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Damien Social Development Institute

Scheduled to visit:
Holy Savior Parish, Rumford

The Damien Social Development Institute (DSDI) of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary has been serving persons afflicted by leprosy (Hansen’s disease) ever since members of the congregation arrived in the state of Odisha, India, in 1979. Their mission was to carry out the legacy of St. Damien of Molokai, bringing rays of hope and dignity to the most excluded group of persons in our society. There are currently five leprosy colonies with 1,100 affected families.

The institute has trained doctors and para-medical workers to treat leprosy patients. It operates clinics and dispensaries, distributing medicine free of charge, offering free medical checkups, and holding health awareness camps.

DSDI also operates a hostel for students coming from leprosy-affected and very poor families. It offers a sponsorship program to them and provides free study materials. It also operates free, non-formal education centers to serve poor students.

With many afflicted with leprosy abandoned by their families, DSDI has worked to ensure they have proper shelter, renovating housing in the leprosy colonies. It provides training in various trades, so that those in the colonies can earn a living, rather than having to beg on the streets.  That includes a women empowerment program which teaches tailoring and beautician skills.

If you would like to support the work of the Damien Social Development Institute, please visit the online giving page of the Parish of the Holy Savior.

If you would like to learn more about the work of DSDI, visit the website of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary or click here.