India, Bangalore, Preethi 's work with ECHO (Empowerment of Children and Human Rights Organization)

Preethi in London HackneyPreethi in London Hackney

When I first joined the Community of the Little sisters I asked to make a special consecration: to offer my life for Prisoners.

'Be a love bomb, not to destroy, but to heal and give life to the broken hearted.'

This is the motto of the Indian Prison Ministry with whom I worked for several years as a volunteer. I wanted to be a sister to them and quite simply bring a little comfort and peace.

In the officeIn the office

I was hoping to find work and quite unexpectedly the Organization for the Empowerment of Children called ECHO, opened a Centre right next door to our house. I felt that the Lord was calling me to be work alongside these Juveniles in conflict with the law. The Director, Fr Anthony Sebastian told me that these children needed my love and care and I took this as a sign that I should accept to work there. In fact I felt that if they did not receive affection and direction they could easily end up by being in prison one day.

Preethi with her work companionsPreethi with her work companions

I am just starting my 11th year with them. They are all under 18 and released from Government Observation homes. Sometimes their families do not want them them to return home as they had brought a bad name to the family through the crimes they committed. At ECHO they receive counselling and complete their education. They are helped back into main stream society through the different vocational trainings they receive through ECHO and helped to find a job.

At the ECHO Centre BangaloreAt the ECHO Centre Bangalore

During my first years there I could visit families and Juvenile Homes and the Government Observation Homes to find out more about the background of the children and their circumstances. Later however there was more and more work to do in the office so now I am busy at the reception and doing secretarial jobs. I am happy that I also have the opportunity to meet the children after their release with their parents. I help the lawyer with thier paper work. ECHO helps the poorer parents with legal aid free of cost.

It has been very rewarding to witness so many young people returning to their family after spending several years at ECHO. I have been at the side of these young people sharing their anxieties, listening to them as their sister. I have shared their joy at returning home to start a new life.

The Boys working as Traffic wardensThe Boys working as Traffic wardens

One of the programmes I liked the most in ECHO was TPAP (Traffic Police Assistance Programme). Former law brakers now stand with the Traffic Police to keep the law - controlling the traffic in the city of Bangalore! These youngsaters who used to run away on seeing the police can now work hand in hand with them! They feel they have had their dignity restored. I was so thrilled to see them in the Independance Day Parade.

A new world is possible, a new life is possible when people are loved. Love is the greatest power in the world. It can change everything. I have asked Jesus to take my life he who has won the world with his love. He is my leader and the inspiration for my daily life.

Bangalore chapelBangalore chapel