Fr Eric Mathias SJ (left) is the director of the educational works in Manvi and the founder of the Jesuit Mission here 10 years ago. This blog has been contacted by a few people who wanted to know more about the many children here who have been saved from a life of grazing cows and given an education. Fr Eric has written todays entry to highlight two students (from many) whose life has changed dramatically because of their work.
Pannur Mission began with releasing some bonded child labourers and giving them A life-changing experience through education. All these children who were released are doing well and are an example to others. Let me give you some examples of living stories of our children who were grazing cows and never ever thought that one day they would speak in English and study in an English medium school.
Hanumanthi. Hanmuanthi hails from a small village called Umli Hosur, 26 kms from Manvi. She was grazing cows of the landlords and used to collect Rs. 3,000 per year. Loyola team met her in her village and sent her to Bijapur for literacy program. She proved herself so smart that we decided to send her to Mangalore to do her primary studies. As she was good in English we brought her to school in Manvi for the 8th std. She has excelled in studies and sports and brought a good name to the school. Now she is in 2nd year PUC (Pre University) and dreaming of being an eye specialist. She says that both her mother and brother are suffering from eye trouble and so she would like to be a doctor and help out those who have eye trouble. She has also has a desire to be a nun at the service of people. Though she is now in holidays she has opted to spend her holidays in visiting villages and helping to identify and register malnourished children with a team that is engaged in helping these children. She says she gets energy and peace when she helps the poor and needy. Hanumanthi is an example of a girl who is liberated and wants to liberate others.
Noble Raj is coming from Pannur village and at an early age engaged in grazing cows and doing some work under the landlords. He had never been to school till he met us. He has one brother and two sisters. He was never bothered about the loss of education till he started schooling. One day he came to us and begged that he wanted to study and work and help out his poor family. We gave him an initial grounding in his studies and brought him to school in Manvi. He has been with us past five years and has been diligent in his studies. He has a strong desire to be a Jesuit and to serve humanity especially the poor.He says that his eyes were opened when the Wimbledon group first visited Pannur in 2002 and he used to see Bro. Tim (now Fr Tim) lifting children on his shoulders and swinging the children hanging on his arms. He was thrilled when he himself had the joy of being carried on Tim’s shoulders. He was astonished that Dalit children were made to feel free by the English group. They were considered untouchable by so many, even their own families, yet the boys from Wimbledon were delighted to play with them
Later, when another English visitor Dinah and her family visited his poor and simple house, he felt accepted by them and was strengthened by their love. Now he is in 10th std preparing himself for the public exams. He wants to score well and go for PUC. Noble Raj is very helpful by nature and is a gentleman with discipline and self respect. Even now in holidays he is staying in the school and helping out in different activities. He has made his school as his own second home and is cordinating a group of boys in building and maintenance works. English medium has helped him to grow in all round knowledge.
There are many Hanumanthis and Noble Rajs in our school who will change the structure of our society and liberate Dalit families from the slavery of moneyed people and landlords. If you would like to help support them directly click on this link.