Sneha Bhavan, Kerala

 
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Sneha Bhavan, Kerala

The Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004 was catastrophic. In the region of Tamil Nadu thousands were killed, economies shattered and the lives of the surviving children left in doubt. The disaster also affected some parts of Kerala.

Help for children from a different site (2006)

In 2006, Swami Sachidananda Bharti came to visit Maher at the invitation of one of the trustees, Father Peter D’Souza. He told Sister Lucy of how he had brought some homeless children to his Ashram in Kerala after the tsunami. Sister Lucy met with Swami several times to discuss his project and also visited the home with the President of Maher at that time, Anuradha. She learned more about the plight of the people in Kerala and gave Swami some funds she had received to help tsunami victims but what Sister Lucy had seen continued to affect her.

Maher takes the responsibility (2007)

In 2007 Swami contacted Sister Lucy again and informed her that it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to look after the children. He therefore offered to donate some land in Snehabhavan so that Maher could build a separate home, initially for ten children. He also offered a loan to begin construction.

The new Maher Home (2009)

After a visit to the proposed site in Kerala by Sister Lucy and the board of trustees, the home was built and inaugurated in 2009.

Although the project started well there was some tension in dealing with Swami’s trust as time went on. Most issues were resolved although they have not yet given clearance for Maher to use the road leading to the building. Government regulations require separate homes for boys and girls so Maher was forced to build a second home for girls so that brothers and sisters could be housed in the same project.

A separate home for girls (2012)

The girls? home was inaugurated on 31 March 2012. The Kerala staff were given training by Mini from Vatsalyadham and visited the Maher homes in Pune in order that the values and spirit of the Organisation could be replicated in South India and a close working relationship established. A de-addiction program has been added for the villagers since alcoholism is now a major issue and the local schools also educate children on the dangers of addiction. Gandhiji competitions have been added as part of the rehabilitation for children and recovery is happening gradually.

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