Manrosa- Home of love sets and example
Your Editorial of Saturday November 4 was very timely, relevant and revealing. People crave for exciting news and the media are quick to respond with juicy news about war, violence, murder, rape, sex, corruption, financial scams etc so much so that, as you rightly point out, our society has become depressed and frustrated and peoples’ lives have been shrouded with despair and depression.
It is only occasionally that we read or hear some positive story and of course there are far more positive and heart-rending stories than our media are willing to publish. We should be hearing more and more episodes like that of the Cambodian student Samit Lakhani who started the Eco-Soap Bank or that of Mona Patel, the young Californian teenager who formed the San Antonio Amputee Foundation.
While we have many positive social projects here in Sri Lanka we hardly hear of such things in our daily newspapers or television broadcasts. Today I would like to highlight the work of one social project which is an Elders Home in the remote village of Dunimalakotuwa in the Chilaw district. It is being run under the name Manrosa Home of Love by a private family.
Manrosa Home commenced 18 years ago with just about four inmates. The first was a Tamil Hindu lady from Kurunegala. The second was a Buddhist lady from the village and the others were Christians in the neighbourhood all above 65 years old. Since then many more have joined and of them 9 inmates have already passed away. Well over 60 inmates have passed through the Home since its inception
Manrosa Home commenced 18 years ago with just about four inmates. The first was a Tamil Hindu lady from Kurunegala. The second was a Buddhist lady from the village and the others were Christians in the neighbourhood all above 65 years old. Since then many more have joined and of them 9 inmates have already passed away. Well over 60 inmates have passed through the Home since its inception. At the time it ran as a completely free Home for destitute elders funded by the founder family. As time passed the Home developed into a larger unit housing 20 inmates and the family found it hard to finance the project further on their own financial strength. They sought outside assistance which finally did come from a few friends and from some relatives of the elderly inmates while 50% of the inmates still enjoyed free home care as before.
Like any other Elders Home, Manrosa too had its ups and downs over the years. Today it has stabilized under the able management and guidance of its Resident Administrator whom we shall call Rita. Rita joined the Home six years back when it was struggling to keep itself above water. Through her diligent and appropriate management techniques she managed to raise the Home to the highest standards possible. She has worked in foreign countries as a domestic nurse for many years and qualified as an ayurvedic physiotherapist and counselor back at home. Such experience is used to give all her inmates in-house treatment for all their ailments including body pain, backache etc and extends also to dietary control of diabetic patients and many more. Often in the evening before bedtime you will see many old ladies queuing up for their share of physiotherapy.
Caring for elders is not the only item on Rita’s programme. She also has the younger generation close to her heart. This prompts me to relate a most wonderful relationship she has developed with the village schoolchildren. The village school has no teacher to train the children in Mathematics. This went on for more than two years and children were unable to qualify in O-level maths. Rita was able to solve the problem. With permission from the school Principal, she collected all O-level children and also children from pre-O-level class, all 40 of them, to be coached in Maths at Manrosa Home with the help of a retired Maths Teacher who
volunteered to help free of charge. Last year 18 out of 20 children got through their Maths O - level exam. It was an overwhelming surprise to everyone in school and outside. Rita now has established a permanent classroom in the Home where she not only has arranged for free tuition but also looks into the needs of the more needy children such as their food and other sundry requirements.
Rita is a tireless woman. She organizes the cooking, cleans the home, cleans the toilets and maintains a beautiful and large garden She does the marketing and keeps daily accounts by herself
That’s not all. She has added a mini-orphanage also in the Home. Of course this is a temporary arrangement due to rules and regulations where children are concerned. With the consent and supervision of the Probation officers and the local Police she has taken upon herself the responsibility to care for certain young children who have been entrusted to the care of the Probation Department. This is very commendable and we hope that the authorities will lend their cooperation in this most responsible task.
Rita is a tireless woman. She organizes the cooking, cleans the home, cleans the toilets and maintains a beautiful and large garden. She does the marketing and keeps daily accounts by herself. In order to keep the expenses low, she has even started to keep poultry and presently counts over 100 birds. “At least I don’t have to buy eggs anymore,” she says.
That is a positive story about Manrosa Home. I do hope that Providence will support Rita to continue her good work for many years to come.