Residents of Snehaneer (Home of Compassion), a church-run center serving people with disabilities since 1992, walk in front of the facility in northern Rajshahi city in this July 7, 2017 photo. The center celebrated 25 years of service on Feb. 3. (Photo by Stephan Uttom)
A church-run center offering vital services to poor disabled children in northern Bangladesh marked its silver jubilee on Feb. 3 with a call for local help amid a funding crunch.
Senhaneer (Home of Compassion), a shelter for handicapped children in Rajshahi city, has been in operation since 1992.
It started helping two disabled children and now has 42 residents taken care of by nuns from Catechist Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Angels (CIC) congregation.
"Snehaneer helped rebuild my life although after I was paralyzed," Martin Tudu, 35, an indigenous Santal Catholic told ucanews.com.
Tudu injured his spine while playing football when he was 12. He spent years at the center, gaining an education and computer training. Today, he works as an accountant.
The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) congregation helps support the center and secures overseas funding.
Besides board and food, the center offers children with disabilities basic education and vocational skills training.
"For 25 years, we have tried our best to support disabled children without expecting anything in return. We want to continue this service but don't want to raise the number of beneficiaries in order to maintain quality," CIC nun Sister Dipika Magdaline Palma, the director told ucanews.com.
The nun said the center wants to create a "permanent fund" so it doesn't need to rely on foreign funding which has been diminishing.
Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi who attended the celebrations promised support to the nuns.
"Fund raising is a big challenge, yet we cannot leave disabled people behind. As long as PIME priests are here, the diocese will continue to raise overseas funds with their help and we will create a stable fund so we can carry on into the future," Bishop Rozario said.