The initial seeds of an idea that was to become what is today known as Maria Seva Sangha were first planted by Ms. Ethel Brito, a prominent social worker. Back in the 1970s, Ms. Brito was strongly concerned by the poor quality of life of the weaker sections of society in Bangalore. Her dream of improving the plight of the underprivileged began to grow and in 1981, the Maria Seva Sangha was born, to cater to their needs.
Some of the issues that Ms. Brito felt strongly about inlcuded:
- Poor, deserving students not being able to pursue higher studies due to financial constraints.
- Hundreds of poverty stricken children attending school on empty stomachs.
- Shortage of housing for battered women, widows and low income group families.
- Large numbers of elderly people desperately wanting care and shelter.
In 1981, Ms. Brito, along with a group of like-minded, public-spirited people, set up a voluntary organization and they called it, ‘Maria Seva Sangha‘. They worked together to obtain registration, tax-exemption, FCRA sanction and the like, to establish the institution’s credentials in the eyes of the public. Several projects were launched to support economically deprived children, widows, families and elders, through a strong financial base slowly built up by the generosity and goodwill of donors.
However, following prolonged litigation, spanning over one-and-a-half decades, related to the eviction of tenants and settlement of claims on properties bequeathed to MSS, the Sangha’s resources were severely depleted.
With good support from donors and the public, on closure of these issues, the Sangha has been able to embark whole-heartedly on two new projects, the Senior Citizens Home and the development of apartment buildings and residential sites for the underprivileged– Mathrudhan- at Krishnarajapuram .
The dedicated voluntary service of the Sangha’s elected Governing Body members, consisting of social workers and persons who are holding or who have retired from positions of authority, has been instrumental in turning the initial dream into reality. To the best of its knowledge, no other social service organization in India undertakes so many diverse projects benefiting the poorest of the poor, in such large numbers. This is what makes MSS unique.
Over the past 37 years, the dream of one lady has become a reality, benefiting thousands of poor and needy persons and has given the members of the MSS great personal satisfaction for their selfless service.,