Light To Life
Light to Life is a project of The Mar Thoma Mission Board of the Diocese of North America and Europe that was launched in October 2017. Our Diocesan Episcopa, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos, identified the need of supporting less privileged children who were deprived of their basic necessities of food and education in the remote villages in different parts of India. Thus, the Diocesan Assembly held on April 22, 2017 decided to take up the project and help such children in need.
The Light to Life program provides the members of the Diocese with an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child by donating $20.00 per month. This amount helps to support the educational and physical development of children also helps to provide value based education and socio-emotional learning. Sponsors are encouraged to support this project by sponsoring children for five years. The details of the beneficiary which includes the name, photo, hobbies, age, etc. is provided to the sponsors which helps the sponsors to create a spiritual bond by remembering the beneficiary in their prayers.
In partnership with different agencies and dioceses of the Mar Thoma Church, the aim of this project is to reach out to 5,000 children in a span of five years providing necessary education and wholesome food for every child. The support received from the parishes and individuals towards this cause is praiseworthy. Achens and Promoters in each parish have done tremendous work in organizing sponsors for this cause. In the report year, a total of 3,342 children were supported by the Light to Life program through the Christian Agency for Rural Development (CARD), Ranni– Nilackal Diocese, Chennai–Bangalore Diocese, South Travancore Agency for Rural Development (STARD), Kottayam-Kochi Diocese, and Mission Centers under the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (MTEA).
The Mar Thoma Mission Board continues to work to ensure that the funds sent to India for charitable activities (child care/development programs) are utilized for the purposes for which they are sent and that the programs and projects are professionally planned, implemented, and operated with a high standard. In the matters of monitoring programs and finances, the Mar Thoma Mission Board has entered into an agreement with Holistic Child Development India (HCDI) since January 1, 2019. The function of HCDI is to make certain that program activities are regularly monitored, funds are carefully checked and regulated, staff are periodically trained, information and data are maintained by each project, and that from time to time the projects are assessed and evaluations are carried out to help improve the quality of the programs of the projects.
In the report year, the corona virus pandemic caused many practical difficulties in conducting regular programs at the various mission centers that are being supported. Therefore, in response to the pandemic and the additional needs of the children and their families, the mission centers were able to organize distribution of hygiene and medical supplies and food kits. Many of the sponsored children and their families greatly benefited from this particular outreach that was provided.
The Light to Life Subcommittee is ever grateful for the timely and sound advice provided by the Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos. Ms. Liz Mathew, Mr. Vinod Varghese, and Mr. Jinu Varghese helped in coordinating and maintaining the details of the beneficiaries and sponsors, while Ms. Blessy Philip maintained the financial records. Rev. George Abraham serves as the Diocesan Secretary and Convener. Rev. Christopher Phil Daniel serves as the Program Manager, and Mr. Shawn Varghese, Dr. Molly Kurien, Dr. Reshma Phillips, Mrs. Elsy Abraham, Mrs. Jolly Babu, and Mr. Aju Daniel serve as Subcommittee members.