26 wrzesień 2021 /FP | Family News Service
“We need 35 euros a month to maintain one resident,” says the Polish missionary Helena Pyz, who has been working in the Centre for Lepers in Jeevodaya for 32 years. Converted into Polish zloty that amounts to about 150-160 zloty a month. In Poland, we are not able to support a child for a month for that sum, but in India it is possible.
Helena Pyz, a Polish missionary doctor, has been working in the Centre for Lepers in India since 1989. After the death of the center’s founder, the Polish priest and physician Adam Wiśniewski, she decided to go to the missions. “When I heard that several thousand people would be left without help, I did not even think about where India was, whether it was near or far. I thought that if there was no one else I would go. I will do as much as I can” recalls Helena Pyz. Now, although she is in a wheelchair, she has been helping lepers for 32 years.
The Center in Jeevodaya houses mainly people who went through leprosy and their families. They would not find work anywhere else, and their children would remain without access to education. Jeevodaya also runs a boarding school for children of families affected by leprosy. Here the children and youth are fully supported with housing, clothing, food, medicine, and school supplies. There is also a school. “We could not do all this without the help of our donors,” emphasizes the missionary, whom the children in the center call, in Hindi, “Mami” which in Polish means simply “mama.”
All the children who live stay in the center are covered by Adoption of the Heart. “Adoption of the Heart cares for each child,” explains H. Pyz. “I think that it is much easier for us to imagine that we are helping a particular child. The support is mainly spiritual and financial. Our donors pay a declared amount of money for one child, and we pool the money, and distribute it according to the needs. It is extremely encouraging when we see that children who are rejected in some way or see their parents rejected due to illness, have ‘adoptive’ parents and feel that someone cares about them, thinks of them, and prays for them.” Individuals but also missionary groups, and groups in parishes and even schools provide this kind of assistance. Sometimes there are even two donors supporting one child.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also left its mark on the people of Jeevodaya. “The price of oil, which we practically use for everything, has increased by 100 percent. Other products, vegetables and fruits are also getting more expensive. Before the pandemic, 35 euros was enough to support one person for a month. Now I am even afraid to count. But if things get dearer, we will have to cut back on various expenses. We Indians, we lepers know how to tighten our belts, but we will certainly not limit the number of children admitted – emphasizes the Polish missionary.”
For more information about how to join Adoption of the Heart, please visit the website: http://www.jeevodaya.org/en.