A History in the making...
Saranalayam is a non-profit organization dedicated to the cause of children. Run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Palayamkottai, under the leadership of The Most Rev. Jude Paulraj D.D., M.A. this home offers hope to the children living in hopeless conditions.
Saranalayam is a sister-unit of T.S.S.S (Tirunelveli Social Service Society) Reg. No. 50/72., one of the leading social service organizations in the district with esteemed recognition. Begun in 1973, with many focal actions for the development of the poor, Eradication of Child Labor was one of them. Since 1985, the study and knowledge gained through this service, dawned on us that abandoned children need immediate and structured intervention. As a result Saranalayam was born; blessed by the Most Rev. Iruthayaraj D.D., DCL, inaugurated by Smt. Jennifer Chandran, Minister of Child Welfare Ministry in the presence of Rev. Fr. G.K. Kulandairaj, South-Indian Representative for Andheri-Hilfe, and Rev. Fr. Antony A. Cruz, the Executive Director of T.S.S.S. on September 7, 1996.
When the need for a special wing to reach out to children on streets was wanting, Saranalayam with its motto “For Seeds fell on Streets” was establ
ished. We are proud to say that we are the pioneers in the District of Tirunelveli to attend to Children on streets.
It was a common phenomenon that children who left their homes for good due to neglect, abuse, victims of trafficking, drug abuse, domestic violence, bullying found themselves eventually on streets begging, earning money on menial jobs, lonely and depressed. They seem to like being on their own, with the unbridled freedom, but not for long until they are put into low wage menial jobs with unhealthy living conditions, on a fast track move towards becoming a social deviant.
No one ever cared for them. People at the most just felt pity on them and acted no other way! But this kind of social evil needs to be eradicated with a structured service with personnel equipped and enlightened. On the other hand, people should be made aware of on not only child abuse and neglect but they must also be empowered on how effectively they can intervene.
Saranalayam is now a trend-setter on effective intervention to reconstruct lives of neglected children on streets. The staffs of Saranalayam have a unique identity card, issued by the Department of Social Welfare, enabling them to intervene in a child’s life if it is found to be at risk or vulnerable situation. The staff periodically goes out to Railway stations, Bus stops, busy commercial complexes, looking for unattended children. Or the staff act on phone calls received about children involved in illegal and illegitimate menial jobs at restaurants, hotels, lodges or on streets rag picking or begging.
Under the auspices of the Saranalayam, the Child Line 1098, District Reception Unit for abandoned Children, Vidiyal Counseling Center for Unwed Mothers & Abandoned Infants, Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Adoption Monitoring Agency, Home schooling, Residential homes for school going children, Gypsy Children Development (GCD), Girls Residence under special care of religious nuns function. Saranalayam works closely with the District Social Welfare Department, National Child line agency and Center for Adoption Resources Authority. Our special projects have been Reception Unit, Open Shelter Program, CWC and Social Welfare Board activities. The Vidiyal Home for the abandoned infants was built and blessed by the Most Rev. Jude Paulraj, D.D., M.A., inaugurated by Mr. Sunil Paliwal IAS, then Tirunelveli District Collector in 2002 at Alankulam to house these fragile babies under the leadership of Rev. Fr. S.J. Lawrence, executive secretary of T.S.S.S. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny have been assisting in this ministry with a motherly heart to care and raise them with arduousness amidst countless difficulties, both at Saranalayam and Vidiyal.
Children who enter Saranalayam are given the best care and attention and are rekindled to live their true child life. Good food, comfortable sleeping rooms, spacious recreational halls, prayer hall, home-schooling opportunities, regular schooling – all these truly help them advance in life. Those children who can be re-united with their families are sent back to their homes after careful investigation and proper counseling with necessary legal procedures.
Saranalayam largely depends on generous contributions from donors including foreign agencies. In order to self-sustain, a whole unit of staff is employed in notebook making to supply notebooks to more than 75 schools in the District.
Since its inception Saranalayam has intervened in 5600 children, rescued and cared 263 infants aged between 2 days to 5 years, given about 200 babies to suitable parents through in-country adoption. Also Saranalayam has been involving in Child Rights lobbying, advocacy, awareness programs, and participation in District Social Welfare forums.
Fr.A. Antony Cruz
(02-08-1993 To 31-May-2003)
Fr.G. Kulandai Raj
(01-Jun-2003 To 31-May-2005)
Fr.S. Joseph Johnson
(01-Jun-2005 To 31-May-2011)
|1||Jan 1993||Started survey on street children through street contact|
|2||3 Sep 1993||Saranalayam was established on a rented house|
|3||10 Jan 1995||Started survey on condition of girls through street contact|
|4||1 Mar 1995||Preventive centers were strted in six slum areas|
|5||7 Sep 1996||Saranalayam own building was blessed and inaugurated|
|6||7 Sep 1996||Inaugurated shelter homes for girls & women|
|7||7 Sep 1996||Tailoring unit wan begun|
|8||1 Sep 1997||Street children project was started|
|9||1 Sep 1997||Rehabilitation service & Notebook production started|
|10||1 Jun 1999||Screen printing unit opened|
|11||25 Mar 2002||In-country adoption unit established|
|12||2 Aug 2002||CHILDLINE 1098 established at Saranalayam|
|13||2 Dec 2002||Saranalayam conferred status of Collaborative Organization by CHILDLINE|
|14||21 Mar 2003||Vidiyal counseling center for unwed mothers & abandondoned infants was started at Alankulam|