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10 HOUSES FOR THE FLOOD VICTIMS OF IN AN AROUND BISHRAIL VILLAGES, BENGAL

Bishrail is located near Gangarampur town in the district of Dakshin Dinajpur in West Bengal.  It is 500 Kms north from the state capital of Calcutta. Claret Seva Sadan Mission belongs to the diocese of Raiganj, having Bishrail as the main station sharing borders with Mehnidipura Parish in the west, Rajibpur Parish in the north and Rabuthhada in the south   It has a pre-dominantly Santhal population.   Basically it is an agriculture area and the major crops cultivated in this region are Paddy, Wheat and Jute.

The history of Claret Seva Sadan goes back to the time of Claret Vidya Niketan, The then Claretian Minor Seminary for north at Rajibpur inaugurated on 16th July, 1991. After many wandering experiences, reflections and disappointments the Community has spotted out the proposed plot of 10.27 acres in Bishrail on 4th July, 1995. The community of Claret Seva Sadan ventured into the promised land  by putting a full stop to their Passover journey on 13th  August, 1995 when they have tented in a Tin shed. The agreement of this mission was made with the Bishop of Raiganj for three years. Apart from the main station Bishrail with 52 families, the Parish has got 18 sub-stations consisting of 375 families in this community.

In June 1996 the community was constituted with three Claretian members and has animated the activities of Catechist Training, Women’s Association (Mahila Samithi), Farmer’s Association, Bamboo Handicrafts, Retreats, Village Tuition Centres etc. A  Milestone was set in the Mission by the construction of a Community Hall on 4th December, 1996.  In 1997, the Community has moved from the Tin shed residence to the new Community Hall. This time the Community has started to do a greater work in systematizing the tuition centre for the Santhal children and helping the homeless with housing projects.

In June 1998, the Community constructed a paddy go down to preserve the poor farmer’s crops and yielding at the times when the market price is low.  Various village councils are set-up in different sub-stations in order to make the Santhal Tribal to stand united for their civic rights and to prevent themselves from the exploitations of the rich and the high castes.  Awareness camps are organized to alert the Santhal Tribals against any atrocities caused towards them.  Regular and periodic meetings are programmed to voice their grievances. We, The Claretians, are also pioneering in introducing and implementing Basic Christian Community Programs in the whole of Raiganj Diocese. As a curtain raiser two Basic Christian Community units were started on 10th November ’98.  This will further help the people to embrace faith and enlighten the spiritual life of the Santhal Tribe.

The project will address the problem of housing of the flood victims. Without housing women, particularly young women, suffer the worst kinds of violence and insecurity, and are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and trafficking. Instances of rape, molestation, and women spending sleepless nights guarding their young adolescent girls are a common feature among victims of disaster. In addition to this accessing health care is a tremendous challenge for the people, especially women. There are countless incidents of women being denied treatment and turned away from hospitals.

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