A JOURNEY WITH KUWAIT CANARA WELFARE ASSOCIATION
“This holds true for four noble gentlemen Francis Misquith, Charles Vaz, Elias Saldanha and Johnny Misquith, who came to Kuwait to earn their daily bread. As their steps steadied towards success in making a living, they were inspired to be of service to their fellow brethren in their homeland, and thus Kuwait Canara Welfare Association (originally Kanara Catholic Welfare Association) emerged in July 1988, with the sole purpose of helping the neediest children in their education.
As the sowed seed started growing into a plant, the strength of KCWA also started increasing and its horizon expanded. In addition to its primary motto “In pursuit of providing education to the poor children”, KCWA also wanted to preserve the Mangalorean culture and keep the Konkani language alive in Kuwait. With Mother Mary as its Patroness, KCWA embarked on its journey in community welfare in September 1989, by celebrating the Monthi Fest (Feast of Nativity) for the first time in Kuwait’s history and shared the New Harvest’s fellowship meal with the parishioners. Since then, this feast is being celebrated with more than 3,500 devotees, irrespective of their nationalities, with Mother Mary’s blessings every year.
“What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul” – Joseph Addison
Earlier with very limited funds, a fixed amount was sent to deserving schools through their respective Parish priests. But later as the association grew, better ideas resulted in fixing a specific amount in the banks as KCWA’s education fund and channelling the interest earned towards educating the needy children. Today, 160 parishes / Institutions are enjoying the benefits out of the income generated from the deposits upto `1 lakh each.
“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people” – Chinese proverb
In the year 2000, KCWA added another feather to its cap, by establishing the Computer Education Centre at St. Agnes Special School (SASS) with an aim to provide free computer education to the underprivileged physically challenged children. Sensing the need of providing accommodation for such children as well as teachers, a 3-storey building was constructed in the 9 cents land owned by the Apostolic Carmel Congregation at Bendoor, who most graciously took charge of managing this centre. With the help of all benefactors, donors and well-wishers, KCWA disbursed about 38.5 lakhs for the entire project.
Although primary education was the main motto, KCWA well understood the need of extra finances for children for their higher studies and professional courses. Bearing this in mind, KCWA established a Scholarship fund of `10 lakhs in St. Joseph’s Engineering College, Vamanjoor. From the interest generated from this fund, two needy but deserving Engineering students from Mangalore diocese will be able to realize their dreams, annually. Besides this, KCWA has honoured several other requests from individuals in the field of education and has extended help after verifying their authenticity.
“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us” – Flora Edwards
KCWA has lent its hand to students with a vocational call, and contributed to school building projects as well as to Institutions like Manasa School for mentally challenged children and Seon Ashram, that are rendering self-less service to the unfortunate. KCWA also donated `5 lakhs towards sponsoring a classroom in the Christraj Navachetan Special School, Venur. This school shelters and cares for the Differently-abled children under the management of the Ursuline Franciscan Education Society. KCWA provided financial assistance of `5 lakhs towards building a primary school at Kumbla through St. Monica Educational Institutions and `6.5 lakhs to setup the Anugraha School for Differently-abled children in Bellary. KCWA has donated 10 lakhs towards the Library Block of newly constructed St. Mary’s College in Bela of Kasargod district(Mangalore Diocese), About 8.5 lakhs distributed to 205 deserving university students of Mangalore and Udupi Dioceses to pursue higher education. KCWA not only considered the need of children in India, but has also assisted several children in Kuwait and has routed `29 lakhs towards various humanitarian intentions.
KCWA recognizes and encourages excellence in education by awarding the KCWA – Mr. Sam and Mrs. Mabel Alphonso Scholarship to the 3 highest scoring students of 10th grade(CBSE), KCWA –Mrs.&Mr. Lawrence D’Souza Scholarship to the top scorers each from Science and Commerce streams in the 12th grade(CBSE), KCWA – the late Thomas Castelino Scholarship to the 2nd position scorers each from Science and Commerce streams in the 12th grade (CBSE), KCWA –the late P. V. Saldanha Scholarship Award to the top scorer of 10th grade in India and KCWA –Mrs. & Mr. Harold D’souza Excellence Award for Excellence in Extra-Curricular Activities.
“All of us do not have equal talents, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
In addition to education, KCWA has always strived to explore the inner talents of its members’ children by conducting various competitions and providing platforms through cultural events in the fields of arts, music and skill.
In order to keep alive our Mangalorean culture and Konkani language in this Gulf country, KCWA ensures that an annual Konkani programme is conducted to exhibit the local talents, thus providing the audiences with wholesome entertainment and instilling our culture in the hearts of the younger generation.
At KCWA’s annual Family Picnic and Christmas Celebration, the importance of family and community is highlighted, where the young and the elders mingle and meet fellow Mangaloreans and enjoy a rewarding day.
Not lagging behind in the Sports field, KCWA is organising Cricket and other sports eventsevery year.
“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love” – William Wordsworth
KCWA was one among the 25 Konkani Organizations from around the world to be honoured by the then President of India, Pratibha Patil at the World Konkani Cultural Convention’s Ekta Divas in Mangalore on Dec. 9, 2010 for its valuable contribution to the preservation and enrichment of Konkani culture in the region.
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa.
In the past 26 years, KCWA has achieved enormous accolades for its self-less services for which all the office bearers – past and present, benefactors/donors and all members tirelessly continue to help KCWA till today and bond like one big family for any honourable mission that KCWA gets associated with.
KCWA has also joined hands with various social causes to provide aid to the unfortunate victims of natural calamities.
One hundred years from now, it will not matter, What kind of car I drove, What kind of house I lived in or How much money I had; but the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a child.
KCWA doesn’t stop here, and will continue its noble cause with the intention of adding more feathers to its cap. As Mother Theresa said “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love”.
KCWA IS NOT ONLY AN IDENTITY OF A PROMINENT MANGALOREAN ASSOCIATION,
BUT ALSO AN IDENTITY OF MANGALOREANS IN KUWAIT.