05 Nov 2017 05:06am IST
Sr Molly Fernandes
The Sisters of the Congregation of Holy Family of Nazareth, Sancoale is celebrating its Silver Jubilee. The Asha Bhavan founded by Fr Faustino De Souza is helping the poor and downtrodden of the society. Sr Molly Fernandes sfn trails the history of the congregation and what it does to help
The unique and challenging period of the new era is revolutionary and calls for a change; Calls for ground-breaking ethos. Considering the ethnicity of the society or nation, change of and in person is foremost. Real change comes when there’s an earnest desire from within to change, or transform or infuse new life through creative and inventive skills; be the change in economics, finance, infrastructure, etc. The challenging job is being carried out by the Sisters of the Congregation of Holy Family of Nazareth, Sancoale.
The mission to uplift those living on the peripheries, the have-nots, the marginalized and downtrodden of the society which in fact is the task and responsibility of the elected representatives of the society remains an unrealised dream.
Way back in the 20th century, Goa had slum dwellers who were migrants and struggled to make a living. As of now the influx of migrants is unaccountable.
It’s almost two and a half decades. Elapsed with time, the daunting challenges grew in leaps and bounds. One such challenge and daunting task Sancoale Sisters took up was to eradicate the flesh trade or to rehabilitate the commercial sex workers (CSW) at Baina – known as Red Light area.
On June 1, 1992 under the leadership of Sr. Lourencia Marques sfn, a Bachelor in Social work (BSW) trained in Mumbai and Sr. Roena Matos sfn, began the path-breaking mission, a revolution, to bring a ray of hope in the hopeless, dejected and vulnerable ones of the society; to move them from darkness to light.
Initially, it was only through door to door visiting as there was no residence as such to have any activity. This led to discover that women were not just busy cooking but they were busy with flesh trade. The visits revealed the sad plight of the vulnerable of the society deceived with a promise for jobs had landed them in death-like situation where they could not think of going back home even if they desired As a result the Fr Faustino De Souza Social Service Centre “Asha Sadan – A ray of Hope” was born. Born to instil hope, to encourage and empower; to enlighten and rekindle in them power, courage and skills.
At Asha Sadan the Sisters work to eradicate the flesh trade, poverty, marginalisation of individuals, ill treatment by husbands and in-laws, build up family relationships and educate the people regarding the evils of kidnapping, child trafficking and other cultural and religious superstitions, idolatry and cult worship which enslave them. Through the reach out programmes availed by Asha Sadan, they have emerged as beautiful butterflies as stronger persons, more compassionate and understanding; responsible and fearless with hope to accept the changes in their lives.
The Centre has received several awards for the challenging works, such as the National Award for Child Welfare in 1996 at the hands of President of India Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma. The Centre received an award from Goa Sundarop Community Development in USA for the valuable and dedicated services rendered towards the care and education of the orphans and underprivileged children of the area. The Rotary club “Motibhai Doshi Foundation” in Kholapur awarded Sr Lourencia for the yeomen services in literacy promotion.
On the occasion of the silver jubilee of its existence, the Centre vows to continue to fulfil its aims and objectives and the earnest desire and dream of its Founder Fr. Faustino De Souza who reached out to the poor and downtrodden of the society. An unseen joy and happiness wells up to see the results of hard toiled unpaid labours of the sisters who were instrumental of being the ray of hope to them all. “We thank God for His unconditional love, success and protection as I believe that the Lord continues to hang around through Sr. Lourencia which can be seen, felt and touched on her countenance and those working with her,” said a sister from the congregation.
May these 25 glorious years be a driving force to continue the yeomen services. May the place RedLight be changed and termed as GREEN LIGHT!