Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fr. Joe Visits the Street children at Kripa Dharavi with Sisters from the Society of the Sacred Heart.

4th April 2017,

On a hot  Tuesday morning, Fr. Joe along with the Provincial Sr. Rita Pinto and Religious Sisters from the Society of Sacred Heart, took some time off to spend quality time with the children at Kripa Dharavi.

The children were so happy to see Fr. Joe and congregation of sisters  that they took time off from their activity of drawing, add joined to embrace and talk with them.

A joy to see them dance sing, and even show their daily practice of Yoga that most of them do.The highlight was ,where two of the children, one recited an English poem and another  sang an ancient Marathi  ode ,which was moved many  and could see tears roll down their eyes. Later the children were served snacks and soft drinks, brought loving by Sister Rita Pinto the Provincial, Sister Teresa ( Fr. Joe's Sister) and the other Sisters.
As they left after enjoying the evening some of the quotes one could hear spoken by the sisters were " Although coming from deprived backgrounds, yet they looked content and very happy here in Kripa.", Said Sister Rita- Provincial of the congregation " Taken aback by their presence, very welcoming, excited, very focused and had the Fresh of God the Child."." How talented  and free they were, very happy and full in the reality- said another. "Free to express themselves, looked very relaxed although there was so much noise around, very intelligent," " Although children from deprived backgrounds yet simple, pure , committed and caring to each other." The best being  by Sr. Theresa Pereira " I saw the CHILD."
Indeed very moving quotes which showed the  trip to see the children at Kripa Dharavi in the Advent of Lent was indeed a Blessing to see Gods work uder the care of Fr. Joe and his team.


Fr. Joe - Congratulates the Kripa Research Team on the recognition of Kripa as a "Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation" (SIRO), by the Government of India, Ministry of Science & Technology till 2020.- An article by Dr. S.M. Menon

