Greetings from Fr. Kip Stander, S.M.
Greetings from Fr. Kip Stander, SM
February 19, 2012
Hi to all you Rattlers from Bengaluru (Bangalore) India! I hope that the semester is going well for all of you and that the Lenten season is a blessing for you, your families and all the members of the St. Mary’s community.
I was asked to write a little about REDS (Ragpickers Education and Development Scheme) here in Bengaluru. The Marianists sponsor this urban program both in Bengaluru, Karnataka (southern India) and in Ranchi, Jharkhand (northern India). We also have the Chaminade Rural Development Programme in Binda, also in Jharkhand – maybe later I can tell you about these too!
In Begaluru and the surrounding area we have 27 REDS Centers serve 1,549 women and children. In the slums we have 3 Daycare Centers, 17 Play Schools (children 3-6 years of age), 5 tailoring instruction units, a computer training center, and 5 centers where we tutor slum children after school (several of the tutoring centers are the same center as Play Schools in the morning hours). I have visited many of the Play Schools where the children are taught some reading and writing skills, receive a meal, learn about personal hygiene and, of course, have fun. It is a joy to hear a group of 20-40 little ones recite a poem or rhyme and sing a song with smiles on their faces and pride in their eyes. This lays the groundwork for them to continue in formal education.
Another aspect of REDS is to recruit young men from the streets (6-14 years of age) to be given skills training in plumbing, welding, electrical work and tailoring. This is done at a residential center located on the same property as our formation programmes for the Brothers in town. Currently we have 80 boys in REDS Deepahalli as it is known.
Since women have a pivotal role in Indian families, we offer skill training in tailoring (-there is a thriving garment industry in this area that needs skilled workers) and basic computer skills. The computer programme is supported by the Bosch Company, as is the plumbing unit at Deepahalli.
We are doing good work, but there is so much more that can be done. We are only scratching the surface.
Thank you for considering supporting the REDS programme here in India. Know of our gratitude and prayers for your efforts!
Peace and prayers,