Mangalore (Fides Service ) – Christians’ involvement in providing social assistance in India is visible for all to see and structures opened by Mother Teresa of Calcutta are only some of the examples, as the Indian government realises. Recently in fact a government award was assigned to the Catholic Rehabilitation Centre in Pananmbur, near Mangalore (Karnataka state). The prize was presented to Edward Lobo the director of Manasa Centre on behalf of the Ministry for Human Resources and Development for its praiseworthy service to children with physical and mental disabilities.
Manasa Centre is run Sabha a Catholic Association recognised by Mangalore diocese and operative in the diocese’s 150 parishes to improve social, economic conditions of the Catholic community.
Manasa was opened in 1991 as a special school for children with mental disabilities and later became a home and rehabilitation centre for these unfortunate children. Karnataka state government donated a piece of land on which to build an extension for the centre and in 1997 the Centre was offering assistance to 47 children. Today it has 155 little inmates from all over the state.
The boys are taught manual jobs and the girls learn to paint greetings cards. All take part in sports activities and in National Games for Disabled Children held in 2002 Manasa Centre competitors came home with 14 medals, 5 gold and 9 silver.
Six of the children have recuperated fully and today attend ordinary schools. In the past the Center has received recognition and awards from Karnataka state authorities but this is the first award at national level. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 30/10/2003 lines 30 words 284)