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Despite opposition, Catholic Trust serves neglected indigenous children

A Catholic priest is at the forefront to reach out the people shunned away into the hilly regions of Kottar, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Father Cruz Carmel, the volunteers of Roshan Family Trust along children. (Photo: Supplied)

A Catholic priest is at the forefront to reach out the people shunned away into the hilly regions of Kottar, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Kottar diocesan priest, Father Cruz Carmel, is the founder of the Roshan Family (Trust) serving Kaani tribal community suppressed by society and estate owners.

Father Carmel says, "Creating a model society through education is the sole purpose of the Roshan family (trust)."

In September 2019, Hindutva right-wing groups threatened the priest and tried to block the Roshan Family Trust's service to educate the children of these refugee families living almost the mountains.

Even the estate owners created problems for families sending their ward to school. The estate owners assume that the entire family and their children should work for them.

Father Carmel confesses it was with God's help and support of the people he could overcome this hurdle.

The Roshan Family organizes various socio-economic activities such as the remote adoption program for Hills tribal children and Sri Lankan refugees and the education needs of students.

The priest works to develop tribal children for academics by providing uniforms, food, conducting medical camps, and conducting evening educational programs.

Father Cruz provides skill development training, motivational training, awareness training to develop their personalities, as well as extracurricular activities like music, computer training, and English language courses.

Roshan family promotes holistic development among children.

The priest is on a mission, supported by volunteers and financial contributions from local donors.

Currently, Roshan Family Trust caters to 15 children from Tachamalai Villager, 12 children from Koovai Kadumalai, and 60 children from Perumalpuram, known as Sri Lankan refugee camps -1, 20 children from refugee camps -2, 25 children from refugee camps -3, and 20 without parents.

The Catholic charity provided groceries to 400 families twice each in Tachamalai and Perumalpuram Sri Lankan refugee camps during the pandemic.

The value of 12,500 Indian Rupees (USD 167.19) worth of groceries were distributed to 46 families in Koovaikadumalai village on July 15, 2021. And again, groceries were distributed to 40 families from Sri Lankan refugee camps at the cost of 23,500 Indian Rupees (USD 314.46) on June 18, 2021.

As a precautionary measure ahead of the third wave of COVID-19, during the period June 28 June to July 5, 2021, 172 students were fed protein-rich nutritious cereals like chickpeas, groundnuts, lentils and peas.

The charity seeks to focus on the education of Hill tribal children and refugees to reverse the shortcoming of families who cannot afford education and discourage them from sending their children to schools.

Francis Xavier, a volunteer, says Father Cruz strives for social change by inspiring people.

Sister Lincy, a nun from the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, observes that if the Lord matures and creates someone through various experiences from early on, s/he then expresses it through service to the community.

"Education is one of the necessities of life for people, and the Rosen family has made significant contributions to improving education for the Hill tribals," noted the nun.

Father Cruz Carmel was born on February 12, 1987, in Rajavoor. He was ordained for the diocese of Kottar on May 3, 2015. He also worked as an editor in Nam Vazhvu magazine.

 

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