Pannur Manvi Jesuit
Pannur Jesuit Mission has completed 15 years and has grown wonderfully. On 29th June 2002, when Frs. Maxim Rasquinha, Eric Mathias and Joseph Monteiro started the Mission with the blessings of late Bishop Joseph D'Silva of Bellary and our then Provincial Fr.Ronnie Prabhu SJ. Pannur was a small village with hardly any facilities available to the people who numbered around 1750 including scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Muslims. Catholics were then 450 in number and all of them are Dalits.
There were minimal transport facilities. A Government bus used to come twice a day; no market facilities no medical help: for everything people had to go either to Manvi (18kms) or Pothnal (16 kms) away. There was a Primary school in which a cow used to rest regularly. One teacher was taking care of four classes in one room. The Dalit children had to sit in one corner.
Our Main intention in starting the Mission was to educate the children and thus work out a programme of liberation through education. We were aware of the various problems in the village including bonded labor, child labor and harassment from the land lords especially to women. So we planned to have self- help groups among women and gave them an awareness of their rights and privileges and the importance of educating their children. With the help of three Bethany Sisters we gave an intense coaching to 50 children collected from Pannur and surrounding villages. They gave the children plenty of input through play-way method with catchy songs and rhythms and plenty of games. Within a month we were able to put them in standard 1, 2 and 3 in different schools according to their talents.
Then we planned to start a school in Manvi. In 2004 we bought around 40 acres of land and put up a simple multi-purpose structure and started our school with 40 students. Little by little we built hostels and regular school for children; and now after 10 years we are proud to say that we have children from baby class to final year degree numbering around 1600.
In Pannur we felt a great urgency of a medical center to meet the needs of our suffering people. We had seen with our own eyes children and grownups dying of snake bite and other diseases. Similarly pregnant women were often unable to get timely help. So we started Loyola Medical Center in Pannur with Sisters of Josephs of Tarbes serving the sick people.
We have started an English medium school for children from LKG onward. At present we have classes up to 3rd standard inclusive, with the student’s strength around 250. This is also run by Sisters of the same group.Our people have been longing to have a new church in place of the old one which was badly affected by floods. We have built a lovely church quit spacious to accommodate 750 people. The people feel proud of it as they realize that their own dignity is enhanced by this house of prayer which constantly reminds them to reform and renew their lives
We have been simultaneously working at the grass root level visiting more than 60 villages, conscientizing women and empowering them to be leaders. We have taken the girl child with grater preference for education and empowerment. We are determined to educate the Dalit children and bring them up to the level of children of other communities. We are happy to note that some of our children are pursuing their medical, engineering and B.Sc nursing in different institutions in Mangalore and Bangalore.Most of our Dalit children are staying in Loyola Study House were opportunities for all round development are offered. Besides academics and games, human values are inculcated constantly so that they may become men and women for others and fulfill the motto of the school ' To reach the unreached'. There are at present 450 students in Loyola Study Home among whom around 200 are girls.
We hope that within the next 15 years many of our students will occupy important posts in society and work for the liberation of their less privileged brothers and sisters.