statesman news service
KURSEONG, 27 JUNE: A group of very poor children and that too orphans staying in a charity home since years will have to suffer more as they are being uprooted from their present shelter home.
Dedicated to the service of the helpless and the orphan children, Margaret&’s Home (see sns photo) was established in 1899 in Kurseong under the guidance of a missionary group known as the Daughters of the Cross at St. Helens Convent, Kurseong but it is now reportedly going to be shut down. And now, the development has brought tears and sorrow among the children who have been staying in the home for several years.
It was learnt that some of the children will be handed over to their parents while some of them will be shifted to start their lives again in other homes.
Following reports of the development, a team of reporters visited the home and interacted with the children. When the reporters started talking with the children (see sns photo), it was a cauldron of emotions about to burst out, as just as one of them started speaking and crying at the same time, all of them followed suit. It was an emotional scene at the home and one couldn’t sympathise with the children enough.
Talking to reporters, the children said that so far, they have not been informed by the authorities regarding the evacuation and the closing of their home.
"But, recently we came to know that the home was going to be closed after all and all of us will be taken to other places," said one among them.
The children further informed that three among them have already been sent to Kolkata and Siliguri from this institution. Another child said: "We are really disappointed as the move taken by the Home authority has brought only fear and unhappiness among us. We don’t want to go or shift to other places."
A member of the home said: "The authority wants to send some of us back to our parents’ house. How can we go there when everyone knows that ours is either a broken home or a place from where we have been uncared for long ago. Our parents are not in a condition to raise us and hence we had been put up in such homes when we were very young. All of us have sponsors who bear the expenses which they give to the sisters looking after us."
When asked, the Superior of St. Helen&’s Convent, Kurseong, Sr. Saly Joseph F.C, said: "We are not removing or throwing them out. We are only placing them in another secure and safe place for the time being. We will take care of all of them.” She also added that they need a reconstruction of the whole building. “After its reconstruction, we will again open a home for the poor and homeless children,” she said.
She also clarified that even if this building belongs to St. Helens Convent it is not going to be part of the St. Helens hostel as rumoured but will be in service of the poor and the orphaned.
She said: "Those having parents who are able to take their children back will have to do so, otherwise we have already arranged hostels for them from where they can continue with their school and studies. She also informed that they have found a hostel at St. Mary&’s Hill, where many children are already living.
She said that the hostel is being run by a different society.
Sr. Saly also informed that out of a total of 42 members of the Home, six are elderly persons aged between 60 to 80 years who will be kept on the premises of St. Helens itself. Presently, members staying at the home range from five years old to 80 years old.
It was learnt that this home has already raised and educated thousands of children. Among them, several have achieved good positions in their lives as government administrators and officers.
The home caters to the needs of only poor and orphaned girls. The children are guided by the sisters at the home till their higher education. They are also given as much help as required to settle in life or until they get satisfactory employment.