GraceWorks is a U.S.-based charitable foundation. Although it has no religious affiliation, it has chosen to start its outreach work by supporting projects in India and Africa run by the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST), a religious order of nuns founded in India in 1887. This congregation has over 800 professed sisters and 40 novices working in approximately 125 institutions spread out in India and several other countries. The spiritual aspiration of the CSST is to achieve “union with God through joyous community living and loving service to people—especially the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalized” of all castes and creeds. GraceWorks, in keeping with its non-denominational vision and commitment, will adopt projects outside the CSST umbrella as it extends its outreach in years to come.
Krupalaya Palliative Care Center in Villupuram, Tamilnadu, takes care of the homeless, bonded and child laborers, and the destitute. Among its residents are poor children, including many with HIV/AIDS. The Center gets some aid from the government and is partially supported by local contributions. The facilities are still under construction and need an infusion of approximately $100,000 for completion.
Balwa in the Jamui District of Bihar is an underdeveloped area, lacking in roads, electricity, schools and hospitals. Malaria, typhoid and diarrhea are rampant in this region. The farmers depend solely on scanty rainfall for cultivation. The lack of electricity seriously limits productivity. The Carmel Balika Kalyan Sadan, a hostel for tribal girls, was founded in 1993. The facilities are basic, without a dining room or study room. Financial support would help provide much-needed amenities and also help with solar power initiatives.
The Center for Integral and Social Action (CISA) was established in Byadgi Taluk, Karnataka, in 2001 to help the poor and underprivileged by providing them with education and health care.
The Center conducts health camps and awareness programs for women’s groups, youth groups, and alcoholics, which include HIV awareness, reproductive and child health programs, osteoporosis detection camps, and the promotion of herbal medicine and alternative therapies. The Center also organizes self-help groups, especially women’s empowerment groups, where people are trained in leadership, communication skills, fundamental rights, and legal aid. So far 85 such groups have been promoted and nurtured.
Sneha Sadana, Home for the Underprivileged Students, was started in 2005 and now has fifty children who are housed and fully supported throughout their elementary education. CISA, which oversees the working of Sneha Sadana, gets some governmental help. With more financial assistance, it could reach many more children and lift them out of abject poverty and give them a brighter future.
Hathimara is situated in a remote village in Pakur district in Jharkhand State. The Carmel Hostel houses girls so that they can have easier access to schools not easy to reach from their villages. There are over four hundred residents now in a facility that badly needs improvement and expansion.
Dung'unyi, located in a remote area of Singida, Tanzania, is semi-arid and poor. Maize and sweet potato are cultivated if and when it rains. Removed from the mainstream, the only language spoken is the local dialect. There are no schools and health clinics. The challenges presented by this region, especially the high cost of construction due to the distance from supply centers, have deterred volunteers from undertaking basic developmental projects. The CSST are venturing where few have shown the willingness to go. They have drawn a master plan for a school. But until the resources are available they will start small. The immediate goal is to build a four-room structure for a nursery and a kindergarten
Jeevanalayam, Home for the Homeless, was founded in 2012 in Tadipatri, Andhra Pradesh. This refuge for destitute women now has 23 residents. The need here is great. With more funds, many more poor women can be housed, cared for and given hope and a sense of dignity.
To view additional images of the people whose lives GraceWorks has impacted, please visit our photo gallery page.