Maria Seva Sangha (M.S.S) is a charitable society registered under Section 12A of the Indian Income Tax Act. Maria Seva Sangha was established in 1981 to undertake educational, medical, housing and other social activities in aid of the poor and the underprivileged of all ages, irrespective of caste, creed, and community.
The initial seeds of Maria Seva Sangha was planted by Ms. Ethel Brito, a prominent social worker. Back in the 1970s, Ms. Brito was strongly concerned by the poor quality of life of the weaker sections of society in Bangalore. Her dream of improving the plight of the underprivileged began to grow and in 1981, the Maria Seva Sangha was born, to cater to their needs.
Some of the issues that Ms. Brito felt strongly about inlcuded:
Poor, deserving students not being able to pursue higher studies due to financial constraints.
Hundreds of poverty stricken children attending school on empty stomachs.
Shortage of housing for battered women, widows and low income group families.
Large numbers of elderly people desperately wanting care and shelter.
In 1981, Ms. Brito, along with a group of like-minded, public-spirited people, set up a voluntary organization and they called it, Maria Seva Sangha. They worked together to obtain registration, tax-exemption, FCRA sanction and the like, to establish the institution's credentials in the eyes of the public. Several projects were launched to support economically deprived children, widows, families and elders, through a strong financial base slowly built up by the generosity and goodwill of donors.
However, following prolonged litigation, spanning over one-and-a-half decades, related to the eviction of tenants and settlement of claims on properties bequeathed to MSS, the Sangha's resources were severely depleted.
With good support from donors and the public, on closure of these issues, the Sangha has been able to embark whole-heartedly on two new projects, the Senior Citizens Home and the development of apartment buildings and residential sites for the underprivileged- Mathrudhan- at Krishnarajapuram .
The Midday Meal Scheme for underpriviledged children commenced in 1987. It aims to improve attendance in schools along with the health of the children and their performance in studies. The incentive of free midday meals pulled children from slum areas into schools thus avoiding them getting involved in theft, drugs prostitution, etc.
They currently aid 21 schools in Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural. The monitoring of meals effectiveness is done by Maria Seva Sangha aided by St.Anne's Women's Degree College, Ulsoor.
Over the past 37 years, the dream of one lady has become a reality, benefiting thousands of poor and needy persons and has given the members of the MSS great personal satisfaction for their selfless service.