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Church-run shelter a ray of hope for women on India-Pakistan border

Daughters of the Eucharistic Covenant look after 'ill-fated and most unwanted' women

Umar Manzoor Shah, Akhnoor

Umar Manzoor Shah, Akhnoor

Published: December 17, 2019 04:38 AM GMT

Updated: December 17, 2019 04:43 AM GMT

Church-run shelter a ray of hope for women on India-Pakistan border

Sister Jonnamma (far left) with 32 inmates of ‘Paramprasad Ahram' a shelter for destitute women in Akhnoor, in the border state of Kashmir. (Photo: Umar Manzoor Shah)

It is early morning and the constant chirping of birds helps us for a time to forget the pain and torment of some of the inhabitants of Akhnoor, a border town in northern India.

In this town bordering Pakistan, is a single story structure where Sister Jonnamma gets ready to prepare breakfast for 34 “ill-fated and most unwanted” women.  

Sprinkling water carefully into a large steel plate of wheat flour, the 52-year-old is making chappatis (traditional Indian bread) that she will serve with tea to the women she has been hosting in her shelter for the elderly since 2017.

Sister Jonnamma, member of a pious organization called Daughters of the Eucharistic Covenant, has for sometime now been working in this shelter called ‘Paramprasad Ashram’  (home of the Eucharist), run by Friends of the Birds of the Air or FBA.

Her organization began as part of the FBA founded in 1982 by Blessed Sacrament Father George Kuttckal. Before coming to Kashmir, Sister Jonnamma, a native of the southern Indian Kerala state, served in homes for the elderly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states of northern India.

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