Maria Seva Sangha

"Service to the Poor, from Childhood to Old Age" ....

The Maria Seva Sangha (MSS) is a Charitable Organisation registered as a Society under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, vide Certificate S. No51/81/82 dated 01.05.81(in India), and is recognised as a Charitable Trust under 12A of the Indian Income Tax Act.

In view of the noteworthy charitable work done by MSS, the Government of India, in 1996 has given recognition of MSS as a National Institution by sanctioning 100% Income Tax exemption under Sec 35AC of the Indian Income Tax Act on donation for the Mid-Day Meal Project. Donations to the other Projects of MSS viz. Housing, Home for the Aged and the Educational Scholarship programme continue to be eligible for tax exemption under Sec 80G of the same Act. The Maria Seva Sangha is also registered with Home Department Government of India for receipt of Foreign Funds vide No.094420290. The Members of this Organisation have come together with a common deep concern for the under-priviledged in Society, of different age groups, irrespective of Caste, Religion or Community, and to spare time their time, efforts and money for reaching out to the poor.

Maria Seva Sangha - Striving to turn dreams to reality

A small group of dedicated professionals from various walks of life have come together at Maria Seva Sangha, to make this dream come true. Strongly committed to the upliftment of the poor, each governing body member of Maria Seva Sangha is equipped with ample experience and expertise in his or her own field. This is demonstrated in their successful on going Projects.

The Governing Board of Maria Seva Sangha in October 1996

President: Air Cdre. M.C. Rego, IAF (Retd); Vice President: Ms. Blanche Alvares, Vice President: Francis T.R. Colaso, IPS (Retd); Secretary: Gladwyn H. Fernandes; Treasurer: Felix A. Menezes; Past President: Peter J.R. Prabhu, Members: 8 from various Professions.

The On-going Major Projects of MSS are :

I . Education Fellowship Scheme

Under the Educational Fellowship Scheme there are 3 distinct programs which aim to support youth fro the economically weak and under -privileged sections of society in Bangalorre. There s no hesitation in saying that the Maria Seva Sangha have been pioneer in this field, as the scheme met with a long felt need of poor students, many of whom have chosen the right course of studies, passed with credit and are now well settled in life.

Loan Scholarships are given to post S.S.L.C. promising students from the economically backward sections of Society who have obtained admission in a Government recognised Institute for Professional/ Technical Training Courses. Funds for this purpose are obtained through donations given by generous Individuals and Organisation. The aid is only given to those students meeting a laid down criteria. Bond Agreements are required to be made by the student and 2 sureties who take full responsibility for clearing the loan in case of default by the student. The MSS are glad to state that 184 scholarships have been given to our poor deserving students in the last 14 years. The loan amounts refunded by these students is used to finance others approaching the MSS. All donations received are kept in fixed deposits and public securities, interest on which is utilised as a source of funds for the programme. The interest earned on the Corpus amount now aids about 25 students per year on an average. It is found that this amount is inadequate as several applicants who are found deserving of aid, according to the criteria laid out, have to be refused aid for want of funds. Further the Courses which are being undertaken by applicants receiving aid under the Project, the fees are being raised from time to time, particularly those for medicine and Engineering. The Project therefore needs a further substantial amount that would increase the interest to yield sufficiently to enable the Project help at least 40 deserving students per year from the poor and deprived class to take up Technical Vocational Courses of Training.

It is well known that youth today are totally confused about the choice of a Career. Many of them take up wrong Careers due to pressure from their parents or other reasons and become misfits in life. Realising this long felt need, Maria Seva Sangha has taken up career guidance counseling through a reputed specialist Organisation, in schools having students of the lower economic category. The programmes are conducted in a systematic way where the student gets to know hms own potential and is also oriented towards career areas which would be suitable for his personal capabilities. Career reports are given drawing up a Career path for each individual student. The response and results of these programmes have been truly heartening. Every year they sponsor about 500 students at a cost of Rs.40/- per student. Funds for this purpose are also taken from the interest accruing from Fixed Deposits in Banks and Public Securities. As there are a large number of students needing this programme and since considerable funds are required, generous donations for this purpose are earnestly solicited.

