Agape Bhavan, at Cherpunkal of Kottayam district, is executing a program to train individuals with disabilities living in Cherpunkal and nearby villages. It serves as the regional center of Kottayam Social Service Society (KSSS), offering vocational training, self-help group member meetings, training, and programs for income generation. Children and youths who have experienced neglect and devaluation from their family members, society, and peers are transported to Agape Bhavan via vehicles, where they receive education and care before being returned in the evening.
The specialized field workers in community-based rehabilitation (CBR) provide training to individuals in both institutional and home settings, intending to enhance their health, self-sufficiency, earning potential, self-respect, and value to the family. Because of the awareness we provide to their family members, they learn to appreciate their children’s strengths instead of their weaknesses and care for them with affection. By engaging in the production of notebooks, paper bags, candles, and other items at this establishment, they generate limited income and find contentment in their social connections at Agape Bhavan. The family members of these children express great gratitude for the institution’s benefit.
PURPOSE OF AGAPE BHAVAN
– To provide equal opportunities and maximum engagement to all members of the Self-Help Groups (SHG) of KSSS, especially those with disabilities.
– To organize awareness and training initiatives aimed at the comprehensive development of the rural population.
– To promote self-reliance in individuals with disabilities by encouraging the adoption of various life-skill practices.
– To raise awareness among parents about preventive care and remedial measures to avoid disabilities.
– To function as a vocational training institute for individuals with disabilities.
ACTIVITIES AT THE AGAPE BHAVAN
Agape Bhavan functions as a regional center for all Self-Help Groups supported by Kottayam Social Service Society to assemble, engage in seminars, and other training programs. The members of the Self-Help Group take part in diverse income generation activities and gain supplementary income for their economic stability through the training provided in this institution. The regional center has dedicated office spaces for administrative functions.
The individuals with disabilities who receive instruction at this facility are participants in SHGs established by KSSS as a component of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program. Admission of disabled students to this centre is subject to a process of identification by the village staff. Following the selection process, the centre offers frequent academic instruction with rigorous supervision. Expert staff members at Agape Bhavan provide training to individuals with disabilities for their comprehensive development. The trainers offer medical services, such as physiotherapy, speech therapy, and various life-skill practices. Our training courses comprise classes for parents too, with the objective of helping them manage their children more effectively by being more mindful of disability aspects. The trainers periodically visit the students’ homes and establish a positive relationship with their families.
Besides physical training, various vocational trainings are organized to ensure the economic stability of the students. This centre offers vocational training in book production, paper bag making, screen printing, cover making, and binding unit.
A daily assembly is conducted for the students, followed by a 45-minute yoga session. The students are divided into three classes and are trained according to their cognitive abilities, besides receiving physiotherapy. The afternoon session consists of classes in moral science, personality development and cultural activities. Vocational training is provided for two days a week, covering skills such as cover making, bookbinding, and handicrafts.
Every month, classes and seminars are organized for educators. The Case Review Committee (CRC) convenes twice a month. The meeting will cover case history and individual training methods. Seminars are arranged for the parents and siblings of these students. Every quarter, a PTA meeting takes place to plan and evaluate school activities.
Fr. Abraham Mutholath, the former director of KSSS from 1994 to 2000, founded the Agape Movement on July 13, 2001, in California. Following the establishment of the Agape Movement on a small scale, Fr. Mutholath provided funding for projects, including Agape Bhavan, the Good Samaritan Center, Mutholath Auditorium, and the Impact Center. On August 16, 2004, he acquired a land of forty cents, where Agape Bhavan stands today. He promptly constructed a classroom and started training programs for the differently abled, a daytime gathering spot for older adults, and a meeting for self-help groups.
Its second phase construction was started on June 30, 2005. On the 2nd of January 2006, Fr. Mutholath dedicated the Agape Bhavan to KSSS in commemoration of his Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee. Archbishop Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry, in association with Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, blessed Agape Bhavan. Minister of Kerala, Mr. K.M. Mani inaugurated the Agape Bhavan. This institution benefits twenty-six physically and mentally challenged children. With the encouragement of Kunnacherry, Fr. Michael Vettikkatt developed this center.
Agape Bhavan at Cherpunkal, Kottayam Dt., Kerala, India.