate. Sir Wilfred Grenfell had said that the service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth. It is obvious that man is himself a traveler; that the purpose of this world is not “to have and to hold” but “to give and serve.” Service to the poor is like doing God’s work, and we should all appreciate and commend Mangalore Cheshire Homes for their tremendous service and love towards the less privileged. May God bless Cheshire Homes-its residents, management and staff”.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Dorothy Vaz and the entire programme was professional compered by Shobha Shetty of Cheshire home. Following a short cultural programme, the celebrations concluded with National Anthem, followed by a sumptuous lunch. Now that Cheshire Home Mangalore has successfully completed 50 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.

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. Call 0824-2430468 for more details and how you can contribute financially.

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