Future plans in Jharkhand
Against the background of an accomplished 16-year experience in the field of welfare of mentally disturbed women in Pune, Maher now aspires to work along similar lines in Jharkhand. It is not uncommon to see women succumbing to mental illness on account of a variety of unfortunate circumstances in the family, finally leading up to their abandonment virtually on the road side by their own kith and kin. These women are often seen eking out a miserable existence on pavements, railway stations, temple entries and other public places. It is little wonder they often become victims of public anger, ridicule, harassment, superstition, physical injury and sexual abuse. Following these unfortunate incidents, they are often left uncared for to live through their wretched life for years.
Maher proposes to come to the rescue of these unfortunate women. In Pune a home for them already exists, but not in Jharkhand. The need for it is there. Whenever our social workers happen to come across women in such conditions, they would virtually pick them up and bring them to Maher, where they would be properly cleaned and given food, medical treatment and clothing. Efforts will be made to upgrade the miserable condition of their life by organizing for them such wholesome activities as meditiation, yoga, music and dance. Wherever possible, they would also be given training in a variety of skills, so that they may become socially productive members of the community.
Maher wants to built such a home in Jharkhand. To realize this plan, Maher needs your help. The gound to built a house already exist in Jharkhand near the current children’s home. The task is now to create a home especially for the needs of mentally disturbed women.
Ma Ka Ghar, Jharkhand
Sister Lucy and Hirabegum first visited Ranchi at the request of a woman called Shoba, who had worked with Sister Lucy in the Hope Project for many years, before she got married to a young man from Ranchi, Jharkhand.
Shoba had always been very moved by the work she saw Maher doing to change the lives of women and children in Maharashtra. When she went to Ranchi, she became very aware of the extreme poverty that existed there, the lack of schools, the children living on the streets and the large number of illiterate parents – she was convinced that Sister Lucy should visit the city with a view to establishing a Maher home for women and children there.
Sister Lucy agreed to visit Ranchi and travelled there with Anuradha, the President of Maher at that time. When they surveyed the city and witnessed the social issues, including the conditions for the people, who were mentally ill, they were also convinced that Maher should open a home in Jharkhand.
After some difficulties, Sister Lucy and Hira found a suitable property in Ranchi and new staff were brought to Maher?s centre in Vadhu Budruk to provide them with extensive training. This would prepare them for opening and managing a new home. Although there were some unfortunate delays to the project, including a robbery, the team from Maher persisted and Ma Ka Ghar home was inaugurated in November 2008. Today, thirty children live there and now have a bright future.
A new project: awareness in the villages (2013)
While the work in the home developed nicely and the life of many women and children could be improved, Maher’s staff realized, that the general lack of knowledge in many villages is very high. Many people are superstitious – which is affecting for example the role of the women, whose are held down by the men and also do not get the idea to fight for their rights. That’s why now 8 Maher workers started under the new Gomia Project awareness programmes and programmes for women empowerment in the villages.