A Humanitarian TASK by Generous CASK! Scholarships Distributed to 140 Needy Students

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Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha Distributed Scholarship Cheques from Catholic Association of South Kanara (CASK) to deserving needy Students in and around Mangaluru pursuing their studies in Nursing, B Ed, Engineering, College graduation, Post Graduation, and even Schooling-IRRESPECTIVE OF CASTE OR CREED, during a programme held at Bishop’s House Hall on Saturday, 6 August 2022.

Mangaluru: Quoting Saint Mother Teresa- “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. 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, or 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.”

The above thought-provoking quote by Saint Mother Teresa aptly suits the voluntary and community service rendered by the members of Catholic Association of South Kanara (CASK), who have been doing yeomen service in helping the needy and less-fortunate for decades- and their service with love and care towards the poor and downtrodden still continues as of today, even after 108 years of their existence.

Apart from their love towards the poor in their various capacities, CASK has even contributed towards the education of deserving students through scholarships, and today (6 August) was yet another kind gesture from their side towards 140 students who are either pursuing their education in Nursing, Engineering, B Ed, college graduation, PG and also studies in primary school, irrespective of caste or creed, offering them scholarship cheques, ranging in the amount from Rs 5000, Rs 7000, Rs 8000, Rs 10,000 upto Rs 50K depending on their family status.

Before going further into today’s programme, let us appreciate the tremendous community service done by CASK in the last 108 years, in a brief summary- The Catholic Association of South Kanara (CASK) established in the year 1914 has done yeomen service in the field of Education and Health Care, in erstwhile South Kanara (DK & Udupi districts). CASK has been implementing many impactful charitable and community service projects, particularly in the last one decade.

The Major projects include Personality Development Program for students (more than 5,450 students benefited); Teacher Enrichment Programme (more than 845 teachers benefited); Footwear for barefoot students (more than 5,000 pairs given); Installation of safe drinking water units (13 units installed in rural schools & Institutes); Home for the Homeless (5 homes sponsored); promotion of blood, organs & body cadaveric donations and Annual Scholarships.

CASK provides Scholarships under three categories (1) from Endowment Funds; (2) from ‘Covid Support’ funds to marginalized families affected by covid deaths of one or both parents; (3) Regular Annual Scholarships; The main criteria for granting scholarships in NOT ‘merit or marks’ but the low financial status and problems faced in terms of family issues (Father/Mother deceased, Single parent, daily wage earner, domestic workers, parent suffering from major diseases). The beneficiaries are selected irrespective of Caste, Creed or Religion.

CASK also operates and manages the following Endowments for granting Annual Scholarships from the interest accrued, as desired by the donors of the Fund : 1)Franklin Mathias Endowment Fund; 2) Judith Brown Endowment 3) Cuthbert & Juliet Pinto Endowment; 4) Marigold Endowment; 5)Ladislaus B.Aranha Endowment; 6) Joe Pereira Scholarship Fund; 7) Olivia Pereira Scholarship Fund; and 8) Late Jerome & Ms Iris Pinto Endowment;

ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIPS : CASK has been granting Annual Scholarships for deserving students each year, towards Books, Extra coaching and transport. In 2021-2022, the number of scholarships granted under this head has increased to 111 beneficiaries. CASK received Two Hundred and Fifty applications and CASK has sanctioned a total amount of Rs.11, 20,000/- to these 111 applicants, averaging approximately Rs.10,000/- to each student.

COVID SUPPORT SCHOLARSHIPS: Since last year (2021-22), CASK established a separate Fund to grant scholarships to students from marginalized families affected by (a) covid deaths of one or both parents; (b) members of the family affected by covid hospitalization or job losses; CASK conducted a Survey of all 225 parishes of Mangalore, Udupi and Chikmagalur dioceses and granted scholarships to 34 students.

