Dharmapuri being a very backward district of India, the Salesian Sisters of Chennai Province, extended their service in the year 2005 for the promotion and empowerment of underprivileged girl children of Dharmapuri. A special attention was paid to the enhancement of Dalit girls. Because the high rate of female infanticide and feticide, the female literacy rate was very low in the District of Dharmapuri. The Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco, Dharmapuri ventured into the field of social work and established Marialaya for the deprived girl children of the district. The sisters made every effort to reduce the child labours, child marriage and drop outs problems through
- Evening Tuition centers
- sponsorship programme
- Shelter Home – Free education & Shelter
- Low Cost Hostel
- Short Stay Home
- Service to the Sri Lankan Refugees
Evening coaching Class:
We are running 14 Evening coaching Classes for the girls of rural and Dalit areas. At present 475 girls are attending the class.
Home of Hope :
The Shelter Home, too laid a foundation for the poor girls to reduce the drop outs rate and continue their education. We were able to educate a few girls who were given free shelter, clothing and study materials. Marialaya helps the Poor and most vulnerable girls to continue their studies. We have girls from the age of 8 to 17. Girls stay here, and go to study in the school and college. We help the girls to finish their schooling every girl to have a secured future.
Hostel for Rural Girls:
The sisters made another concrete attempt to facilitate the rural young girls of the district to go for higher education of University courses and opened up a low cost hostel for the college students. For a year the girls were accommodated in a rented house and another year in the Convent with the sisters. More than hundred girls continue their higher education and in 2008 a hostel was built to accommodate many more rural girls to be benefited to continue their higher studies.
Short stay home :
Through Short Stay Home too, we made enough effort to reduce the child marriage issues. We are the only one, service providing agency for the whole of Dharmapuri District. We work with social welfare board, social defense and the police station. They regularly send the girls rescued from child marriage, child laborers and girls who suffer domestic violence. We accept these girls and counsel them and help them to find their future.
In the year 2006, the sisters made a solid effort to hunt for sponsorship support for the education of 100 girls in and around Dharmapuri and under the leadership of Sr.Mudiappaswamy Nirmala, it was achieved within two years. Marialaya has adopted 105 girls and sponsor their studies. Home is the best place for formation. These girls stay with the parents and continue their studies. Their parents are daily wagers and Sri lankan refugees.
Service to the Sri Lankan Refugees:
We rendered our service to the 10 Sri lankan Refugee camps. Marialaya takes care of the women and children. We conducted courses on sewing and artificial jewel making to the women and through which they have become economically viable. Children are admitted in various boarding schools.
Marialaya has been selected by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu as Service Provider. We provide short stay for the vulnerable women. During their stay with us we counsel them and try to rehabilitate by settling them back with the families or finding a job for them. We assist them in their legal struggles.
Dharmapuri is known for its feticide and infanticide. The sex ratio between 0 to 9 is only 911/1000. Marialaya works hard to make Dharmapuri district free from this evil. Every year we conduct awareness programme in villages , educating people in the importance of female children for the society.
AUXILIUM SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
The people Dharmapuri knowing the Salesian Sissters’ vast experience in the field of Education, constantly and continuously urged us to open a quality school only for the girls. Since there was only one school with the strength 4000 girls studying in it where the personal attention and quality education was lacking and not possible opportunity to get holistic formation, the people wanted us at any cost to start a school of quality as well as value based education.
Due to the lack of enough resources and fund, for nearly eight years, the Sisters were denying their request. But looking at sad plight of the girls discontinuing their studies, becoming victims of child marriage and child labour problems and also the poor educative ambient for girls, we decided to tackle the issues and also responded to the constant request of the people. To educate the rural girls, to save the girls from being affected by child marriages and child labour problems, we decided to open a school for the Girls in Sogathur Village, just 6 kilometers away from Dharmapuri.
Permission from the local Church authority to open the School:
In 2005, the Salesian Sisters were given legal permission by Rt.Rev.Joseph Antony SDB, the Bishop of Dharmapuri to work in his Diocese for the promotion of the girl children through social work. On 20.01.2014 Sr.Nirmala Mudiappaswamy met the local Bishop Rt.Rev.Lawrence Pius D.D and requested him to grant permission to open the school for Girls in Dharmapuri. The Bishop gave his permission and blessings to start a school for the girls in Dharmapuri. Rev.Sr.Soosai Magnificat, the Provincial sent a formal requisition letter to the Bishop and received the written permission from the Bishop to start the school.
Blessing and inauguration of Auxilium Matric.School Dharmapuri:
A new tiny seed of Auxilium Matriculation School was sown in the land of Dharmapuri on 06 June 2015. This great historical event was interconnected with the celebration of the 10th year of Dharmapuri Marialaya. The blessing and inauguration of the school was commenced with a prayer dance by the little new Auxillians. Sr.Nirmala Mudiappaswamy, the Animator of the Community welcomed the special guests;Rt.Rev.Lawrence Pius D.D, the Bishop of Dharmapuri, Sr.Soosai Magnificat, the Provincial, Mr.Kulandai Francis, the Magsaysay Awardee, Sr. Salazar Leonor, Sr.Caputo Maria Grazia, Mr.Stefano, Italy, Fr. Maria Susai, the Rector and Principal of Don Bosco College, Mr.Loganathan IPS, SP of Dharmapuri District Mr.Senthil Raja, Director of Human Rights Forum, Mr.Saravanan, Human Rights Commission, Mrs.Chrisa Mary, AIWDF, Sisters, priests, friends, well wishers, the students and their parents. After a warm welcome, the gathering was guided to enter into blessing ceremony by the lighting of Kuthuvilakku by Rt.Rev.Lawrence Pius D.D, the Bishop of Dharmapuri. The Bishop blessed the school building along with Fr.Mario from Italy and the Provincial along with Sr:Maria Grazia Caputo opened the portals of Auxilium to the girl children of Dharmapuri.
After the blessing and opening of the Auxilium School, Sr.Lourdu Sagayam presented the 10 years Report of Marialaya.The guests appriciated the community’s great human and educational service redndered to the abandoned and affected children and women of the Dharmapuri district. After a short felicitation by the special invitees, the Auxilium Children presented a beautiful programme on the education and human service of AUXILIUM in and around the World. With the vote of thanks by Sr. Francis Jeyamani and the little auxiians’ School anthem, this great event came to an end. Great are the deeds of God! May His presence continue to bless the children and staff of the new School.