Dayasagar Children’s Home (2009)
The Weikfield Company, which has one of its operations in Bakhori, had generously supplied an electricity connection to the home. When the Company owner, Mr Asharini Malhtra, visited the premises, Sister Lucy explained the lack of available space and asked him to consider donating some land. The Weikfield Company agreed to donate five gunthas (a little over 450 sqm) of land to Maher. However, there were many complaints from the community about building on that land since they had been using it for access for many years – blocking the walking route would make their lives difficult. Thus, after constructing a small shed and a bore well, the building had to stop. Sister Lucy had a meeting with the owner of the Weikfield Company to try to resolve the situation and they kindly donated another plot of land to Maher and also compensated the Organisation for half of the building expenses already incurred.
It took time to register the land again and get permission for construction of the building. Most of the necessary financial resources were received from Maher supporters in Germany and Austria and the Weikfield Company itself. Finally, on 16.07.09 the new building was inaugurated by the Malhotra Family. The children’s joy at moving to another building with more space was indescribable.
Now, a day care centre, kindergarten and two homes exist – Dayasagar for girls and Gyansagar for boys. With its training program and self help groups, life in the village is improving.
The village of Bakhori, on the road to Pune, is not served by public transportation making it semi-isolated. Many adults were illiterate and very poor and with no day care centre or kindergarten in the village, the children were forced into begging. .
Alcoholism was rampant and future prospects for the people living there were dim until the arrival of Maher. The Organisation was invited by the Guli Bai of Bakhori Village to set up self help groups. The number of groups increased rapidly and soon Maher opened a balwadi in the village. Maher’s good works began to be recognized by the community. The Guli Bai and some of the community requested that Sister Lucy take some of the poor children to a Maher home. With all existing homes already full, Sister Lucy told the people that if they could identify a large enough house in Bakhori then Maher could open a house there. In this way children would not be removed from their own village and there was potential for the project to be owned by the community. Sister Lucy wanted the children to feel cared for and loved by the people in the village and to be included in local events like weddings, naming ceremonies etc..
The first home in Bakhori (2003)
The project was started in 2003 in a small community tin shed, sorted by the local government Bakhori and inaugurated on August 30 by Mr. Balasaheb Chavan, a local businessman. The house had no toilet or bathroom facilities so some friends of Maher helped us to build two toilets and a bathroom. The home, which could accommodate fifteen children with a house father and house mother, was officially opened at a very positive gathering attended by board members and people from the village. For 7 years the project remained in this small shed but the house parents and children faced a lot of difficulty. Very often the big children used to sleep in the nearby temple for lack of space in the house, especially when it was raining.