The Good Samaritan Mission in Mumbai

Brief hints of a long story

In 1994 Peter Paul Raj founded his mission, the Good Samaritan Mission. The previous year, in 1993, being he a missionary of charity in the Order of the Brothers of Mother Teresa, during his usual spiritual retreat he felt the vocation and the belief that his destiny was to go to Mumbai to serve the poor, leaving the confraternity of which he was part to carry out his mission.

Peter Paul Raj

So, Peter Paul (see photo on the side) moved to Mumbai (a megalopolis of about 20 million registered inhabitants), but without economic capital. After only three days he met a man who, given his intentions, offered him a room where he could sleep.
For the next three years Peter Paul went every day to the Dadar station, one of the main railway hubs of the city, where hundreds of homeless people flocked to beg and to live on expedients. Peter Paul took care of the children who lived there, cutting their hair, nails and providing medical care. People began to get to know him and to bring food to be distributed to the children who lived in a state of complete abandonment.

In 1997, a group of Italians who had come into contact with him took over the costs of what would become the first house of the Good Samaritan Mission, the Mother House, in the slum-area of Vikhroli (see map below). This is how the first family home for street children was born, inhabited by two women – who unfortunately ended up living in the station – their children, and other children who lived on the sidewalks.

The family-homes of the Good Samaritan Mission

Later, more and more people and associations became aware of Peter Paul’s work.
Today there are four family homes in Mumbai: three in Vikhroli, plus one in Kalambooly (New Bombay). Another one was then opened in Eluru, a rural area in Andhra Pradesh.

More than twenty years later, hundreds of orphaned or semi-orphaned children have been hosted, many of whom grew up in the family homes, spending time with peers and attending state schools, far from the dangers of railway stations and of the slum-areas, huge shanty towns, tangled alleys and open-air sewers (see pictures below).

Glimps of the slum-area of Vikhroli
Glimps of the slum-area of Vikhroli
Education changes a destiny that seemed already written

Good Samaritan Mission means a safe roof and food three times a day, but also, and above all, education. School enabled these young guests first to dream, and then to make a new future come true. Education means work, and work means leaving poverty behind, growing up in a different social environment.

Peter Paul knows that every child, boy or girl has talents, but also traumas to solve, in a social context that is far from simple.
Despite this, after higher education studies many of the first guests found a job and built a family. Among them, there are girls who graduated from university, an incredible achievement if we think that in the slums girls get married as soon as they are teenagers.

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