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A W.I.S.H-India was envisioned to further the work of an effective and unique organization, Share and Care Children's Welfare Society, based in Madras, India. Created as a private registered charity in 1984 by social workers Steven and Carmel Arokiasamy, Share and Care (S & C) has grown into a remarkable community. It is a source of hope and dignity for many.


A doctor at a Share and Care health center
in Katchur examines a patient.

Grounded in a loving but unsentimental faith in the ability of people to help themselves if given the chance, Share and Care is devoted to providing that opportunity in a number of ways. They meet the needs of abandoned, orphaned, and polio affected children, deserted single mothers, widows, and the aged and infirm. They provide food, shelter, clothing, and education for hundreds of children.

Medical services include surgery and braces for the polio children, eye surgeries for the elderly, and a full time village clinic. A strong emphasis is placed on raising awareness among women regarding health and thrift schemes. Facilities include two orphanages, a middle school, preschool daycare sites, and centers for the elderly. There is never any charge for the help and benefit provided by this Society.


Students at a Share and Care school in Katchur

Begun in the slums of Madras (now known as Chennai), Share and Care developed slowly and methodically, and expanded several years later into nearby rural districts. The village of Katchur became the hub of S & C's rural network. The orphanages, school, medical clinic, day centers, and the agricultural operations based there have come to represent an ever larger island in the sea of chaos, misery, and despair that frequently confronts the lower caste and tribal people of India.

The slow and deliberate growth of Share and Care has allowed the Society to fashion a solid infrastructure ideally suited to serve the perennially oppressed in this district of rural India. And it is a society.

For the greatest strength of Share and Care is its people. Their organizing principles - faith, the inherent dignity and value of life, and the necessity of hard work - have served to create an authentic human community of hope in these villages.


Residents at a Share and Care home for the handicapped in Madras combine education and work. Making handicrafts enables the girls to be somewhat self sufficient.

The staff, from doctors to drivers, teachers to lab techs, from cooks and kitchen helpers to childcare workers, social workers, fieldworkers and goat and buffalo herders all understand what sets their Society apart from the ordinary. That quality can readily be seen and heard in the faces and words, and sensed in the spirits of those benefiting from this work.

 It is not a utopia. Many problems and conflicts remain. But more and more lives are being transformed, those of the staff as much as the recipients, and a sustainable community that transcends the divisiveness of caste, religion, and politics continues to grow.

Theologian Paul Knitter, who wrote of Katchur in his book One World Many Religions, found there "a basic human community that marvelously combined a passionate preferential option for the oppressed with the ability to reach out and love the oppressors," and called the Arokiasamy's work a "program of liberation."


Rice straw artwork made by residents of the Home for the Handicapped in Madras.

And author Roger Housden in his Travels Through Sacred India closed his description of Share and Care this way: "Of all the thousands of aid organizations in India crying out for funds, this is one of the very few where the donor can be sure that his money goes to the people he intends it for, instead of funding cumbersome administrations, or lining the pockets of a whole chain of people along the way." 

It is expected that A W.I.S.H-India will evolve incrementally, much like Share and Care has over the years, and that in the future we will be able to assist other worthy ventures in India as well.


Contact:

Thomas Lilly

8519 23rd Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: 206-985-2661
thoslilly@yahoo.com

A W.I.S.H. Asia

awish@awish.net


A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity