History and Activities of the Neerekshe Trust
Muranpur is a village in the interior of North Karnataka, about an hours bus ride from the nearest provincial town. It has a population of about 2000 people who live in abject poverty, being an agricultural community and dependent on erratic rainfall for their crops.
This area has already been designated as a draught-prone area and has very little option for alternate economic activity. Given the generally poor state of the community, 90% of existing wealth resides in the higher caste and 70% of the families of lower caste live below the poverty line. In early 2000, a government surveyor was sent to the district and his report indicated that the situation in this community was unsatisfactory, with existence below “third world” standards.
Due to the lack of stable economic activities and the resultant poverty and neglect, most of the inhabitants of this village suffer from perennial malnutrition, while the children suffer from retarded mental and physical development. There is no medical facility of even the primary level and the nearest medical centre is 20 kilometres away from the village. The residents have no access to any modern mode of transportation due to lack of funding and medical emergencies are handled by the village bullock cart. Diarrhoea, influenza, gastro-enteritis, and skin diseases are common problems that go untreated. There is no sanitation, no toilets, and no access to potable drinking water.
The Managing Trustee, Mr. Peter Shadrack, was born in this village. Despite the depressed situation he and his family faced, his father converted to Christianity and thus Peter Shadrack was educated in a mission school in Raichur. He grew up to become a science teacher, and after ten years of teaching he joined the Church in full time work for the poor of his village and the surrounding areas. He started by providing food and shelter to those in need from his area.
The Neerekshe Mission Project was initiated in the year June 2000. Inspired by much prayer and a deep desire to bring about a reasonably good quality education and health care to the people of Muranpur and the neighbouring villages.
The first crèche’ was started in the old ancestral home, dimly lit not far from where the cows were tied. The children did not mind the noise and the smell of fodder meant for the cows, as this was how it would be in their homes as well. They simply loved to come here. They were taught rhymes, songs, alphabets, did lots of colouring and got a nourishing meal at noontime. The parents were more than happy to bring their kids here, as the children would be fed and safe while they went to the fields.
Over time the cows have been removed, the cattle stalls have been cleaned out. and the flies have gone! There is a conduited electricity supply to lights and sockets and the room has been painted. The roof has been recently repaired after last years flood damage. The building was also used as the church holding regular Sunday services. It is in an ideal location, right next to the village well in the centre of the village and is easily accessible to the children and villagers. As the young children have grown up, they have continued coming to the church and they are now teenagers involved in the leadership. Although there are also now quite a number of adults who attend – some of whom are parents of children who Nereekshe have helped.
There is a desire to network with the other neighbouring village churches like Gabbur, Kalmala and Bommanahall, some of whom have a Christian presence, to encourage each other in their faith and witness. The church has had an important part to play in the Vacation Bible school with incredible numbers of children attending, coming from 5-6 nearby villages attend, and a Christmas Nativity Play.
Over their summer holidays the young people met every evening for a time of praise and worship and this resulted in the Youth Camp, with about 30 young people attending, held in the Summer. The young people’s session used to run late into the night - they were hungry for the word. Some of them had never heard the scripture being expounded so relevantly and appropriate to their needs. Many made serious commitment to the Lord, both girls and boys, but, to further this work some see the need to appoint a full time Pastor.