STREET PROVIDENCE TRUST – Striving to end Hunger and Homelessness in Goa

STREET PROVIDENCE is a rehabilitation centre for the people on the streets who are neglected, sick, drug addicts and alcoholics. It functions as a registered Charitable Trust.

It is involved in picking up homeless men, housing them in designated homes and providing them food, clothing, medical treatment and rehabilitating them to stand on their own feet.

It also has an ambulance to transport the needy to hospitals.

STREET PROVIDENCE is supported by and works with Goa Police, Goa Medical College (GMC) and numerous volunteers, as well as various other organizations.

 1) What is Street Providence’s mission?

STREET PROVIDENCE is constituted solely for the purpose of caring and rehabilitating homeless street people, drug & alcohol addicts, the poor, the marginalized and abandoned senior citizens regardless of their community background and place of origin.

 “TRUSTEES – (L-R} Mrs. Joanita Pinto, Mr. Donald Fernandes, Adv. Caroline Collasso, Mr. Frederick Mendez.

Our Objectives:

  • Rehabilitation of men, women & children abandoned on the streets of Goa in our eight Homes across Goa.
  • Caring for street people suffering from HIV / AIDS, Cancer, Tuberculosis, Physical & mental disabilities
  • Caring for women and children from broken homes or violent situations
  • Food Bank to collect excess food from Hotels and Eateries to feed the poor.
  • Medicine Bank to dispense free medicine to the poor.
  • Fees Bank to assist under privileged children get a formal education.
  • Clothes Bank to help needy families
  • Water Bank providing potable drinking water free of cost to those in need.
  • Monthly free dry rations are given to 250 HIV infected families costing Rs. 1,000/- per ration to help build immunity and sustain longevity of life and prevent children from  being orphaned at an early age.
  • 250 Ration Kits every month provided free of cost across the Goan villages to the poor people of Goan origin. (POGO Rations).
  • Daily free 170 breakfast meals, freshly cooked served outside major Government Hospitals to the poor relatives accompanying the patients.
  • Daily free 600 lunch & dinner meals, freshly cooked are served on the streets of Goa to the poor.
  • Providing relief material during natural calamities. In August 2018 Kerala floods, STREET PROVIDENCE dispatched Rupees 1.5 Crore worth of Drinking bottled Water, food, clothing, medicines, household items to the affected. During the Covid pandemic we have till date distributed Rupees 50 Lakhs worth of food and medicines.

2) How did the Organization’s journey begin?

Donald Fernandes, a 45-year-old Sales Executive by profession travelled in Goa by road a lot. During this travel, he saw and met many poor & emancipated people on the streets begging for food and water. These scenes troubled him a lot and stirred a fire within to do something to help them. He shared his dream with his wife Dorothy and they prayed to God to help make it happen.

In the year 2013, they felt compelled to cook and distribute food to the poor in their vicinity and began cooking out of their own kitchen for a group of 50 poor people living nearby.

In the year 2015, he bought an Ambulance to ferry the poor to hospitals.

Donald realized that the poor had no access to fresh clean drinking water. In the year 2016, he installed a tap in his compound which offered filtered well water freely to the under privileged and opened his well to them, permitting them to take as much water as they require. He installed a water tank in his modified vehicle and parked the vehicle in areas inhabited by the underprivileged and gave them fresh drinking water.

2017 was a very important year for STREET PROVIDENCE. The first Food Bank was started by Donald at his home.

He used social media to get local people, Hotels, Factories, Canteens and Wedding Halls to donate excess food. The response was overwhelming and in a short span of time STREET PROVIDENCE installed 38 freezers all over Goa and 3 in Karnataka and 1 in Maharashtra.

3) How many people have you fed or looked after till date?

Till date 300 men and women have lived in our shelter homes. Of these 197 have been rehabilitated through counselling and are now reunited with their families.

19 inmates have died since 2017 and last rites conducted as per their faith.

At present 84 inmates live in our Shelter Homes.

Since December 2017, the FOOD BANK has distributed 6,10,200 meals approximately to the people on the Street in Goa.

Medicines worth Rs. 4,01,440 have been dispensed to the needy.

Clothes, Personal Items and Toiletries worth Rs. 1,90,000 have also been distributed to the vulnerable groups.

4) Is your night shelter services safe for women and children?

Two-night shelters one in Panjim and another in Margao were operational till March, 2020.  Every night 50 homeless men availed of the facility. They were given a mat to sleep on and bread and tea before they left in the morning. However due to the Covid pandemic it was decided to shut down the Panjim shelter. The Margao shelter continued providing the service as there was more space for physical distancing, but ultimately that also was shut down for the same reason. There is no facility yet for a night shelter for women and children.

5) What would you like to tell our readers?

There is a lot of hunger and homelessness in the state of Goa, not only among the migrants but also amongst our ethnic Goans.  In addition, there is alcohol and drug abuse in families leading to domestic violence and abject poverty.

We need:

VOLUNTEERS – to implement our various programs.

BENEFACTORS – to financially support our programmes.  Benefactors can avail of 50% rebate u/s 80-G of the Income Tax act.  We also accept donations in kind  namely dry rations, toiletries and other personal items.

PROFESSIONALS like Doctors, Nurses and Counselors to attend to the mental and physical health of the inmates in the Shelter Homes.

PART TIME DRIVERS – to transport food from eateries to the food bank freezers installed in 38 locations across Goa.

People willing to give their time and resources may Contact Shri. Donald Fernandes on WhatsApp Number: 83800 97564 / 7020314848.

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