The vision of Snehagram was conceived when we first started talking about the care of HIV infected children and at the starting of Sneha Care Home in 2008. Although we have been taking care of the children through our Snehasadan program in Mangalore, we began to ponder the challenges of these children growing up and becoming adults with the advent of better treatment options. Around the world we still don’t have a clear picture of what will the future of these children be. Most people in the HIV care field think of their medical needs and forget that they are first and foremost children who needs to grow up like any other children to be happy adults. Added to their HIV status, most of them are orphans or will soon be orphans as their parents succumb to the illness. Almost all of them are from the poorest families and their survival and options for building a bright future is very slim. SNEHAGRAM is a humble attempt to respond to these questions and evolve some potential answers that can be replicated across the country and in the world, by the Camillians in India.
The land was purchased in 2009 and some initial fencing works were done after that. On September 12th, 2012 the foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Dharmapuri, Lawrence. The construction works began on February 12th, the day after the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World day of the Sick. The first batch of students – 12 girls and 13 boys moved in to the new campus on June 22nd and the Snehagram campus was formally inaugurated by Bishop Lawrence on July 20th. Snehagram was erected as a residence of Trichy community by the present administration and currently Fr. Mathew as the Director and Fr. Prakash as Administrator runs the program.
We have been blessed to associate with the Daughters of Divine Providence who has joined us in guiding and caring the girls in our program. They have established a formal community here where three sisters will be engaged in both the ministry with the children and extending community based health promotion and care in the surrounding villages. Sisters currently live with the girls in the Girls Hostel.
The construction of the campus buildings are done in phases. First we focused on building the hostels, Multi-Purpose Hall, Kitchen and Dining. The Girl’s Hostel and Multi-purpose Hall was completed by July and the Kitchen was commissioned in September. The Boys hostel was completed the boys moved to the new building on December 4th. Both hostels can accommodate 100 students each. The entire facility is planned to accommodate 200 students to undergo residential training. The next phase of the construction will begin next year to complete the Training centre, Chapel and community house.
The campus now has 17 acres of land most of which we are slowly developing farming and agriculture to train the children and sustain the program. We are also developing the campus eco friendly and follow organic farming principles for all our cultivation. We have constructed two biogas-cum-waste management units to manage our wastes and use recycled energy and manure.
The present batch goes through non formal education and preparation for their 10th exam through the NIOS curriculum. They are also given exposures and training on various vocational skills to know their aptitudes and guide them to develop a career that would help them to stand on their feet and live their lives and responsibly and happily.
Snehagram is still in its infancy stage. We are making small steps and we hope slowly with God’s grace and guidance we will be able to build a hope-filled future for many children and develop as a model program for HIV children around the world.