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The Strathaven and Madurai Mercy Home Trust was established in October 2002. It is a registered charity (Scottish Charity number SCO33920) and is run solely by volunteers. The aim of the Charity is to provide funding for the Claretian Mercy Home in Madurai, India, as well as raising awareness of the work done there. Most of the money raised is used for ongoing running costs of the home although some specific projects are also contributed to.

As of July 2008 the total amount contributed to the Mercy Home from the Strathaven and Madurai Mercy Home Trust is 19,202 pounds.

  Older Girls  


The Claretian Mercy Home is situated in Azhagusirai village, 29km from Madurai town in Tamil Nadu, India. It was founded in 1987 by a German Claretian Missionary called Fr. Francis Xavier Dirberger. He opened the Mercy Home in response to an escalating problem of female infanticide in the surrounding Madurai district.

Poverty in this area is rife and many families cannot afford to raise a female child. This is due to the ongoing social practice of ‘dowry’ where a girl’s family must provide money and gifts at the time of her marriage. They are also responsible for financial costs prior to and after the marriage at various social ocassions.

While many families will tolerate raising one female child they are unable to afford to support any more. If subsequent female children are born they are killed, often by the family members. This practice is further condoned by the percieved low value of women in this area.

To offer these children a chance at life, the Claretian Missionaries opened the MERCY HOME. Here the children are given medical care, food, clothing and, most importantly, love until arrangements can be made for their adoption into Indian families. On average the children are in the home for up to two years.

The home continues to be run by the Claretian Missionaries. Working in collaboration with the Claretians are sisters who oversee the daily care of the children. For over 20 years this work was carried out by the sisters of Dena Seva Sabha but recently sisters of Charity of Saint Mary have undertaken the work.

On average 40 babies are admitted to the home each year. It is common for more than 20-25 babies to be cared for at any one time and the ongoing cost for their basic care is approximately 34555 rupees per baby per year (410 pounds). This includes food, provisions, basic medical care and laundry costs. It does not cover large medical bills which are not uncommon, depending on the babies circumstances.

  Sisters Absera sleeping Nasandi  


The Mercy Home has also expanded over the years to provide shelter and care for over 30 elderly people. Again most of these are elderly women abandoned by their familes after the death of their husbands as they are viewed as a financial burden. Some elderly men are also resident in the Mercy Home, victims of extreme poverty.

The ongoing costs for caring for the elderly is approximately 18681 rupees per person per year (222 pounds).

  Old Woman  

Video of the work of Claretian Missionaries in India

Click on the video link for a video clip about the Mercy Home or Click here to download/save the video.

Want to know more about the Claretian Missionaries in India? Please visit their website at www.cmfchennai.com

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