Our Season for Inter-spiritual/Intercultural Celebration has had a low profile in the time of COVID. The series I am doing on the boo, See No Stranger is part of the programming that we have created for the Season. We had Rev. Dr. Ryan Polly as a guest speaker, and this coming Sunday we will have Sr. Lucy Kurien from India as our guest speaker. You are receiving Daily Faith Lift in your inbox and that is part of our programming as well.
Sr. Lucy has visited us on a couple of occasions when she has been in the states and was planning a visit earlier this year; however, that didn’t happen. So, for those who may not know Sr. Lucy and the work she does, I am including this piece on Maher’s history to give you a preview of this woman’s dedication and good works.
Maher has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1997. Today Maher is an officially registered NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) with the UN. Over 7,000 women and children have passed through the Maher experience and come out brimming with self-confidence and dignity.
Those who cannot be reunited with their families, because of a trauma or other complications, continue to be looked after under Maher’s watchful care. Many stay on, fully rehabilitated, to work as housemothers or assistants. All residents receive the highest quality diet, medical attention and psychiatric counseling available, irrespective of their caste or religion. All human beings and all religious faiths continue to be given equal weighting and all major festivals are celebrated with the same fervor.
Maher is present in over 85 rural communities around Pune as well as in locations around Ratnagiri (south of Mumbai), and also in the states of Kerala and Jharkhand.
In addition to residential programs, Maher has 15+ projects that support the same Mission within villages, slum areas, inland tribal areas, migrant workers, and more. Maher supports over 2,000 Self-help Groups, provides skill training, awareness programs (hygiene, women’s rights, vermiculture [composting], alcoholism, the value of educating girl-children, and many more).
In the time of COVID, Maher, while keeping all current residents safe and healthy and homeschooling children, continues to receive victims of domestic violence (which is up in India like many places on the planet), take in street people, and more. They are also finding ways to provide food, blankets and emergency support to thousands of migrants and homeless stranded by the virus and government policies. By end of August Maher had served an additional 30,000+ people, and the work continues. It is astonishing to me that no one at any Maher home has gotten ill with CODID 19!
Maher relies totally on donations; there is no government financial support for this work. Everything Maher does is equal to genders, all religions, all castes, all backgrounds.
The message this past Sunday was on “reimagine,” and Sr Lucy is a walking example of what can happen when we use our power of imagination and then put feet to it. Please watch the service so that you can begin to reimagine a spiritually transformed world.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey