A new lease of life

Last Updated 05 October 2015, 18:32 IST
This year, the Managlore Cheshire Home completed 50 years of ensuring care, enabling and empowering differently-abled persons. Committed to serve the differently-abled, the Managlore Cheshire Home reiterates the fact that every person has a right to live a life of dignity. A part of a global network known as Cheshire Homes, it was begun by Group Captain Leonard Cheshire in Hampshire, England in 1948 to help rehabilitate the differently-abled and other victims of the World War II. It soon spread across 52 countries with a global alliance of over 250 Homes, of which 23 Homes are in India, dedicated to the cause of differently-abled persons.

The beginning
The Mangaluru chapter of the Cheshire Home was inaugurated on August 7, 1965. Initially it had a six-bed cottage to house inmates. This was initiated by prominent social workers, government servants, politicians and philanthropists of Mangaluru who were impressed by the  ideals of the Cheshire Home Movement. As if on cue, the first service users were identified with the help of Fr Mullers Hospital. The Home took in women who were cured of the Hansen’s disease (leprosy) but were ostracised by their families.

Land was donated by the then Bishop of Mangaluru, Fr Raymond D’Mello, and the foundation stone was laid by Leonard Cheshire in February 1964. Soon the Home grew in strength and it soon opened its doors to persons with multiple problems, mentally and physically challenged women and children and the strength grew to around 30 residents.

Over the years, the Home has integrated more facilities such as wheelchair -friendly passages and toilets, convenient washrooms, mosquito proofing for windows, power inverters, security grills, rain-water harvesting tanks, bore well, grab bars, medical and physiotherapy equipment.

The Mangalore Cheshire Home gradually began to shift its focus from mere caregiving to empowering persons with disabilities. In 1996, a vocational training and rehabilitation centre was added, teaching the residents skills in areas like embroidery and greeting card making among others.

Creating opportunities
As a part of its foray into the community based rehabilitation programme, the Home commenced day-care facilities and job-oriented training programmes including tailoring, computers, screen printing, soap making, phenol making and envelope making. The Government Polytechnic for Women in the city conducted these courses with the Organisation’s infrastructure and awarded the trainees with a diploma after the successful completion of the training. Many students who have passed out are either employed by others or self-employed and are eking out a living. Such activities have touched the lives of many persons and offered them an opportunity to live a life of dignity.

The Home’s mission is also to empower differently-abled people through knowledge dissemination. Thus it creates awareness about their rights and encourages them to be a part of the mainstream. The Home also provides services to the differently-abled persons to procure disability certificates, government pensions, railway and bus passes and other government facilities.

The Home’s concern and effort to change the lives of the differently-challenged people make it a Home in the true sense. It is that home where the residents can live in peace, harmony and dignity, irrespective of their social and economic background. Looking back at these 50 years, the Mangalore Cheshire Home believes that being normal is not important, but learning to accept those who are different and facilitate them to lead a life of fulfilment is important. The Home has followed what it believes and set an example for others.

Cheshire Homes can be contacted on 08534-2430468 or by email at mangalorecheshirehome@yahoo.com.
(Published 05 October 2015, 17:48 IST)

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