In recent times, senior citizens are facing several problems as a consequence of changes in the social structure.
One such old age home, Mount Rosary, was initially started as a sanatorium to treat tuberculosis (TB) patients at Alangar near Moodbidri has today turned out to be an asylum for the impoverished. Mount Rosary was started by Rev Francis Elias D’Souza, a priest of the diocese of Mangalore, in 1937. And, today this sanatorium owns 45 acres of land. This land was bought by Francis Elias D’Souza, who also served as its first director, after selling his ancestral property at Pejawar.
Francis Elias D’Souza was known for his humanitarian values and naturally, a large number of TB patients approached him for treatment without any hesitation. Since TB, those days led to early deaths, the family members of the patients were not ready to keep the sufferers with them. This centre welcomed them with open arms. Apart from the patients from this region, those from Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga, Chitradurga and other states like Goa and Maharashtra came here for treatment. While efforts were on to heal them using traditional knowledge, they were also provided with food and accommodation.
Four directors who followed him put in efforts and extended the activities, catering to the needs of the current times. Fr Edward Pinto is the present director. Mount Rosary was registered as Mount Rosary Charitable Institution Trust recently. At present, this institution is providing shelter to 250 people. They include senior citizens, abandoned TB patients and destitute people. They run a separate centre called St Anne’s Home for deserted alcoholic women.
“Our old age home is located in a pleasant, quiet atmosphere and it has an open ground so that the old can move about freely and safely for exercise, relaxation or peace of mind. It is place, where I get healthy food, timely medical assistance, valuable knowledge and above all love, and compassion of the nuns,” says Gracie Machado, a nonagenarian.
The Sisters of Mount Rosary was recently founded by Fr Edward Pinto to train nurses and doctors who will eventually serve the institution. Currently, there are 60 trainees here. Sisters are trained academically in different streams, some are lawyers who are helping residents to fight for justice, and a few are technicians and skilled workers. Some nurses are encouraged to pursue MBBS course. This charitable institution runs a 50-bedded hospital and is known to provide quality healthcare services.
“When I came here nine years back, it was very difficult for me to adjust and carry my personal things around. Now, all the residents treat me like their sister and daughter. Though god took my vision, he blessed me with a good voice. I’m thankful to him,” says Synthia Minezes, a visually challenged resident who is good at singing.
The Mount Rosary hospital works on the principle that it should be more than just diagnosing the diseases. In line with the principle, they have floated two health programmes: disease prevention programme and health promotion programme. This goal is accomplished by educating people either individually or in groups. They have health extension programmes; where trained nurses visit poor families and find out a solution to their problems. Health promotion programmes are materialised through creating awareness about nutrition, balanced diet and ill-effects of alcoholism. Apart from providing allopathic medicine, plans are on to start an Ayurvedic hospital on the campus.
Mount Rosary provides partial or full assistance to students who are not in a position to continue their education because of financial hardships, from primary school to university levels. Areas of assistance include admission fees, textbooks, tuition fees, hostel fees, uniforms and stationery items. Till date, it has educated over 1,500 students of remote villages in Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Kerala. The whole assistance system works with a reference mechanism where priests and sisters of different churches and convents along with the local gram panchayat members recommend people for Mount Rosary trust to provide financial aid.
It also undertakes self-help programmes for underserved families in different parts of Karnataka. As many as 72 women groups have been formed in the villages of Hubballi and Bidar. The group members are supported to start income-generation activities like gardening, floriculture, rearing cows, opening of grocery shops, garment shops etc., in their locality. After a year, the loan is paid back in instalments.
This institute holds the basic agenda of helping people who reach out to them, irrespective of their caste and creed.
For more details about the institution, visit www.mountrosaryalangar.in.