Parents, Teachers and Youth: The differing ethos of Knowledge and Attitudes to Addiction.
Glimpses from the Kripa Research Activity - 2008 to 2016.
A Report by 
Dr. M. S. Menon,  MBBS, MD. Major, AMC (Retired).
(Medical Director & Head- Kripa AIDS Initiatives)
The Kripa Foundation ( is recognized as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO), by the Government of India, Ministry of Science & Technology. The focus of research is on understanding the nature of addiction, its impact on individuals and society and developing methodologies to better address the situation and provide appropriate therapy with benefits that help individuals and community at large to make life enhancing changes in the long term.
The differing geographical and socio-ethnic considerations in the country define addiction and its outcomes as a disorder and practice with huge variability depending on location, population and cultural background, drug trade and practices, differing therapeutic options and the considerations of the ‘Law of the Land’. In India the number of drug addicts is increasing day by day. Changes in lifestyle, along with easy access to media and internet have among other factors, lowered the age of exposure to drugs and alcohol among youth. In fact substance use by young people is on the rise globally, and initiation of use is occurring at ever-younger ages.  India per se also has a huge at-risk young population with 40% being below the age of 18 years.
According to UN Convention Reports on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in 1961, 1971 and 1988, it is estimated that, in India, by the time most boys reach the ninth grade, about 50% of them have tried at least one of the gateway drugs. Many young adolescents are also observed coming in for treatment with drugs getting more potent and newer synthetic and highly addictive drugs being easily cooked up in home labs. Drug abuse continues to emerge as a strategy used by youth to cope with multiple problems of unemployment, abuse, neglect and violence. Be that as it may, there are socially integrated young people of the industrialized and developing nations who also indulge in considerable drug abuse. This could be attributed partly to the fact that a significant portion of the world’s youth population is being exposed to a more ‘drug use tolerant culture’ and that too at a much younger age.
Two research efforts were undertaken in the quoted period. One was directed at understanding the attitudes and family dynamics of parents / codependents and their drug using children in a singularly closed in semi rural community in a relatively remote region (the state of Meghalaya) and the other study was located in the metropolis of Mumbai and was directed at evaluating the outcomes of a single awareness intervention for teen age students, their parents and teachers.
In the first study where parents attitudes to their substance using child / ward was studied, the criteria for making diagnosis for co-dependent were as follows: 1. Continued investment of one’s self-esteem in the ability to control one’s self and others in the face of serious adverse consequences, 2. Assumption of responsibility for meetings other’s need to the exclusion of one’s own anxiety and boundary distortion with respect to intimacy and separation, 3. Enmeshment in relationship with personality distorted, chemically dependent, other co-dependent, and/impulse-disordered individuals and 4. Three or more of the following: excessive reliance on denial; constructions of emotions; repression; hyper vigilance; compulsions; anxiety; substance abuse; stress related medical illness; being the victim of past and current physical or sexual abuse; remaining in primary relationship with an active substance abuser for at least 2 years without seeking help.
Family and relatives suffers bio-psycho-social stresses as a result of living in this environment, which may impact on physical and mental well-being and lead to the development of problems both for themselves and other family members. This is a world wide phenomenon. These relatives need help, both for themselves and for the addict in order to deal constructively with their substance misusing relation.
In the study, majority of the parents/ guardians responded in the following manner: (a) don’t accept the substance user child (b) were aware of withdrawal symptoms (c) agree that special help is needed (d) were willing to help the child.
Parents felt the following would help the child to overcome addiction: (1) religious teaching and interactions with a religious teacher (2) professional counseling (3) rehabilitation programme  and (4) medical treatment. Parental suggestions on the best way to help the affected child included-teaching religious values, ensuring a safe peer group, counseling by the parents and help from professionals. Overall, a reasonably responsive parent group was studied, who needed further in-depth understanding of the nature, extent and manifestations of codependency and more facilitation towards empowerment.
KEY WORDS: parental awareness, health education, professional counseling, rehabilitation, codependency.
In the second study, a well known private high school in Mumbai approached Kripa Foundation to conduct a preventative educative drug awareness session for their students (Grade 8 to 12, age 14 upwards), their teachers and parents. The session aimed to (i) increase the awareness of drug addiction and related issues (ii) enable students to make informed choices and choose healthier lifestyle options by reducing high-risk behavior and (iii) provide relevant inputs so as to sensitize parents and teachers to risk and protective factors in addiction, so that they can respond to relevant concerns in an appropriate manner.
In general, factors that may contribute to youth experimenting at an early age and that which may influence their usage patterns include the following: (1) Increasingly independent lifestyles of both parents and children (2) Increasing substance use related media exposure in children (3) Declining outdoor physical activities (4) Heightened risk taking, sensation seeking behavior, easy access to drug (5) Easy accessibility of drug (6) False Consensus and (7) Adolescents differ from adults in the way they behave, solve problems, and make decision.
Drug abuse is a persistent public health problem in modern society, and a disturbing new trend is the increased recreational use of so-called “designer drugs,” “legal highs,” or “research chemicals.”  These drugs, collectively known as “new psychoactive substances” (NPS), are synthetic alternatives to traditional illegal drugs of abuse. There is a tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share one's own attitudes and behaviors. Recent research by scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has found that the teen-brain is not a finished product, but is a work in progress. This may help to explain certain teenage behavior that adults can find mystifying, such as poor decision-making, recklessness, and emotional outbursts.
Prevention programs are often designed to enhance “protective factors” and reduce “risk factors”. Protective factors are those factors that are associated with reducing the potential for drug use, and risk factors are those factors that increase the likelihood of drug use. One way to implement prevention strategies in schools is through comprehensive health education. Effective health education curricula employ practices that are grounded in research and focus on skill development such as accessing information (such as telephone help lines, information on how to help oneself or a friend etc.), advocacy (advocating for your own health and the health of others), analyzing influences (positive and negative influences of media, peers, family, self), strengthening coping mechanisms and interpersonal communication skills (refusal skills, negotiation skills).
In this study, the primary benefit of the awareness session for both groups was in the perception of alcohol as a drug. It is interesting to note that both groups, students as well as teachers and parents showed a post session increase in the percentage of correct responses to the informative item  ‘Alcohol is a drug’. A related informative item ‘Alcohol causes as much problem as drug abuse’ also showed a post session increase in the percentage of correct responses. This study also highlighted the difference in the harm perception between legal and illegal drugs in the society.
Students were animated in their discussion about how the youth nowadays prefer marijuana over cigarettes and its considered more ‘herbal’ or ‘safer’, which could be the result of aggressive negative promotion of cigarettes, where youth have started substituting it with other products which are also derived naturally from plants. Another point of intervention that could be further explored in detail with both sets of audiences (students as well as teachers and parents) is brought out through the responses which talks about the relation between Addiction and HIV AIDS. Both these are coexisting co morbidities driven by high risk behaviors.
KEY WORDS: educative preventative drug awareness, substance abuse, high risk behaviors.

