January 2, 2004 

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Beena Sebastian, Cultural Academy for Women, Ernakulam

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Beena Sebastian chose her area of service based on her qualifications rather than the business concerns of her husband.  Beena, wife of Sebastian, owner of Keluthara Work Trades, Ernakulam, would rather prefer the joy of running a rescue and shelter home for women than be involved in the thick of her husband’s business.

A degree in counseling had prepared her to listen to the woes of women subjected to domestic violence.  But one day when someone brought to her house at night, a women intent on committing suicide, her life took a deeper involvement than counseling.  The women had been branded with a burning pan and had in desperation, tried to jump from the bridge with her child.

With the support of her husband, Beena let the woman stay in her house that night.  Next day she took her to the hospital and dressed the wound.  And till the estranged couple came to terms again, Beena let the hapless woman stay with her.

Sometime later, a pregnant woman with domestic problems had to be put up at their outhouse.  It was after she left that Beena thought of starting an institution for such women.

That was the beginning of ‘Sakhi’, an institution for women formed under Cultural Academy for Women, of which Beena is the president.  'Sakhi' lets the women stay there for 3 months, within which time volunteers of the Cultural Academy will try to bring the couple to an understanding and reconciliation.  Finding jobs for such women, keeping contact with the family even after the compromise etc too are done by ‘Sakhi’.

Beena enjoys the little joys derived from serving others than trying to gain the same through power and position.  “For helping in business, one can get good employees if reasonable salary and acceptance are offered.  But to carry out social work a person needs motivation”, she says about her outlook in life.

Courtesy: P.M., Vanitha, May 15-31,1998

Contributed by: Administrator


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