From Oppression Springs Safety, Community, And Hope with Sister Lucy Kurien, Will Keepin, Ph.D. & Chaya Pamula

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In 1991 a young woman came to Sister Lucy Kurien seeking refuge from her husband's threats to kill her. With no resources available, Sister Lucy sent the woman away with a promise to help the next day. That night the raging husband set fire to his wife, burning her and her unborn child alive. It took six years of unwavering determination, but Sister Lucy set out to create Maher, a model refuge for abused women and children in India. At Maher they receive shelter, food, and medicine - but also love, and the support of a community that can sustain them for a lifetime. And now, Sister Lucy stands strong at the center of a safety net that defies raging husbands, corrupt government officials, and the institutionalized degradation of women. Through Maher she is changing the culture of oppression that pervades her country, and her pioneering work is sending ripples of hope throughout the world as others follow in her footsteps. As Sister Kurien tells us, "It's not only that we look after women and children, but we also work to see how women and children will not need a home like Maher." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Sister Lucy Kurien is founder of Maher, which has provided refuge to more than 1400 women, half of whom would likely have been murdered, committed suicide, or starved to death. Chaya Pamula was inspired by Sister Lucy to found Sofkin, a support organization for needy children in India. Will Keepin, Ph.D. is co-director of Satyana Institute's Power of Reconciliation Project.

Will Keepin isco-author of:

To learn more about Maher go to; for Chaya Pamula go to; for Will Keepin go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How healing can overcome boundaries of religion, culture, and even caste
  • Why the suicide rate of teenage Indian girls is twenty-two times that of other teenage girls
  • What we have lost in the west, and how to recover it
  • Why fostering literacy can help end the cycle of abuse
Host: Michael Toms        Interview Date: 3/22/2009        Program Number: 3311