The literal meaning of the word ‘PRATHIBHODAYAM’ in the local Indian language Malayalam is ‘Rise of the Talents’. It is a project of the Diocese of Quilon envisaged to give higher chances to the talented poor children to come up in vivid colors in their future by attaining high quality education and thus promoting their families to a better living.
India: Economic Boom and the resulting Backwardness of the Poor
India has surprised the world by suddenly jumping into the front ranks of emerging economies. But beneath the boom is a rising inequality that sentences some to lives of poverty and malnourishment. The New York Times reports that nearly thirty percent of Indians still live below the official poverty line. Close to half of all Indian children under the age of three are malnourished. Despite a slew of "pro-poor" policies, India's economic boom has largely bypassed India's tribes and traditional sectors.
The Diocese of Quilon and Pastoral Planning
The Diocese of Quilon is the first diocese in India and the cradle of Indian Christianity. The vibrant catholic community of Quilon (Kollam) cherishes its unique history of being founded by St. Thomas the Apostle of Jesus, nurtured by the great apostles St. Bartolommeo and St. Francis Xavier and fostered by the saintly martyrs like Archbishop Jordanus Catalani de Severac and Giovanni Marignoli.
The present catholic population of the diocese is vivacious but remains economically insecure and backward. The Diocesan pastoral activities contribute to the empowering and uplifting of the faithful through various projects.
Through the ‘Pastoral Planning’ and ‘Live-in Together’ Programs the diocese has identified urgent projects and PRATHIBHODAYAM is one among those.
The project is aimed at the poor fisher folk families. They comprise 80% of the total catholic diocesan population. The coastal community remains educationally and socially backward. Here we don’t overlook the fact that the children from these families are very talented, as evident from the surveys made. It is only their poverty and the absence of facilities and guidance that hinder their talents to groom. If we give them facilities and openings together with financial support they will surely come out with flying colors and become the backbone of their families.
the reasons for envisaging this project
1. Poverty: economic backwardness and poverty are the two important factors contribute to the insecurity and misery to the life of child in the coastal belt. Instability and seasonality in income of fishermen intensify the clutches of poverty. Due to this economic backwardness the children are forced to give up their studies at adolescent ages and enrolled themselves in to manual labours.
2. Lack of proper guidance and support system: the parents due to their ignorance and economic instability are not competent to guide their children for proper education. The available support system is costly which they cannot access due to their poverty. The diocese takes pain to create a guidance and support system through the project PRATHIBHODAYAM.
3. Conservative behaviour of the community: the conservative nature of the community itself attributes to child rights violations. The marriageable age in this community is very low. So the parents did not encourage the children in their studies. The number of female children entering into professional and new generation jobs is lesser in number. The male candidates are also eager to achieve an income at early ages and follow the traditional way of life.
4. Low quality of education: Due to poverty the parents are not able to enrol their children in high graded schools. For this reason the diocese supports their children to access quality education through this project.
the Objectives and procedure
The children are selected from the families of fisher men of poor economic and social background. The candidate should have an excellent academic history. Priority is given to the child of widow/widower or children who are living in the protection of grand parents or relatives and to those children whose parent is chronically ill or suffering from psychiatric disorder.
The project provides a positive atmosphere to brilliant students to achieve heights in their studies. The children are put into best schools. We help the child to shape his personality and academics within the family atmosphere.
Hundreds of children have benefitted from this project in the past ten years. A huge amount of money is spent for these children every year. And the number of children is increasing every year too. We are proud that many children under this project had best results even in the state level. We thank the generous people supporting this project and pray for their well-being.
The economic constraints of the diocese are much and we depend on the generous contributions of the people who really understand the need of this project and ready to help us. If you wish to support this project please contact
Most Rev. Dr. Stanley Roman
Bishop of Quilon
Bishop’s House, Tangassery P.O.
Kollam 691007. Kerala, India