To develop a summer resort for the members of our congregation, we purchased in 1966 about thirteen acres of land with coconut, rubber and other crops. In the course of developing the site into an income generating centre, the social apostolate gained momentum and took new dimensions. With an ardent desire to do something creative and effective for the uplifting of the weaker sections of the society, Devamatha Province together with its friends registered a charitable society under the title “KURIAKOSE ELIAS SERVICE SOCIETY (KESS)” in 1974.
The organisation, which takes up socio, economic, educational, health promotional and charitable activities, is secular in all its aspects. The members of KESS consist of judicious mix of Priests, Engineers, Lawyers, Professionals, Businessmen, Industrialists, and institutions committed to the cause of the poor and needy. KESS has engaged in the overall development of 192 villages in Silwani and Searmau in Madhya Pradesh, Pollachi and Keezhmidalam in Tamil Nadu, Latur and Talwada in Maharashtra and Thrissur in Kerala.
Some of the pioneers who gave shape to the organisation include Fathers Werner Chakkalackal, Joseph Elias Ainickal Kannath and the late Augustine Thoppil. KESS is managed by a nine member board of directors. The Devamatha Province is represented in the board by its Secretary for Social Apostolate who is the ex-officio moderator of KESS. The Secretary-Cum-Treasurer is the executive and custodian of all properties.
Institutions and Activities:
1. Latur Housing Project: KESS constructed 150 new houses, one community center, village and animation development works, one stabilizer assembling unit for women victims.
2. Thrissur Integral Development project: Constructed 168 new houses, 805 sanitary latrines, 1214 smokeless choolas, repaired 454 dilapidated houses, several agricultural promotion works and employment generation programmes to the poor.
3. Self Help Groups: Formed 1050 SHGs enrolling 13000 women with an involvement of 11 crores credits with no overdue.
4. Marketing Centre: An outlet to find a steady market to the product of tiny entrepreneurs of weaker sections at KESS Bhavan ground floor.
5. Jalanidhi: KESS acts as a support organization in the field of sustainable supply of safe drinking water, hygiene & environment sanitation, women development programmes etc. of World Bank and KRWSA at Thekkumkara and Madakkathara Grama Panchayaths.
6. Tsunami Rehabilitation Project: Undertaken at Keezhmidalam in Tamil Nadu where KESS constructed 37 houses, supplied 42 Kattamarams with motors, given uniforms and study materials to school going tsunami victims.
7. Grass Root Organisation Project: Undertaken to strengthen grass root level organization working for the weaker sections of the society and also vocational training programmes.
8. 3Kpuram and Udayagram Project: 80 houses constructed to weaker sections each having about 20 cents of land.
9. Production cum Training centre: Electronic stabilizer and inverter assembling unit, electronic motor starter, water level controller, ready made garments unit, carpentry unit, clay products, welding & fabrication unit, food materials etc. are run providing employment to weaker sections.
10. Social Activities: Running 4 creches at Puthur, Vettukad, Elanthikara, Kallur, Thoombakode and Punnamparambu giving benefit of supplementary nutrition like milk, biscuit etc. to children with the assistance of ayahas.
11. Training Centres: Imparting training in mechanized carpentry, welding & fabrication, house wiring and plumbing for self employment.
12. Students Education Promotion Programme of KESS (SEPPOK): An important Programme of KESS implementing among school going children for their intellectual, mental, physical and spiritual growth and development through awareness, counseling, distribution of study materials, sponsorship, health check up, awareness to their parents etc.
13. HAT project (HIV-AIDS-Thrissur): A project undertaken by KESS in Thrissur district to work against AIDS – the most devastating health disease in human history aiming the HIV infected patients and care to infected and affected.
14. Women empowerment: Considering the women income correlated positively with the nutritional and educational status of the family, KESS creates more income earning avenues for women by imparting training in vermin compost, ornamental fish breeding, nursery plants, kitchen garden etc.
15. Social Attitudinal change: Started continuous crusade against pan masala, drug addiction, alcohol, opium, heroin, cocaine, Brown sugar, the things which give euphoric action.
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