Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world…

…Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. This adage is apt for Maria Seva Sangha.

Set up in 1981, this organization was set up by a lady named Ethel Brito, along with a group of public-spirited people. They worked together to obtain registration, tax-exemption, FCRA sanction and the like, to establish the institution’s credentials in the eyes of the public. While Ethel is part of the Governing Body now, a fresh set of socially-inclined folks keep the organization going today. It’s quite a task to keep efforts going for 30+ years but this low-profile organization has managed to do just that. Starting with a mid-day meal scheme in 1982, they have today branched into education; giving Pre-University Certificate (PUC) students scholarships to pursue professional and technical studies.

Their mission is “to reach out to deserving, underprivileged persons – irrespective of class, religion or community, so as to improve their self-image and quality of life.” And they’re making this mission a reality by feeding 1,416 children in 11 schools across the city of Bangalore 250 days a year, by giving 550 grade 12 pass outs scholarships to take-up further studies, by taking care of the needs of elderly folk at their senior citizens home, and by giving homeless people a roof over their heads.

They have faced their highs and lows over the years. A big time low was when their property on Bangalore’s Rest House Road meant for their old age home was put under litigation thanks to a bunch of unscrupulous individuals. But then the high when the Archbishop of Karnataka, realizing the desperate need of these people who Ethel wanted to help, donated 5 acres and 36 guntas of land in Krishnarajapuram to start a low income housing project mainly for battered women and widows to acquire a home irrespective of class or creed.

They operate out of the top floor of a 2-storey residential home in Bangalore’s Richmond Town. If you plan to visit, beware of the scary dog that belongs to the landlady on the ground floor. He jumps menacingly close onto the wall adjacent to the steps leading to Maria Seva Sangha.

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