This year (2022-23) they are granting scholarships to 30 students under this category, with a total outlay of Rs.6,30,000/-..TOTAL SCHOLARSHIP AMOUNT DISBURSED THIS YEAR 17.5 LAKHS (Seventeen Lakhs Fifty Thousand). CASK is thus catering to the needs of the community in an impactful way, within their limited resources. And for the fact today’s chief guest-The Bishop of Mangaluru – Most Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha is the Patron of CASK.

Today’s scholarship programme began with invoking God’s blessings through a prayer song by Ms Gulobi Fernandes-the Joint Secretary, CASK, followed by a welcome address by Capt Vincent Pais-President, CASK. Following the introduction of Chief Guest Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha-Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese by Ms Nayana Fernandes, the active member of CASK and toady’s compere, in his address to the audience, the Bishop appreciating and being overwhelmed by the generous projects undertaken by CASK for the past 108 years , said that CASK is an added credit to the generosity shown by Catholic organization.

The Bishop further said, “The generosity of Catholic community is evident, when we see the names of Catholics on the donors’ plaques installed at various institutions or NGO’s. This kind of gesture from Catholic community builds self confidence among us. CASK showing their concern towards people through financial aid should be immensely appreciated. Also CASK’s blood donation camp which has given new life to many also needs to be commended. And today while CASK is distributing scholarship cheques to the deserving students is indeed a generous act from their side towards students who want to start their career”” (MORE ON BISHOP’S SPEECH CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW)

After Bishop’s address it was time to distribute the scholarship cheques to the 140 needy students from Mangaluru, Udupi and Chikmagalur.and presenting the cheques was done by the Bishop, and other Board and active members of CASK. The students who after receiving the cheque returned back to their seats with a smiling face and thankfulness in their hearts to CASK for recognizing their efforts in pursuing their education- and they should also thank CASK Governing Board member Ullhas Rasquinha who sorted them out of the 200 plus application CASK had received to avail the scholarship.

Their thanks should also go to the family of Franklin Mathias Endowment Fund, Judith Brown Endowment, Cuthbert & Juliet Pinto Endowment, Marigold Endowment, Ladislaus B Aranha Endowment, Joe S Pereira Scholarship Fund, Olivia Pereira Scholarship Fund, and Late Jerome & Iris Pinto Endowment, among others. The vote of thanks was delivered by Dr Anand Pereira- Secretary, CASK, and the programme was eloquently and meticulously compered by the duo-Ms Ratna Pinto and Ms Nayana Fernandes, both dedicated members of CASK.

In conclusion, in my perspective, while CASK is doing yeomen service in helping the needy and also deserving students to aspire their dreams, and to carry on with their community service they appreciate support from generous donors and well-wishers. And 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 neighbors and caregivers..

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 CASK , where members are inviting well-wishers and friends to be partners in their endeavors to help in their community oriented projects.

Quoting Pope Francis “Feeding the hungry is “an ethical imperative for the universal church” and a calling for all Christians to defend the universal right to food and water, especially for the poor and the needy. Our relationship with God – a God who has revealed his merciful face – involves our giving food to the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty. Therefore we need to share part of our wealth towards those in need, but never expect anything in return. Like in the Bible it says- But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked”.And I am happy that CASK is doing yeomen service towards the poor, and also to the students who want to better their future career. LONG LIVE CASK!

BRIEFING of CASK SCHOLARSHIP DISTRIBUTION PROGRAMME by Dr DEREK LOBO- a Trustee and Former President of CASK

Sometime ago, the Principal of a School asked me “For CASK Scholarships, what are the cut-off marks? I said “We start from the lowest marks so that the student does not Drop-out” and then the most important criteria is “the financial situation of the family”. We do not consider ‘merit or marks’. Her surprised look suggested she thought to herself “What an idiot”. But that is exactly how CASK selects its students for scholarships.