A focus on the development of the self and self regulation along with values clarification, communication and interpersonal skills, decision making and critical thinking would go a long way in facilitating positive choices among the youth.
In conclusion, it has been observed that there exists a rapidly growing need for educative sessions focusing on prevention of drug use and high risk behavior owing to the highly dynamic lifestyles youth nowadays is exposed to. This approach although limited in its capacity, gives a good insight on the potential areas of primary intervention.
Acknowledgements on original research work:
To Fr. Joseph H Pereira - Managing Trustee Kripa Foundation
In Shillong: Z. Tsenthunglo Ezung (Master of Science Candidate); Kripa Shillong Team.
In Mumbai: Krishna Iyer- Development Manager, Kripa Foundation; Aninha Lobo - Associate Professor and Head, Department of Psychology, Sophia College for Women
Gratitude to:
Mr. Linus Pinto ,Mr. Mozen Heredia and Team.
Comments and correspondence may be addressed to Dr M. S. Menon at 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fr. Joe speaks on "Yoga and Cultural Synthesis" - At the Maharashtra Yoga Utsav, Mumbai, India

25th March 2017
At the ongoing Maharashtra Yoga Utsav, Fr. Joe was on a panel discussion on "Yoga & Cultural Synthesis". which was  chaired by Dr. Ishwar Acharya - Director, CCRYN (Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy). The other speakers were Dr. H. H. Sadguru Togiraj Sri Sri Mangeshda and . Dr. S. N. Pathan - Former Vice Chancellor, MIT Pune.

In his address to a well attended audience in Patkar hall, SNDT University, Chruchgate Fr. Joe spoke about Guruji BKS Iyengars unique contribution to the addicts by desiging specific protocols of asanas in addiction treatment and how he inspired Fr. Joe to go the the "poorest of the poor in Health". and stressed on the aspect of measurablity, giving the whole approach a credibility.Fr. Joe further added about the AA program of recovery and how it ignored the psycho-somatic aspect of recovery and with the  addition of Kripafoundation Iyengar Yoga™ it made the program complete,which brought about a Holistic transformation of the complete personality of an individual.

The  discussion was much appreciated and after the event many stayed back to discuss many matters of  yoga interest with Fr. Joe.

Photographs & Article submitted by:
Santosh Sedan


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fr Joe along with Sarpanch of Jamshet, Dahanu (East), Seva Dhan Trustees & Guest of honors inaugurates Kripa Seva Rehabilitation Centre

19th March 2017:
"We recycle men...."says Fr. Joe in his inaugural speech at the opening of the new centre in collaboration with Seva Dhan at Jamshet, Dahanu, Maharasthra. This centre will be called "Kripa Seva."
The inauguration was done along  with the Trustees of Kripa Seva, namely Mrs. Clema Pinto, Dr Fedrick D'Souza( who was accompanied by Mrs. D'Souza), Trustee  Retd Wing Commander Alban Rosario.excused was Trustee of Seva Mr. Joe Lobo due to his health.With the blessings of Archbishop Dr. Felix Machado, who could not be present due to prior appointments, but sent his heart filled greetings to Fr.Joe and Kripa Seva.

