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Inaugurated in 1994 by Mother Teresa, the Sacred Heart Ashram was established as a rehabilitation center and as a permanent residence for those with nowhere else to go. There are no criteria that disqualify an individual from finding refuge with us. Men, women, and children from infants to those approaching ninety years of age make up this unique community of 350 people. Muslims, Hindus, and Christians all live together. It is possible to hear ten different languages here, highlighting the many different regions of India from which the residents hail. Nearly a third of our current members are afflicted with one mental disability or another. They receive basic medical treatment and interact daily with the rest of our community.

Despite the diversity of the residents here, there is one characteristic that they all share-family and friends have failed them at extremely vulnerable moments in their lives. As a result, they encounter loneliness and fear that can rapidly deteriorate into hopelessness. These residents find that we present the only option during these unforgiving times. The elderly often find that their children are unwilling to care for them and therefore face uncertainty and fear. Some of the children here have been orphaned and left to fend for themselves on the street.

We strive to provide support and guidance to the orphanages 130 children so that they will mature into responsible and healthy adults. Throughout their childhood, many will call the Sacred Heart Ashram home. The children are comfortable in the arms of their mothers, the Father, or in the arms of any of the other residents. They will learn to walk here, learn to speak, and learn to care for those around them. They will become teachers at an early age. We take care to provide the best education within our means, with the encouragement to always pursue their dreams.

The Sacred Heart Ashram struggles to provide for the meaningful and long-term, needs of its residents. Although local contributors support our food and other daily necessities, two aspects of our mission are gravely under-funded. First, the lack of a consistent source of income hinders our ability to provide the best possible education for the youth. Our Education Fund will guarantee that the children have access to a better primary school, post-secondary education, and specialized instructors for those with learning disabilities. Our other critical need concerns the state of our buildings and other infrastructure. The Development Fund will provide expansion of current buildings and new construction that is desperately needed. These changes will transform the current overcrowded living conditions into the spaces required for the nurturing of human dignity.

 

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