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Sneha Bhavan – Home for the children and HIV infected woman in Imphal, Manipur


Source: Finding The Voices
Sneha Bhavan is a home for women who are victims of HIV/AIDS, who are drug dependent and alcoholic. It is also a home for children born to such parents and children whom nobody would claim for, after their parents died. This centre for Rehabilitation of Chemically Dependent Women and needy children is indeed a home of love. It is serving and providing the hominess environment to those women and children since two decades back. Sneha Bhavan was established in 1994 by Sister Teresa Karottukunnel with motherly heart, creating an environment of acceptance and optimism. This home is creating a hope to fortify the unconquerable present to those children who must be intentionally discriminated by the society, and to those women who are disowned by their family. The home, at the same time, is running vocational training to impart knowledge and by heart the handicraft works like embroidery, flower making etc. so that it may help empowering the women and make a way to earn their living if necessary as ultimate option.
A Home of Love
The centre was located in a rented building in Lamphel when it was established and then it was shifted to the present building in the premise of Little Flower School in January 1998. This venture work is much appreciated by the Church, the Institute and Society of being lending hand towards socially rejected women and children. Sister Teresa, the Director of the Centre calls it a Home of Love. A new feature was added to the already existing work with the influx of little girl children- daughters of drug addicts and alcoholic parents. This gave rise to the care of the children of those HIV infected parents. The centre extends a hope to douse the fear of spreading the virus, to empower those widows from socially neglected and to nourish those children who are victim of such social evils. During its years long service, some of women gave up their life struggling. But hope is with all, by the grace of God many of the women and children improved and they are quite well in all aspects. People in and around the city came to know about the warm environment and hospitality of the centre day by day. They even turned up there with their children to this centre to celebrate and share few happy moments of life with the inmates. The goodness of the centre is not only about the treatment but also about the caring and homeliness.
The help beyond limitation
Empowering women is one of the ideal notion of the centre for which vocational training are imparted. Once anybody is well trained from the training, she goes back to her family and make able to sustain herself with less dependency to other members of the family. Even pregnant women turned up there for precautionary advices and necessary trainings to support mental and physical endurance to some extent. A 14 years old girl, who has been staying here for last 9 years, feels quite at home in here in Sneha Bhavan. The facilities, even though limited, the caring and the hospitality with love and affection are all worthy to those children away from home. This girl lost her father when she was only 2 years old. Her mother had no choice to run the family without an income, so she left her at this Bhavan. Her father’s family hardly visits her as if there is nothing between them. This is the circumstances of many children, who are compelled to live without financial and emotional supports. They want to go ahead in life, study to become someone acceptable and become a Good Samaritan but how long and how far a missionary home could help them out.
Dreams of disowned children
The dreams and aspirations of the kids are very unique and justifiable that most of them want to become Priest or Nun, and that is all they see now. Number of widows and children seeking for shelter at Sneha Bhavan before or after treatment is increased, but the grief is inability to accommodate all the needy due to the limited funding and limited resources they got and limited infrastructure, they have, shared Sister Teresa. As of now there are 10 women and more than 30 kids taking shelter in Sneha Bhavan. Although the home is run by Christian Missionaries, there is no restriction to anybody and is open to anyone irrespective of religion. It is the humanity which ties everyone here and there is no religion conversion to be a part of Sneha Bhavan. Occasionally business people communities in Imphal donate rice, sweets, biscuits and other items for the inmates. It is like serving God by serving the poor and vulnerable one. The home is looking after everything starting from clothes to education within the available resources and so they provide accommodation to only 45/46 children at maximum. Practically, every Sunday one or another family come to Sneha Bhavan to offer food, clothes or other things the children need.
Anthony, a kid of 11 years old hailing from Churachanpur, who lost his mother few years back, reveals his sadness on remarriage of his father with another woman. But he let go the misery with time and with happy moments in Sneha Bhavan. Veronica, another kid of the same age, from Senapati wishes to become Nun. She always wanted to open up a boarding to provide shelter to those children who need a home to live a good life, when she grows up. Her parents are farmer and they are poor. They live a miserable life farming maize, potato and beans toiling day and night and living on hand to mouth. There is no school at her village and so no hope could be furnished by her ailing mother. Marcelina, who is 14 years now, was born here at Sneha Bhavan and it seems like she is going to leave her own home after completion her Xth Class next year. Sneha Bhavan have to bid adieu to the kids after their Matric exam. Marcelina too lost her father, who was a drug addict and alcoholic, but mother keeps on visiting her bringing a light to her daughter’s hope that one day she will become IAS Officer.
Let’s help and let them live too
Sneha Bhavan provides training of flower making too. Those flowers from tender fingers are bought by visitors but never find a place in the market. During festive eve and Christmas, lots of people come and buy them. The home appreciates the kind gesture and non-repayable help from public. Sister Teresa feels proud of those who come to feed the poor and hungry one instead of feeding the rich extravagantly. The home is mainly funded from abroad and Little Flower School which engraves the tragic stories which will definitely leave one to ponder on what and how we can help.
Original Video cast is available at FindingTheVoices.com

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