In 1996, the Kovai Auxilium Salesian Sisters Society received an invitation from the Bishop of Coimbatore to open a home for vulnerable girls. At the time, the area was developing as an industrial hub and experiencing huge population growth and high mobility. As a result, many children were being abandoned by their families. Without a home, many of these orphans lived on the streets – near shops, parks, railway stations, and markets. The government extended support to the Salesian Sisters Society to set up a home for these children. Thus, Marialaya was founded.
Led by Sister Amalie, Marialaya is an all-girls home. Before coming to the home, many of these girls were child laborers. Others are children of prisoners, or have been abused. The girls arrive at the home after being found on the streets or through support organizations like ChildLine, India’s helpline for children. Under the guidance of Sister Amalie, Marialaya has done incredible work rehabilitating orphans and connecting them with their extended family members whenever possible.
In addition to providing a home for vulnerable girls, the organization offers informal education for the community and night classes for children of wage workers. Marialaya also provides vocational training for underprivileged girls and women. Tailoring and screenprinting courses are taught to help them earn a living and become financially independent. The organization also offers programs on community issues such as child marriage, AIDS, and sexual harassment, and the older girls from Marialaya are encouraged to actively participate in these programs.
The Marialaya team loves the girls at the home unconditionally and is devoted to giving them high-quality care. The girls are joyous, energetic, and expressive. The girls address each other as “akka” (sister) and their housemothers as “amma” (mother). They are all one big family. The girls are very observant of the sisters and try to follow their example. They are responsible and willingly take on chores around the home.
As we take Marialaya into incubation, we will provide them with more housemothers to create a loving family environment. We are hiring an expert social worker to provide guidance and counseling for the children and housemothers. We are providing nutritious food, regular health checkups, vaccinations, clothing, and administrative support to Marialaya. The girls will be given regular tutoring to strengthen their education, and each child will be taught life skills education every month.
Thanks to our generous donors, we are able to partner with incredible leadership, caregivers and children like those at Marialaya. It is because of you that we can dream of a bright future for the kids. Join us on this beautiful journey and be the miracle for these amazing girls!