1. Family Development Program
Family is the basic institution of the society. Pope Francis says, “Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself”. By this the Pope means that family is an integral part of the society and when the family is not able to carry out its responsibilities it turns out to be a threat to the society itself. It is the family that plays the most important role in the integral development of an individual and so the development of the society; and if it fails in it, the society and the nation pay the price for it. There are several families which fail in the formation of its members due to various reasons. Among the causes, the following can be said as important: economical and social backwardness, drug abuse and alcohol, family disintegration, health issues, disabilities, domestic violence and abuses. Social action forum being a social development agency giving much importance to the well-being of individuals and families and the society at large intervenes in these issues to help families solve these issues and support them to fulfill their duties. Under Family Development Program we undertake different programs to support the families that are financially and socially backward.
a. Save A Family Plan
Right from the beginning, Social Action Forum associates with Save A Family Plan India (SAFPI) to support families which are socially and economically marginalized and backward. SAFPI implement this project with the financial support from Save A Family Plan Canada, an agency in Canada. Under this project, selected families are being sponsored by families abroad through Save A Family Plan Canada. These selected families are being provided with financial assistance and other developmental activities by which the families become self-reliant. Regular monitoring visits to the families by animators, and regional and central level meetings for the family members are being conducted to motivate the family members to improve their living conditions by making use of the assistance they receive. The fund is mainly used for income generating programs, house construction and maintenance, sanitation, medical treatment and education of the children and for any emergencies that may occur. To equip family members for income generating programs, trainings in entrepreneurship development and skill development are conducted on a regular basis. A special focus is given to the over-all development of the children of the families by supporting them for primary education and professional education. Counseling services are also provided to family members if and when needed. All through these years SAFI has been able to support more than 2000 families for a fruitful living thanks to this program. At present 300 families are being supported by this.
b. Franciscan Family Apostolate (FFA)
Franciscan Family Apostolate is a family support program to help the selected families in their needs. This program going on since the very inception of SAFI, pertains to adopting families in extreme poverty, difficulties, severe disabilities and poor health conditions for continuous monetary help as per prefixed schedules (monthly, quarterly, etc.). The financial assistance given is used mainly for medical treatment, education of children, marriage of daughters and maintenance or construction of houses. At present there are 154 families as beneficiaries for this program.
Everyone has the right to dignity and overall quality life. House as a shelter is a basic human need. The human right to housing is explicitly set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Good housing ensures healthy life and safety to people. But it is really a distressing reality that proper housing still remains a dream for a vast portion of the population of India. As per the 2011 census at least 2 million people are homeless and there is a shortage of 18.78 million houses in the country. In Kerala, according to Economic Review 2007, more than 8% of households live in extremely poor quality or dilapidated houses. As per the latest report about 7 lakhs families are homeless of which about 3 lakhs are homeless and landless. In the operational area of SAFI homelessness or not having proper livable housing is an issue. So SAFI from the beginning itself has given priority to housing and has helped to build more than 8500 houses through various schemes. Also under several other schemes financial assistance has been given for maintenance of houses. In the year 2014-2015 SAFI has launched ‘The Ruby Jubilee Housing Project’ which is to be completed in 4 phases in connection with the Ruby Jubilee of the Diocese and SAFI. This project is being implemented with the assistance of various organizations, companies and good-minded people.