Dr DEREK LOBO-the TRUSTEE of CASK

We are proud that we are the only organization in Mangalore or perhaps in India, that does not consider merit or marks. And we are becoming increasingly popular because of our policy. This year we had over 21 applications for the Annual Scholarships but our funds could accommodate just about 100. Mr Ulhas Rasquinha did a commendable job by selecting 106 students by mainly following the criteria of “Financial Situation” of the family and here’s a break-up :

One student has lost both parents; 25 are single parents, out of them 24 are women, who were mostly housewives forced to work as maids or cleaners or daily wagers; there are 16 whose parents are separated and importantly, in 9 out of 16 cases, the husband has deserted his wife and children; these are not recorded anywhere – they don’t go for Church annulment or Court divorce; 11 cases where the father or mother are bedridden or disabled or suffering from chronic disease.

There are 16 who work on daily wages; 2 students who are differently-abled; the remaining are children of auto-drivers, hotel helpers, attenders, watchmen, maids, mechanics etc; All these beneficiaries are from marginalized or distressed families – nobody will give them scholarships except CASK. Covid Scholarships – You would recall, last year CASK embarked on a unique programme – contacted all 225 Parishes of Mangaluru, Udupi & Chikmagalur Dioceses, to obtain information on Covid deaths of one or both parents or covid hospitalization resulting in huge hospital bills that drained all their savings.

We gave scholarships to 34 students. Thanks to 51 generous donors who contributed from Rs.5,000/- to 5 lakhs, we collected sufficient funds to grant scholarships for two years. So 30 students will receive grants under this head today. Then our Secretary Dr Anand Pereira asked “Has their situation improved? What will happen next year?”. Well mostly, the situation has not improved and in some cases it has worsened. So we decided to continue these scholarships for at least one more year, hoping new donors or old donors will contribute.

Endowments – Last year, CASK was managing Five Endowments – Franklin Mathias, Judith Brown, Cuthbert & Juliet Pinto, Marigold Ladislaus B. Aranha; total worth of these 5 Endowments was Rs.31 lakhs. Then in Sept.2021, we received a bumper of Rs.33,33,333/- from the “Rosedale” Pinto family with assurance to scale it up to Rs.One Crore in 3 years.

I wish to commend and thank Dr Errol & Ratna Pinto for initiating this Endowment in memory of their parents – the late Jerome & Iris Pinto, with all nine children contributing to this Endowment. Soon our Secretary Dr Anand Pereira along with his wife Geetha and mother Ramola gave Rs.2 lakhs as a Special Fund in memory of his father – Late Joe Pereira, with assurance to give Rs.2 lakhs every year for the next 4 years.

This Fund as per the wish of the donors is meant for ‘Supporting Covid Affected Families’, for the present the two boys from Milagres Parish who lost both parents. Then our GC member Mrs Olivia Pereira established a Special Fund to be managed by CASK, contributing Rs.1,65,000/- for Scholarships. And the latest to join the Endowment Families is our Treasurer – Norbert Shenoy and his wife – Clotilda who have given Rs.10 lakhs in memory of Norbert’s adopted sister – Benedicta Morris-Hegde, who started life as a maid at the Morris family home in Belthangady, was then adopted as a member of the family. The interest accrued from this Endowment will go to Ave Maria Palliative Care Centre.

CASK is thus managing Nine Endowments worth-Rs.78 lakhs and by December it will be One crore 11 lakhs-it shows that we have acquired a reputation as a dependable, trustworthy organization. On behalf of CASK, I thank all the Endowment Donors for their generosity. We have another unique gift of Rs.10 Lakhs from Dr Allan Pinto from his company – Koramangala Constructions in Bangalore under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds – a first for CASK. Allan is also a member of the Rosedale Pinto family, so becomes the highest individual donor for CASK. T

Finally, a Lady phoned me and said “I have three daughters – one in college and two in school. I wish to give 3 scholarships in each of their names for 3 girls from marginalized families – one in college and 2 in school; and added “Can my daughters contact the 3 students to be their ‘friends’ as equals. What a wonderful and noble thought. If all affluent parents support one student from a marginalized family for each of their children, next year we can increase CASK Scholarships from today’s 140 to 1,400 or more. Mr President and CASK GC members, let that be our goal and let us all work towards it. Thank you.

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