Mangalore Cheshire Home- Where Inmates Find Love, Care and Solace

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Mangalore Cheshire Home- Where Inmates Find Love, Care and Solace

“[We] need to set our sights high, to be satisfied with nothing less than the best, and to commit ourselves totally and unreservedly to participate in the struggle to build a more liveable world.”- Leonard Cheshire, Founder of Cheshire Homes International

“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, 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) will celebrate its “52nd Founder’s Day” and “Birth Centenary” of their Founder Capt Leonard Cheshire on Sunday 24th September 2017, 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- which now has 21 residents.

Capt. Leonard Cheshire- Founder, Cheshire Homes International

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, Broom Making, Tailoring and even to work on Computers. 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. The Home takes care of people, including women with cerebral palsy, mentally challenged, orthopedically handicapped, persons with multiple disabilities and Leprosy Cured Patients; and 7 plus daycare students. At present in the Home they have 21 Service Users: M.R. -9; O.H. -5; Psychosis – 1; LCP – 5; Schizophrenia -2; and seven Students at Day Care learning Computers. Doctors from Fr Muller’s Hospital from the Departments of Medicine E.N.T. Skin, Psychiatry do weekly check-ups on the residents every Thursday. 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.

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 a pride in earning something and not being treated as dependent human beings, MCH launched a vocational training centre and also started enrolling daycare 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. Today the MCH is proud that many of its students both resident and non-resident 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.

Envelope making still continues in full swing as three of MCH committee members June Pais, Renee Lobo and Rosy Rego help these residents manufacture envelopes for local chemist stores. Phenol making, liquid soap making and detergent powder making under the leadership of Rosy Rego also continues and along with broom making, the sales have been good. Leela Shreshta a volunteer helps residents with creating wealth from waste by teaching the residents the art of chain making from waste paper. These products are popular among the students. Card making continues under the guidance of Dorothy Vas. Handkerchiefs and flowers are also crafted by are inmates and sold. MCH is grateful to K.M.C. Attavar, Light House Hill, and Bejai for allowing them to sell their products at their premises and to Doreen Patrao in Marketing department, Hotel Taj Gateway-Mangaluru for helping MCH sell their products at the Hotel premises.

Computer training began on 1 July 2015- four boys and two girls completed their course in January and were awarded a diploma after a test conducted by Karnataka Women’s Polytechnic- Bondel. Students were also given a stipend of Rs.2000/- each for travelling during the course. The gross sale proceeds for all the products during the year was around Rs 75,000. A new L R C program was initiated by the Mangalore Cheshire Home, with Wilma Aranha, MCH Chairperson coordinating with Anuradha- manager Bangalore Cheshire home. A Coordinator Shruthi from KACES vocational Training institute was employed and sent for training to Bangalore. The objective of the course was to train persons with disabilities in computers, English and soft skills and to further make them employable.

The Coordinator also arranged for placement of the trained candidates. The Course had many speech and hearing impaired students, so sign language was taught to them by Nagaratna from Bangalore Cheshire Home. The staff and committee members of the Mangalore Cheshire Home too took the sign language classes. The first Batch was completed on 23 August 2016 and the students were given a certificate. A program by Prathana from Bangalore Cheshire Home followed and they trained the children to face Interviews and present a confident picture. More batches were added later and many students benefited from it.

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 a 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. Also, the Sisters of the daughters of Charity along with a dedicated staff ensure the smooth running of MCH. Cheshire Homes have maintained their reputation everywhere, so many corporate companies are coming forward to support this organization financially.

Cheshire Home Mangalore owes its smooth running to a dedicated team of sisters, Sr. Magdalene the sister in charge, Sr. Teresita the warden and Sr. Lincy, the craft teacher along with Jishma their office staff and computer teacher and Mr. Diyago, their accountant. The committee members too, work hard to see to the welfare of the Home, and they dedicate their time and energy for the upliftment of persons with disabilities despite their busy schedules, families and homes. They are rendering selfless service voluntarily without a remuneration and they deserve a big hand. Last but not the least are the ever smiling service users who inspire the committee members to strive harder.

Now that Cheshire Homes-Mangalore has successfully completed 52 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 neighbors 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.

The Birth Centenary of Group Captain Leonard Cheshire-VC.Om.DSO. and Two Bars.DFC. Founder of the Cheshire Homes International will be held on Sunday, 24 September 2017 at Roshni Nilaya School of Social Work Auditorium-Mangaluru at 4.30 pm. The Chief Guest for the occasion will be Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza, with Guests of Honor namely- Dr K G Jagadeesha IAS-Deputy Commissioner DK; T R Suresh-Police Commissioner; Air Marshal P Rajkumar(Retd)-Chairman, Cheshire Homes India, Bengaluru; and P M John-Chairman, Cheshire Home, Mumbai.

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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)

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