to Padma Shri Sr. Sudha Varghese on Sunday 26th Nov.
ICC arranges a reception to
Padma Shri Sr. Sudha Vaghese on Sunday 26th Nov. 2006 at Stadlau Church Hall, 18:50 hrs. after the Holy Mass
Varghese, member of Notre Dame Sisters
Congregation has been awarded a Padma Shri
this year. She has been living and working
at a village named Jamsaur in Patna
For the past 20 years,
Sister Sudha Verghese, has untiringly devoted herself to
the service of Musahars, the Dalits of Bihar and Uttar
These people are counted to the most backward, lowest
and poorest Dalits in the society. They live in abject
poverty in small villages in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
While other people in the world are avoiding the
Musahars, Sister Sudha Varghese travelled all the way
from the prosperous district of Kottayam in Kerala to be
with them, to live with them and dedicate her life to
their progress – a truly expertly lifework. Today,
Sister Sudha's accomplishments are many. She
centres for Musahar girls and mainstreams them into
society. Sister Sudha's organisation "Nari Gunjan" runs
50 educational centres for Musahar girls where about
1,500 students learn academics and also vocational
skills such as stitching and embroidery. She fights
court cases for those against whom crimes have been
committed. Sister Sudha is active in 50 villages of the
Danapur and Phulwari Sharif area, about 40 km from Patna.
Sister Sudha first came to Bihar from Kottayam district
in Kerala with Notre Dame sisters at the age of 16 in
1965. Later in the 1970s, after her graduation, she
returned to work in the schools run by Notre Dame. But
Sister Sudha Varghese did not like the urban-centric
approach of Notre Dame and was more interested in
working in villages.
During her initial visit to different areas of the
state, she was deeply shocked by the condition of the
socially condemned Musahars. In 1986, she created a
movement when she started staying at a Musahar village.
People from other castes and communities disprized her
but it did not bother her. Far from it - it was a small
beginning for her. Especially in education a lot of
things had to be done. Even today the literacy rate is
just 0.2 per cent among Musahar women and 2 per cent
among the men. Working for the uplift of Musahars has
been no easy task.