II. Housing

The Archbishop of Bangalore has placed at the disposal of Maria Seva Sangha 3 acres of land in Krishnarajapuram, Bangalore South, for providing small houses to under-privileged families. A large number of persons belonging to the 25-40 age group have emerged from Dalit (Schedule Caste) families with a little education and all struggling to come up in Society. Employed in small salaried jobs like shop assistants and workers in small industries and tailoring units, it is a great struggle for them to live in decent houses as well as meet the other cost of living. MSS want to help in providing a home for them. The land itself is a free gift to these families. Part of the expenditure on the development of the land and construction of the houses will be met by helping the beneficiaries to get loans from their Employers, Banks etc. and the rest of the money will be raised through donations. The beneficiaries will be bound by Agreement to repay the amount spent, through donations in easy instalments in order to use this amount for future Projects. It is proposed to undertake this Project in several phases. In the first phase only 72 houses will be constructed depending on the donations that are able to be raised.

III. "Villa Maria", A Home For The Aged

Coping with Economic Changes

Bangalore, once known as a "Pensioner's Paradise" boasted of spacious bungalows, beautiful gardens and leisurely lifestyle. Over the years, rapid urbanisation has brought about drastic changes in this scenario. Apart from the consequent shortage of space, the joint family, a traditional social system, has given way to the nuclear family. This has resulted in Senior Citizens being neglected by the young and hence receiving very little physical and psychological support.

The Aged Lower Middle-Class - a marginalised group

The existing old age homes cater either to the rich or to the totally abandoned and destitute. Leaving the lower Middle-Class and economically poorer sections to fend for themselves. Even the local State Government has no schemes to provide for the welfare of this particular group. Besides financial assistance, more importantly, they need physical, social and psychological care. And with the number of these vulnerable old people rapidly increasing, a great need has been felt to provide a home where they could live their lives in peace and comfort.

A Ray of Hope - "Villa Maria"

Miss Bernie Pinto and her late brother Dr. Francis Pinto, with the permission of their sister Sr. Christine and late sister Sr. Carmel and all their relations, in a loving and kind gesture, had donated their entire old property measuring over 16,000sq. ft., for a noble cause, namely the construction and setting up of an Old Age Home for the lower middle class. They have given over the entire rights, title and interest in the "Villa Maria" to the Maria Seva Sangha. The Sangha has responded to this call by utilizing "Villa Maria" for the express purpose to create a Home for the Aged that will provide care, shelter and social support without distinction of caste, creed or language. Here the dreams of these Senior Citizens, to live life with peace and dignity, in a place they could call home, will be fulfilled. The cost of the construction is around Rs.10 Million or $ 285,700/-, and generous donations towards the construction are most welcomed by the MSS.

IV. Nutrition Programme For Poor Children

There are many poor, undernourished children in local schools, who have nothing to eat at lunch-time. At present, four hundred and fifty children are being given mid-day meals in 3 schools by the MSS. The programme is being sustained at present by generous donations from various sources but there is need for continuous support to cater for the vast numbers of such children in these and other schools. The Maria Seva Sangha have recently received recognition as a National Institution from the Government of India providing donors to this Project with 100% Income Tax deduction under Section 35AC of the Indian Income Tax Act, for the amount donated.

The total cost per month for supply of mid-day meals to 100 children, works out to Rs. 4,000/- (approx.). Hence an amount of Rs. 1.8 Lakhs is required to sustain the programme throughout the school year, for 450 children in three schools. The MSS are determined to continue and enlarge this scheme, because of the incentive it provides.

The Maria Seva Sangha request for a generous donation to cover, as far as possible, the costs of this programme not only for the existing 450 children but also for the many more who desperately need some help.

Assistance Needed

In view of the much-needed charitable work done by the MSS Organisation in the various fields catering to all age groups, irrespective of Caste, Community and Creed, the Maria Seva Sangha appeal for a generous donation to help them in fulfilling their objectives. Their official receipt, stamped and franked for Income Tax Exemption under section 80-G/35AC will be issued for all donations.

Those interested in donating to this worthy cause may send in their donations to The President, Maria Seva Sangha, No.12 Rest House Road, Bangalore 560 001, India. The donor would have to state that the donation is for the Corpus Fund for any of the following (a) Education Fellowship Scheme (Scholarships), (b) Home for the Aged, (c) Social Housing Programme, (d) Mid-day Meals for destitute children (Nutrition Programme); or the donor would like to Institute a Scholarship to be used for a particular profession , the choice being that of the donor; or Directly Sponsor a student for a professional or technical course; or Give a Donation to Maria Seva Sangha to be used as MSS thinks fit. You may send your queries to the above address, Phone: 9180 5589066 , FAX: 9180 2279617, or e-Mail Address: skyline@giasbg01.vsnl.net.in

The Maria Seva Sangha would like to Thank You for spending time reading this Article and Appeal, and also Wishes You God Blessings and Good Wishes.

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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26



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