De Paul Institute of Philosophy and Religion kumbalgod Brothers Mission Exposure Programme At Vimukti Pothnal

Affection and commitment towards social work is the best activity of life. We the Vincentian brothers, currently pursuing our philosophical studies in Bangalore, were privileged to be a part of the Vimukti Pothnal from 3rd to 12th of April 2018. Belonging to a congregation which inherits its spirit from St. Vincent De Paul, it was a rejuvenating experience for us to walk into the life of the people and experience their very state of life. Our mission exposure programme in Pothnal was animated and guided by Fr. Satish Fernandes OFM. When we look into the past ten days, we had a gradual and progressive growth in our outlook towards social work. We were introduced to a number of activities and initiatives that aimed at the betterment of children, youth, women and adults. In our visit to Gangavati, we could witness with our own eyes the functioning of Child Resource Centers (CRCís) and Youth Resource Centers (YRCís), run by Capuchin Krishik Seva Kendra (CKSK) in collaboration with Child Fund India (CFI). We could also visit the families of different students sponsored by CFI and realized the consolation and support that it was providing to the society. In our stay in villages, we mingled with the life style of the people. It also enabled us, to understand their living conditions, circumstances, challenges and for a while, we felt, as if we too were a part of their joys and sorrows. We also extended our little services to them by engaging with their children, visiting and praying for the families and doing some sort of field work. All the villagers were courteous and hospitable, and readily welcomed us into their little homes. In our visit to Raichur, we could closely work with the Child Line Programme coupled with some practical experiences in the field. We could also meet the Women Federation working in Karnataka and join with them in their strike against liquor. We were also blessed with the opportunity to visit District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) and had a talk with National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Director, Manjunath Reddy MSW. In short, our mission exposure programme opened our eyes towards the various social issues such as child labour, child marriage, child trafficking, Devadasi system, illiteracy, poverty, migration and so on. We were also introduced to a number of schemes offered by the government for the upliftment of the children, women and the poor.

Our mission exposure in Pothnal, took us into a new horizon of social work. We realized that social work is all about enabling the people in the society, to stand on their feet. Social work is not mere charity but rather empowering the society to achieve its rights. This can be done by empowering and organizing the people to attain their needs. We felt that, Vimukti Pothnal stands as a model by getting into the various realms of the society and enforcing them to achieve their rights. We feel greatly honoured to be a part of this initiative undertaken by the Capuchin friars, and we specially thank Fr. Satish Fernandes OFM, Fr. Arun Lobo OFM, Fr. Elvin Lopes OFM and their community, Dr. Sadashiv Kadambi, Mr. Sudarshan and all their team members for their immense support and guidance. We also thank our dear rector Fr. Rafy Vezhaparambil VC who took a decisive step to inculcate in us a varied spirit of social service.

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