Catholic Women’s League

Motto: “You Educate a Girl Child, You Educate a Family”.

The Catholic Women’s League, Cathedral Unit, has been in existence for almost four decades. Monthly meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 5.p.m in the room adjoining the C.Y.C Hall. The League comprises over 40 active members, of which 20 to 25 members attend the meetings regularly.

In the beginning, our unit used to only help in parish activities and conduct social and cultural activities to unite the ladies of the parish. Soon, it diversified into doing charitable work-giving medical and financial aid not only to poor slum dwellers but also to orphans, the aged, unwed mothers and to crèches for children of working mothers.

During this time, the ladies of this unit panned a visit to the slums in the vicinity of the parish. We saw the appalling conditions in which these poor people lived, especially the women and children, as the men folk squandered whatever they earned on drink. Immediately, our members decided to help the women find work or to set up small hawking units. It was a shock to find the parents sending their sons to school while the daughters were left at home to take care of their siblings, do domestic work or other menial work in the neighbourhood. Moreover, the older girls were left vulnerable in their surroundings.

We continued with the other charitable work we had undertaken, but our priority and focus shifted. We coaxed mothers to send their daughters to school. Two of our members visited the slums on a regular basis and assured the mothers that the C.W.L would pay their yearly fees. Initially, we doled out the fee amount to the mothers but soon realized that the money was misused by them or squandered by the men. It was decided that the members would personally go to the concerned school, pay the fees directly and ascertain the progress and attendance of the children. This practice has paid ample dividends as children began to perform better and also attended school regularly. As an incentive, children who get above 75% aggregate get a special prize during the Christmas party conducted for these children.

Thirty years ago, we helped just a few students. Today we give aid to nearly 200 students in various schools, in classes from nursery to college level.

Our motto is “You Educate a Girl Child, You Educate a Family” and we have ample proof of this: the girls who have passed out, have got married and are very particular to send their sons and daughters to school. Besides, the children (boys and girls) who have got the benefit of education are usefully employed as beauticians, office assistants, salesgirls, etc. some have done computer, nursing or tailoring course and are working on their own. The C.W.L. Cathedral Unit is not only happy but proud of its achievement.

The little ones in the school and young boys and girls who have passed out may not go on to become millionaires nor win Global, BAFTA or Oscar awards, but we are very sure that they will definitely be better human beings leading better and more dignified lives.

It was and still is a difficult task to raise funds as we distribute several lakhs a year towards the fees of these poor children and other charity work. Our members make voluntary monthly contributions, and they also encourage family and friends to help in cash or kind. We hold jumble sales regularly and the proceeds go to the Education Fund. Our benefactors donate yearly have brought hope into the lives of so many families.

We would be extremely happy if more of our parishioners could contribute to our Education Fund in order to admit more children into schools. All contributions, big or small, will be acknowledged with an official receipt. The amount may be sent by crossed cheque in favour of the “The Catholic Women’s League, Cathedral Unit” and posted to the Treasurer, Ms. Bernie Verdes, No. 1, Kemp Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore 560 005; or by cash through any one of our members.

We are pained to state that some of our senior members are unwell, and some have left for their heavenly abode in the recent past. We would be delighted to have new members join us and help us in our endeavours.

We express our sincere gratitude to all past and present parish priests and their assistants who have lent us their support, guidance and cooperation.