Three Weeks in the Shelter Home: A Journey of Compassion and Transformation

In the past three weeks, I have had the privilege of experiencing life from a different perspective, which has profoundly touched my heart and soul. It has led me to reflect on the fundamental necessities of life: food, clothing, and shelter. While these are basic rights that we often take for granted, it’s a stark reality that not everyone has access to them. Homeless individuals, in particular, face a daily struggle for survival, and it’s important for all of us to ponder why they find themselves in such dire situations. As I interacted with homeless men during my time at Loyola Shelter Home in T Nagar, I couldn’t help but ask myself how I perceived them. Do I view them as threats or as fellow human beings in need? Do I approach them with empathy and understanding? These questions are essential for anyone leading a comfortable life to contemplate.

The initial reactions of homeless individuals when rescued from roadside encampments, train stations, and street corners are often a mix of fear and embarrassment. However, their demeanor transforms as we extend our helping hands and engage in friendly conversations. Once admitted to a shelter home, they experience a newfound sense of safety and security. They yearn for someone to become a part of their journey toward a better life. During my time at Loyola Shelter Home, I learned a crucial lesson: the homeless require constant care and companionship. Being there with them, offering motivation and support, makes all the difference. The practice of providing them with continuous care and companionship is what truly sets our shelter home apart, and it brings joy and contentment to these individuals.

I often observed them sitting quietly in our shelter home, lost in their thoughts. However, when I approached them and initiated conversations, their faces lit up with happiness, and they opened up about their difficulties, bitter experiences, and unforgettable life events. It became evident that homelessness is closely intertwined with poverty, unemployment, and often being abandoned by their families. Managing and organizing the lives of homeless individuals in our shelter is no easy task. Each person has a unique mindset and a distinct set of challenges stemming from their individual experiences. Addressing their diverse needs requires a compassionate and tailored approach. During my time here, I had the opportunity to assist three residents with obtaining their Aadhaar cards at E-Seva Maiyam alongside Mr. Venkatesh, a dedicated staff member of our Loyola Shelter Home. Witnessing the gratitude on one of the resident’s faces as their documents were confirmed filled me with immense happiness. It reinforced the idea that small acts of kindness can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Similarly, we secured a job for a differently-abled individual named Mr. Shankaran at an electrical tools and repairs shop. Initially met with hesitation from the shop owner, we highlighted Mr. Shankaran’s skills and experience in the field. The owner relented, offering Mr. Shankaran a job with a monthly salary and meals. Seeing the joy on Mr. Shankaran’s face, I was reminded of Mother Teresa’s wise words: “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” By keeping the needs of homeless individuals in mind and offering our compassion, we can make a significant impact on their lives, helping them lead better and more fulfilling lives.

Joemarsh Leo SJ

2 thoughts on “Three Weeks in the Shelter Home: A Journey of Compassion and Transformation”

  1. By reading your article..I thing it’s really an enriching experience. As a human specially religious in today’s world are always going behind luxurious life. No time to think about the needy and poor people. In this society you got this chance to reform yourself and sure you will afirm the life of marginalized.

  2. Thank you Madam for your encouraging words. What you said is true. Yes we need to think and accompany the poor and needy that’s what we are called for……Called to Serve the marginalized.

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