AGAPE CENTRE

AGAPE CENTRE (BHAVAN)

Agape Centre (Bhavan) is the first institution that Fr. Abraham Mutholath, the founder of "Fr. Abraham Mutholathu Foundation” donated to Kottayam Social Service Society (KSSS), the social service organization of the Archeparchy of Kottayam. This is his gift to God while celebrating his Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee on December 21, 2005. The Agape Centre serves as a regional centre, a meeting and training centre for Self Help Groups, and a vocational training and rehabilitation institute for the differently abled.

Agape Bhavan

HISTORY OF AGAPE CENTRE

Fr. Abraham Mutholath had started Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) groups for women, children (Smart Groups), unmarried girls (Madonna Groups), widows (Naomi Groups) farmers, physically and mentally challenged and their families (CBR Groups), and senior citizens while he was the director of KSSS from 1994 to 2000. While serving in Los Angeles, Fr. Mutholath received an application on July 30, 2002 from the senior citizens’ group of his home village Cherpunkal requesting to financially support them to build a room for their gathering instead of meeting in the houses of members. They said they would acquire two cents of land for the building.

Senior Citizens Cherpunkal

Meeting of the Senior Citizens at Cherpunkal to disucess with Fr. Mutholath on their proposed building.

During his visit to Kerala, Fr. Mutholath met with the senior citizens’ group at Cherpunkal. Since their plan was to lease the land for building, Fr. Mutholath offered to purchase the land and meet the expense for the construction. While searching for the land, he found that 39 cents land was available for sale. He bought the whole plot of land and made a master plan for a regional social service center at Cherpunkal in consultation with Fr. Michal Vettikkatt, the then secretary of Kottayam Social Service Society.

Foundation Stone of Agape Centre Cherpunkal

Fr. Abraham Mutholath laid the foundation stone for Agape Centre, along with KSSS director Fr. Michael Vettikkatt and vicar of Cherpunkal Sts. Peter and Paul Church Fr. Mathew Mavelil in the presence of regional animators and self-help group leaders on December 28, 2002.

Agape Kamanam

First a classroom was constructed for the initial functioning of the institution. Its blessing and inauguration were held of January 10, 2003. Fr. Abraham Mutholath blessed the building. Msgr. Jacob Kollaparambil presided over the meeting and Mr. Stephen George MLA inaugurated the building.

Agape Van

A Day Care Center for the mentally and physically disabled children was started on August 16, 2004. There were only four children at the initial stage. Transpiration facility is arranged to bring students from their homes and to drop them back in the evenings. Eventually the number of students and activities have increased to 26.

 Agape Inauguration

Inauguration borchure1

Considering the need for more rooms, second stage of construction was started on June 30, 2005. The blessing and inauguration of the completed building of Agape Bhavan was held, along with Silver Jubilee of the priestly ordination of Fr. Abraham Mutholath, on January 2, 2006. Fr. Mutholath handed over the 39 cents of land along with Agape Centre to KSSS during this function. His Grace Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry blessed Agape Centre and presided over the meeting that followed. Hon. Revenue Minister of Kerala Mr. K.M. Mani inaugurated the meeting. Auxiliary Bishop Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Fr. Michael Vettikkatt, Thomas Chazhikadan MLA, Stephen George MLA, Fr. Siju Mudakkodil spoke on the occasion. Agape Award was given to Joy and Shila Chemmachel and Jose and Mary Pinarkayil to honor their charitable contributions to the community. The function was well attended by more than 2,000 people. The Agape Center and the nearby streets were well decorated. The 26 students of Agape Center and self-help group members presented cultural programs to entertain the audience.

PURPOSE OF AGAPE BHAVAN

To ensure equal opportunities and fullest participation of the SHG members in the region.

To conduct various awareness and training programs for the village people for their holistic development.

To promote various life-skill practices among the differently abled and thereby ensure self-reliance.

To give awareness to the parents regarding the care and remedial measures to prevent disability.

To serve as a vocational training institute for the differently abled.

ACTIVITIES

There is an assembly held for the students every day and a yoga session for three quarters of an hour. The students are divided into three classes and training is imparted according to their mental capacity along with physiotherapy. In the afternoon session a prayer is followed by classes on, Moral science, Personality development and Cultural activities.

Classes and seminars are arranged for teachers every month. C.R.C (Case Review Committee) meetings were held twice every month. Case history and Individual training methods were discussed in that meeting. Seminars are also conducted for parents and siblings of these students. Once in three months PTA (Parents Teachers Association) meeting is conducted to plan and evaluate the school activities.

Special celebrations like Onam, Independence Day, Republic Day, and Christmas are celebrated with students and parents with speech by dignitaries and cultural programs by the children. The school received honors for competitions for special schools in the state.

Besides physical training of the differently abled, different vocational training is also arranged for their economic stability. The vocational training includes Book Production, paper bag making, screen printing, cover making and binding unit functions in this centre. The notebooks and paper bags are supplied from the center to the local educational institutions and hospitals. These provide opportunities for income generation to the disabled members and to the neighboring villagers.

OUTCOME OF THE CENTRE

The local people wholeheartedly welcomed the institution. They are happy that the differently abled children and youth are taken care of in their midst while keeping up their relationship with their families and community. Considering the humanitarian aspect of the project, the architect of the building made his service a voluntary contribution. In the parents meeting of the students, some parents expressed their gratitude with emotion in offering such a service. Some of them shared how their burdens are lessened with the establishment of the institution, how the lifestyle of their children has changed, and how they are able to raise income for their families. The parents expressed their willingness to do voluntary service for the institution whenever they can do so.

AGAPE CENTRE TIMELINE

2002 July 30: Fr. Abraham Mutholath received request from Senior Citizens’ group at Cherpunkal seeking help to build a meeting room for them.

2002 December: Fr. Abraham Mutholath bought 39 cents of land from Prof. Thomas Vadakkethottiyil for the construction of Agape Centre.

2002 December 28: Fr. Abraham Mutholath laid the foundation stone for Agape Centre.

2003 January 10: Blessing and inauguration of the first classroom constructed at Agape Centre.

2004 August 16: Starting of training for the mentally and physically challenged children at Agape Centre.

2005 June 30: Construction started for the second phase of Agape Centre.

2005 December 21: Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee of the founder Fr. Abraham Mutholath.

2006 January 2: The blessing and inauguration of the completed building of Agape Centre.

Agape Centre Slab