Karimoor Boys Home – Part 3

By Sean Sprague

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The day starts with the wake-up bell at 5:00 am. By 5:15 the boys are on the roof learning karate from Father Jose, himself a black belt. He explains that it gives them discipline, concentration and self respect, but that they are taught not to misuse it. After a cool bath they have a half hour of morning prayer and meditation. From 6:45 to 7:45 they have morning study, followed by a vegetarian breakfast. After that comes special tuition for all boys depending on their needs. By 9:15 they set-off to the government schools for the day, each carrying a tiffin lunch in a metal container. Returning to Karimoor by 4:30, they eat a meal then different groups set about their evening chores, as well as finding time for sports and play. At 6:00 they take a bath, then private study for 2 hours, supper at 8:30, a little recreation till 9:45 prayer then sleep at 10:00.

'If you study well you will be a good man' explains 14-year-old Pratheesh. so he doesn't mind that schooling continues at weekends, when 8 teachers come from the community to help. These include a religious sister and brother, a graduate bus conductor and three other graduates. Three of these teachers are Hindus.  On Sundays …
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Karimoor Boys Home – Part 2

4218 - Slums Woman washing her child in a slum of Madras, India.

4218 - Slums Woman washing her child in a slum of Madras, India.

By Sean Sprague

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Visualize the squalor of an Indian slum: hot fetid hovels, no latrines, open sewers, shortage of safe drinking water, crime, a pervasive feeling of helplessness, often no schools...and you can imagine how hard the life must be  for even the most stable families. Then consider the broken families with father dead or absent or alcoholic, and mother of five trying to survive on a sweeper's wage of $8 a month. Malnutrition is so common that many children grow-up stunted, both mentally and physically. Such  'Get me outta here!' situations can be a living hell for many children.  These are the places where father Jose finds his boys, 40% being orphans and a further 60% being from difficult families. Despite such  dire backgrounds, most of them shine with the nurturing he provides.

5242 - Boy playing with a tire, Orissa, India.


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Karimoor Boys Home – Part 1

by Sean Sprague

5255 - Boys meditating at a Catholic orphanage, Karimmor Boys’ home, Kerala, India.

5255 - Boys meditating at a Catholic orphanage, Karimmor Boys’ home, Kerala, India.

'I try to give meaning to poor people so they can give meaning to their fellows, as the Lord gives meaning to life', explains 34-year-old Father Jose Kizhakkedath. The Indian Syro-Malankaran Catholic priest puts these words into practice at  a boys home which he started outside of Trivandrum, Kerala, about three years ago with the help of CNEWA. So far, 31 boys aged 10 to 14 live there, having been selected by Father Jose from the poorest of backgrounds. They come from the  new 'missions' where he works as parish priest, administering to the newly converted low caste Hindus. For them, embracing Christianity has provided dignity and a release from the drudgery of being forever 'untouchable' in a society where the caste system, though officially illegal, persists in keeping them down.

The infrastructure of the Syro-Malankaran Catholic Church provides opportunities for people to better themselves,  particularly through schooling. 'Education is the…
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