Society Matters | Volume 32 No. 3 | Spring 2022

Volume 32 No. 3 | Spring 2022 6 Society Matters Remedial school and social centre bring education, training & support to Indian tribal community The Divine Word Missionaries in Telangana State, India, are reaching out to the less privileged people in their local area through a range of programs, including a social work centre and a remedial school and hostel which aim to be a hub for promoting education and development among the poor tribal population. The Janssen Social Centre, named after St Arnold Janssen who founded the Society of the Divine Word, is located in Edulla Bayyaram Pinapaka, about 370km from Hyderabad. The SVD took up the mission there in 2001 at the invitation of the local bishop and were the first Catholic missionaries to arrive in the village. The opening of the Janssen Social Centre was the first step in assisting the local people to meet their health, employment, skills training and educational needs, while also providing assistance for the destitute and fresh water for the village. “The objective of the centre is to reach out to various sections of the people, especially the less privileged, through useful and people-friendly activities,” Fr Madavaram J. Suresh said. “During the course of the last few years, we have been organising the following programs at this centre with the help and active participation of the Daughters of Mercy who came here in 2001 at the invitation of the bishop.” Among the services offered at the Janssen Social Centre are a dispensary for necessary medications and a tailoring and embroidery course for poor, unemployed girls and young women. There is also a Tuberculosis eradication camp, pre-school nurseries, health animation in the villages, a housing project for the poor, formation of women’s saving groups, and a program for feeding the elderly and the destitute. “A health camp for the tribals is organised every month in our campus with the help and support of the Janssen Social Centre and the diocesan team,” Fr Suresh said. “Each month, the members of the local Women’s Self Help Groups also gather on our campus to discuss their activities.” Fr Suresh said the Janssen Social Centre also has an outreach component to the people in need in the surrounding forest areas. “We visit the people in the different hamlets in the forest settlements and provide old clothes to them,” he said. “The people are very poor, mostly labourers, and, with the help of government subsidy and financial help from the Diocese and the SVD, we also assist with the construction of toilets and houses in the villages. “Twenty destitute elderly women are given 10kgs of rice, free of cost for their sustenance and we also help people by digging borewells in the villages where there is water scarcity.” The SVD is also investing in the future with more than 20 students from the parish being helped financially by the JSC for their school and college education. “During the COVID-19 pandemic we opened the tuition