Two religious nuns, Sr. Rosili John and Sr. Little Rose, from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in Kerala, prove that consecration is not exclusive to prayers and life within cloisters. These nuns work among the labourers hailing from others states in Eranakulam, the commercial capital of Kerala. By their unique work among migrant labourers they become an inspiration not only to the consecrated people but also to the society at large.
The fast growing Eranakulam and its surrounding today is a harbour for workers from states such as Bihar, Odissa, Tamilnadu and UP. However, the plight of these people who do not know the language, culture and labour laws of the plae are miserable. Though Kerala is famous for its strong labour unions on the basis of various political parties, the migrant workers are practically neglected by them and are exploited by the employers.
The nuns meet these people at the workspace and organise basic aids for them which include labour card and welfare privileges from the government department. If the labourers pay a fee of Rs 30 they can get a lot of privileges from the government. However, many of them do not know about these or does not know how to do it because of language barriers.
The benefits include up to Rs. 25,000 for health, Rs. 10,000 for accidents, and Rs. 1,000 to 3,000 as education fund for their children. If one dies in Kerala the relatives would get Rs. 5,000 to 15,000 to reach the dead body to their own village. And there are other financial support as well.
The nuns also create awareness programmes for the labourers and help them with department paperwork. Sometimes their service reach the extent of going to the office with the workers and get things done for them.
Munnabhai coming from Orissa had a serious accident in the workplace. With the mediation of the nuns he could get the due benefits.
Sister Rosily and Sr. Little extend their service through a diocesan organisation called City Birds Evangelisation whose patron is Mar Sebastian Edayanthrath the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Eranakulam.
The nuns are quite convinced that the life standard of these labourers would change qualitatively only if their lives are to be touched and influenced integrally. Hence, they organises programmes to empower these workers socially, culturally, morally.
The sisters also take special interest in helping the women labourers especially. They ensure that the victims get justice when they suffer all sorts of harassment and abuse including sexual.
Sr Rosily and Sr Little are proving with their life that Church has to go to the fringes of human life, a call made by Pope Francis.
Photos: The Hindu, Manorama, Madhyamam