Caring for the staff: Inauguration of Maher staff quarters (2005)
Eight years after the foundation of Maher, it was a time to utilise a part of its resources for the well-being of its stafff as well. The construction of an independent building for the staff at Vadhu indicated that awareness. The quarters were inaugurated by Fr. Francis D’Sa on March 11, 2005. The function had two unusual guests of honor who were long-time supporters of Maher activities but preferred to remain anonymous.They were Ms. Sujata Bendgiri, a housewife who unfailingly made regular monthly contributions to Maher and Mr. Prashant Kadam, a vegetable vendor who had never visited Maher but supplied vegetables free whenever requested. Their gracious acts were a living example of how common man, if he ever decides, could also make a difference to the well-being of people around. The provision of quarters to the staff had become imperativee in view of the inadequate housing in the vicinity of Maher. The quarters provided simple accomodation for 7 families and 6 guests.
A new building and a new look production unit (2007-2009)
The new building named Kaladalan was established on June 16, 2007. Renowned social activist Mr. Anna Hazare, while he could not remain personally present, sent his blessings. On the ground floor there are two store rooms to comply with Government legislation that there is a separate store room for each licensed project ? one project is for women (short stay home) and the other for children. Additionally there is parking space for Maher?s vehicles as wekk as a dance practice room and a study/computer room on the second floor. On the ground floor there is parking space for Maher?s vehicles.
The production unit, which occupied an entire floor of a new building at Vadhu, was established under the project Parishram in 2009 with the primary objective of equipping the women with some basic skills and training that could enable them to earn some income and thus be self-reliant. The unit worked earlier in the residential building of the Vadhu complex where it increasingly faced shortage of space with larger involvement of women in its operations and greater demand for its products.
Rising star house (2010)
The Rising Star is the first Maher home for the adolescent boys who badly needed an accommodation independent of younger children. With the inauguration of Rising Star on July 4, 2010 by the famous stage artist Madhav Vaze with Marjan Holtvluwer presiding over the function, this long felt need was met. The house at Vadhu is a two-stored building spacious enough to accommodate around 20 boys.
The Center: Vadhu Budruk
Sr. Lucy, together with Fr. Francis D’Sa (elderly friend and a highly respected theologian) and Bernhardt Girardi (friend of Fr. Francis and professional musician), identified a plot of land for the Maher-Project in the village Vadhu Budruk, about 40kms from Pune.
Since the beginning, Sr. Lucy visualized Maher as an interfaith and caste-free organisation that respected all religions. While this view created problems with some, Sr. Lucy was able to get past them in course of time. The simple inaugural ceremony on February 2, 1997 was presided over by Fr. D’Sa and attended by friends, children and a few staff members. On the same day Fr. D’Sa opened Mamatadham and Kishordham, the two most prominent Maher projects to this day.
Impelling focus on children: The inauguration of Champa and Chameli, the first Maher satellite chain homes (2000)
While Maher was founded primarily as a place that offered shelter to destitute and battered women, it could no longer limit itself to helping only women since most women approached Maher with a children or two. Thus, Maher was almost immediately drawn into supporting children as well. The children at Maher began to be looked after under Project Kishordham in a system of a chain of satellite homes that accommodated around 20 children each taken care of by two housemothers. While there are 27 such homes today, there was none for the first 3 years though Maher did accept children for care. The first satellite homes, named Champa and Chameli, had to await construction. The homes were inaugurated on November 26, 2000 at Vadhu at the hands of Ms Lata Joshi, eminent child welfare and adoption activist marking the beginning of the system of satelllite children’s homes.
Fifth Anniversary and opening of Jai (2002)
On February 2, 2002, Maher celebrated 5 years at Vadhu in a very simple way, marked only by the distribution of certificates to women who had completed a Maher organised tailoring course. The growing response to Maher work during this short period of five years probably showed that Maher was on the right track. On November 27, the year 2002 saw further expansion of Maher’s work for children with the inauguration of Jai at Vadhu.
Four new homes and a meditation hall (2003)
The year 2003 saw consolidation of Maher’s system of satellite children’s homes in a big way. On March 22, 2003, 4 homes (Mogra, Jaswandi, Zendu) were declared open at Vadhu by eminent Gandhian, Ms Shobhana Ranade. Ms Ranade also inaugurated the newly constructed building at Vadhu where these houses were located. The new concrete structure was a matter of pride for all Maher friends and residents. Maher also added a new facility for its beneficiaries, when it carved out a meditation hall at its building at Vadhu. It was inaugurated by Dr. Wolfgang Schwaiger, a friend of Maher from Germany, on December 11, 2003. It is now customary for Maher children, wwomen and staff to regularly undergo meditation (Project Vipasana) as a part of their life and work at Vadhu.