 The Chief Guest was the Sarpanch of Jamshet Mrs. Sangeeta Vasant Gorwala, who was accompanied by her husband Corporator Mr. Vasant Gorwala, Mr Jude Pereira, Mr. Dominic Menezes, Police Inspector Ramesh Andher, VRACS Board members Jagdish Shetty, Mrs. Manisha Kanekar ,Dr. Vinod, Dr. (Mrs) Shubhangi Patil, Mr. Sharad Vichare,Mr. Aakil Amrohi & Family, Dr Bhakti, Dr Vinay,Ganesh Tarade and staff led by Mr. Amit Patel. In her speech the Sarpanch was so touched by the humbleness and genuine concern for the upliftment of the poor by Fr. Joe,that she assured all support towards the cause of kripa Foundation in her area of judiciary

The advisory board member of VRACS Dr. Hemant Patil stated that at Russell Dham (the name given by Fr. Joe to the building in memory of the founder of Seva Dhan Mr. Russel Pinto) would not only be for rehabilitation for addicts, but will also house doctors who will come from Vasai once a week to treat the local tribals for their medical needs. This got a big round of applause from the locals who had come in large numbers as there is a shortage of medical facilities in these areas.

After the traditional lighting of the lamp, Fr. Joe inaugurated the room that has been done for his visit at the centre and also blessed and placed a portrait of Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata in the prayer room which was bought by Mr. Bruno Coelho along with a crucifix.. Earlier a statue of Our Lady of Mount was gifted by Bosco D'Souza's family.

The Guest were  entertained to some great music and tribal folk dances by children and youth of the village, this was choreographed by our staff Rajesh Gound a tribal himself. Everyone enjoyed  the hidden talents of these children.
Fr. Solomon accompanied by the Parish Priest of Ashagad Fr. Joe Gonsalves, Fr. Dominic, Fr. Jacob and Fr Yogesh prayed and recited  the Graced before meals, especially praying for the good health of Fr. Joe, who is reaching out into remote areas of the country, helping people live an addiction free life from substance abuse and HIV/AIDS care through yoga and the 12 steps program of AA, incorporated in the Kripa Model of Treatment. The guest were treated to a sumptuous lunch, specially cooked by the staff and family of kripa Dahanu.
In a big surprise to the guest all were given to take away vegetables that were grown on the farm of Kripa Seva Dahanu. This was a very touching gesture on behalf of Fr. Joe to all the guest who took some vegetables as they left for their journey back home.
Indeed it was a memorial day and people took along cherished memories of Kripa Seva Dahanu.
 A special mention of gratitude to staff Vijay Mehta, Mohan Mehta and  Akshay Sawant, Ashley, Vasant, Elmer, Sanjay who have worked 24 x 7 to make things possible, Richard Bhenka, Wilson Fernandes, Rajesh Gound, Pravin Shinde, Mr. Linus Pinto, Fr. Seraphine Ekka, Mrs. Jean Pereira, Mrs. Alka Raut,  Bruno Coelho, Mozen Heredia, Shamit, Godwin,Ozwin,Khemchand, Mervyn Roccha, Oscar, Ashwin Fernandes, Joseph Saldanha, Suman Bhattacharjee, Suryakant, Terence,Mervyn, John, the patients of Kripa Dahanu and family members of staff especially Charmaine D'Souza, Mr. & Mrs Eknath and Aparna Eknath Sawant ( Parents of Akshay's), Stephen D'Souza and Antoinette D'Souza, Dr. Amol Gaikwad for extending his medical help to the in-house patients.

Photographs by
Stephen D'Souza
Viajay Mehta
Amit Patel.

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