12 Youth Pages

posted Dec 5, 2018, 9:06 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 5, 2018, 9:06 AM ]

YAA - Mission Manor

The Young Adults Association (YAA) of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Orlem, Malad, has grown mature over the years; its outreach programmes are helping make some serious contribution to the community. The field visits to Mission sites in Maharashtra is now becoming a regular feature. This year, on the occasion of the World Day of the Poor, YAA planned a visit to Shanti Seva Mandal Trust at Manor, Palghar for the working youth of the parish aged between 25 to 40 years. The aim of these Mission programmes is mainly to give an opportunity to experience what life at the Missions is, and to understand the hardships many of the underprivileged face, first-hand. Keeping this in mind, on November 17-18, a two-day trip was planned. At the crack of dawn, 18 enthusiastic young adults, along with Fr Oniel Rodrigues, the Spiritual Director of YAA, made the two-hour journey by bus to Manor.

We received a very warm welcome by Fr Linus D'Mello, the priest in-charge of Shanti Seva Mandal Trust. He told us about the works carried out at Manor; while there are many government initiatives being carried out, there is still a lot more to be done. Majority of the villagers earn their livelihood by taking up jobs at the surrounding industrial units or working at the brick kilns. Farming on a large scale isn't an option, due to the very high temperatures and lack of irrigation facilities.

What is of notable mention is that the Trust receives regular help and support from a variety of communities, and not just from Christians. The Mission does not conduct schools; however, it provides boarding for about 150 boys and girls who come from far off villages to attend the Zilla Parishad school. The Trust caters to their food and school stationery. Also, they provide the children with basic computer knowledge. The Trust also provides tuition services to about 1200 students from the area. The main challenge is keeping the kids in school. Due to poverty, each member of the family is required to contribute, and the schools see a drop in number of students in the secondary section. To try and change the fate of the villagers, the Trust has started providing saplings of fruit trees, so that the villagers can be self-sufficient and sell their produce in the local markets. This has been a successful initiative, and many more villages have started adopting this methodology.