History of Maayer Asha, Ichapur
Date of foundation : 05.09.1997
Diocese : Kolkata
Parish : Howrah
Apostolate : Young at risk, family visit (Provincial house)
One of the main purposes of this center is to look after the street children in collaboration with Don Bosco Ashalayam. We were happy to accommodate the girls and boys who lost so much in their life, to give them hope and bring them up in a healthy family atmosphere.
It was a day of rejoicing and gladness. The awaited time has come. The dream of starting a new center in Kolkata has come to its reality. The home for destitute and street children started on 5th September 1997 with few boys. It is located at Ichapur and was named after Mother Theresa since the blessing was on the day which she took abode in heaven.
Mother Elizabeth Packumala the Superior General of the MSMHC, the first party, Regional Superior Sr.Ivy Joseph, Sr.Molly James and Mr. Sonjoy Gupta, Dilip Gupta; the second party, signed the sale agreement of the property before Mr. Bhattacharjee, the advocate. Mother Elizabeth Packumala, Sr.Ivy Joseph, Sr. Molly James and advocate S. N. Bhattacharjee went to the building site.
Fr.Mathew Parakonath the Rector of Ashalayam blessed the house and Fr. George made all the arrangements. Srs. Mary John, Emerencia Minj, children from Ashalayam, few people from the locality was present there to join with the MSMHC in expressing their gratitude to God. Mother Elizabeth Packumala thanked the advocate and the fathers who helped us in a great manner. Around 8.45 p .m. we received the death news of Mother Theresa which shocked everyone. It was an indication, to start a new life with hope giving the name of a great human lover. Later on Maayer Asha became the provincial house. Later on Maayer Asha became the provincial house but continued to use the larger portion of the building exclusively for the street children. It was on 25th February 2003 the first Provincial, Rev.Sr.Nancy Augustine was appointed.
Srs. Flora Dhan, Anita Topno, Molly James, Shanta Kerketta, Salomi Guria, Jacinta Bhengra, Lincy Paul, were the members who worked hard to carry out the noble mission for several years.
The apostolate was quite tough in the beginning since the sisters had to go each platform in search of abandoned children. Children from the stations grow with a lot of freedom, so they found difficult to adjust with the atmosphere within the walls. They ran away to their old life, sisters bring them back like the shepherd and motivated them to love and share by their own life example. Today we work as net work having many organizations like child line to help them to find their family if there is one. Those who are lost, run away and exploited in different ways come in our hands to be helped out. They are given counseling, entertainments, extracurricular activities etc. We find our apostolate smooth and worth doing. We have started another home for the bigger girls; this made the mission more effective.
We make a great effort to visit the families of neighborhood at least on Sundays. We join the sisters in Baltikuri for family visit. We are given the areas of Belagchia, Beragangi Konna. During family visit we found many of the Catholics are married to the people belonged to other religion and not yet settled their marriage. Lots of improvements are seen in their family, religion and sacramental life. They are very poor and simple; most of them belonged to Adivasi tribe. Today we see it as a mission from God. It is effective and many children grow as useful citizens of the society. “LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME”, said Jesus. We inculcate in them gospel values of love, peace and joy by our loving presence amidst them. We are proud to say that any child who comes to Maayer Asha express freely the love and care they receive from the sisters. The children are trained well and they make so much of progress in life. They are given number of opportunities to make themselves feel worth, accepted and for the all round development of their life. Under the care of the sisters they are constantly assisted and attended to their needs.
Bengalis are great celebrities and also have a large heart to appreciate others if they do well for the society. They give us wholehearted support. They celebrate their festal days with our children with sweets and gifts at times even providing a great meal for them. Without considering the caste or religion they do come to help us if it is needed. They respect and love for all the work we do for the children. Our very presence over here inspires and motivates them to do something for the disadvantaged ones. Whenever there is an occasion of celebration, they make sure that these children too enjoy. Certainly there is a source of kindness awakened in the heart of people around by our very presence.
In every human heart there is a deep longing to do good and basically everyone is good. They have a lot of empathy towards our children, which they express by their deeds. They recognize the good we do and join us with their little contribution. Our very presence over here inspires motivates them to do something for the disadvantaged ones. Whenever there is an occasion of celebration, they make sure that the children enjoy. They recognize the good we do and join us with their little contribution. Yes, there is a source of kindness awakened in the heart of people around by our very presence. They see us as people of God giving our life for the weaker sections of the society. Different clubs over here organizes program and they make it a point that children receive gifts like clothes or play items. We thank God for His loving kindness through very many ways.
Maayer Asha gives temporary accommodation to all girl children who come through Don Bosco Ashalayam lost, runaway and abused cases etc…. Ashalayam takes the responsibility in such cases. More than 300 children came in contact with Maayer Asha through Ashalayam. Around 100 of them are in different homes of Ashalayam others are sent back their homes or relations. The senior girls who come to it without any academic studies are admitted to the boarding schools for formal and non–formal education. Maayer Asha accommodates them during their holidays.
MAAYER ASHA TODAY
We have girls who successfully completed their nursing (GNM) and those still doing. The girls are well motivated by the sisters and most of them are doing very well aiming at a good future. Maayer Asha mainly meant for school going children since the house has no facility to keep the bigger ones. There are 26 children those are staying with us and doing their primary schooling. Now it has got an extension house for bigger girls. Besides going to the formal schools they learn music, dance drawing, painting and other handworks that can be the job opportunities in case of failure in academic studies. Maayer Asha brings awareness among the people that ‘life is precious.’ We feel that it is a great service we can offer to God by making the abandoned ones feel loved and accepted. The girl child is a blessing and precious in the family and society. Maayer Asha brings awareness among the people that ‘each life is precious’ we are here on earth to live for others, and ‘Give and give expecting nothing in return’. It is the greatest achievement we give to the Church that to make a child to feel that she is loved and accepted. She is someone in the society. She can do something worthwhile than begging. She is a precious beautiful creation of God. God loves and saves her through different people. She can smile at the world with confidence and courage since she realizes her life is precious
Howrah - 711 104, West Bengal
(033) 2667 -8465
Sr.Molly James - Provincial Superior
Sr. Jacinta Jyrwa - Superior
Sr. Agnes Baiju George - Provincial Economer
Sr. Mary Gulab Marandi – Bishop’s House
Sr. Salomi Guria -V.S & Eco
Sr. Deepa Sardar - Asst Ch