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TEN YEARS SINCE THE ENCOUNTER

Every one who has visited St. Martin CSA or has read about the organisation is probably familiar with the encounter of the young priest and Thomas the young man with multiple disabilities who had been neglected for many years.  

This life changing meeting took place in 1997 ten years ago and meant the beginning of St. Martin CSA. Starting with a small group of volunteer parishioners whose mission was to find out how many more people like Thomas where suffering in silence.

After this first committee of 11 volunteer in the Community Programme for People with Disabilities the organisation grew rapidly. The programmes dealing with violence and human rights , street and needy children, HIV/AIDS and finally savings and micro credit were born in response to the existing needs of the community.
In 1999 the organisation was officially registered as a trust. Therefore the official 10 years anniversary will take place in 2009. Nevertheless for many people, being part of its inception in 1997, 2007 was a special year to be marked in their calendars.

Although St. Martin CSA feels like a young girl growing towards maturity it has already grown through many important changes in search of its identity and deepening the community based approach through the Gospel of Service.

Over the years the importance of creating solid chains of solidarity by connecting faith to life through action has become the backbone of the organisation realizing that only by facilitating attitude change in both the hearts and minds of the people a sustainable solution can be reached.

St. Martin CSA has learned that once the poor are put at the centre it is possible to build bridges between groups of people and denominations through exposure and dialogue. The initiatives carried out by the volunteers and staffs as well as collaborating religious groups are beginning to sprout small shoots of solidarity. Situations; where people come together to share their surplus with the needy in their midst. Situation; where neighbours care for the sickly next door. These shoots are still fresh and like all things new and precious it needs protection, care and attention.
St. Martin CSA is still that young girl, maturing, nestling its roots in modern days challenging soil but with the help of many people of good will, both locally and abroad, there is strong faith that one day these young shoots will blossom beautifully and bear nourishing fruits.

The many experiences encountered over the last period have made a great impact on the people connected to St. Martin CSA as the changes in the lives of the beneficiaries were perhaps less intense then the changes made in the lives of the ones who served.

We have realized that many people come to serve in St. Martin to help, only to realize that they also benefit.

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