“I have no remembrance of my home, my parents…. I was on the streets from my earliest memory. We were a group of children that lived around the Marine Drive….picking, begging... I don’t know how I reached the streets. May be I didn’t have to reach …. I was already there from my beginning,…may be.
One day we were all rounded up by the police. ` Beggary is prohibited. You have no more right to be on the streets, because you are beggars.’ they told us. In the police van we were transported to the Relief Settlement of Corporation and locked up. Men and women, sane and insane, children and aged…. A big number of so-called ‘social rejects’ just survived there…. and life there, was difficult….very difficult.
“Those days a couple of priests used to visit us. They came with a cinema projector and showed us films. They would spend time talking to us. Their visit was a ray of hope in the otherwise drab lives we lived there. Then the priests told us about how they and the City Corporation wanted to take us (children) away and educate us. We waited in eager expectation.
Then the day of our eager waiting ended. In an ambulance, 45 of us, who were children, were shifted to sneha Bhavan. It became my home from then on”. (The narrator of the above story is a boy who grew up under the care of Don Bosco Sneha Bhavan until his graduation in B.Sc. He continued his studies, on his own and went on do a maters degree in Business Administration. He got married and then has returned to the streets once again to initiate a mission for the rehabilitation of children on the streets of a city in the south India. He has moved ahead in life and has made a mark in life as an accomplished professional, a very sensitive human being and an honest citizen.
The beginning of Don Bosco Sneha Bhavan and the story of this boy are much connected and well bonded.
To complete the beginning of this moving story of collaboration the commitment of the City Municipal Corporation of Kochi must be taken note of. This is what is documented in the records. After the banning of beggary, the Corporation showed its strength of character and the spirit of concern by deciding to start a home for the street children rounded up by the Police. On the 6th August 1973, the Corporation council unanimously decided to entrust the task of running this home to the Salsesians of Don Bosco.
On 31st May 1974, Fr. Varghese Menacherry SDB and Fr. Gouzou SDB proceeded to the Relief Settlement and brought in the first batch of boys for training, character formation and rehabilitation. In consultation with the Corporation authorities, Fr. Varghese Menacherry named the centre, `SNEHA BHAVAN’ (Home of Love).
Thus began this unique collaborative venture, which, as the years passed by, have grown as a movement on behalf of the children/youth at-risk, especially the street children in and around the city of Kochi.

Milestones in the history of Don Bosco Sneha Bhavan

In 1974 - Sneha Bhavan was started for the street and working children / youth of Kochi city.
In 1978 - Bosco Bhavan was started to offer better facilities to those who pursued formal education.
In 1979 - Bosco Nagar opened for rehabilitating street children and their parents.
In1986 - Bosco Nilayam was started for those who have graduated from the High School and for working youth.
In 1987 - Bosco Nivas opened for those who enter into family life and established their own homes.
In 1990 - Sneha Bhavan Annexe (Shelter Kochi) was opened as a Night Shelter and as a base for street contact.
In 1992 - Don Bosco Vocational Training Centre was inaugurated as a centre for technical education and skill training.
In 1994 National Consultation on Salesian activities for youth in difficult situations especially for street boys and girls, and other young at-risk.
In 1995 - Don Bosco Open School was started for street children and school drop-outs.
In 1997 - Valsalya Bhavan, a home for girls on the street came into being.
In 1999 - Sneha Bhavan Silver Jubilee Celebration was inaugurated in presence of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Royal Edinburgh.
In 2001 - Childline – The free telephone helpline for children in distress has begun to function from Sneha Bhavan Annexe.
In 2005 - Yuva Marg - Advocacy, Research, Documentation, centre for Awareness Creation, Networking and training in youth/child related issues was launched.
In 2006 - Navajyoti Counselling Centre & Training Centre for counselors - A centre offering counseling service for children and youth and giving professional training in counseling was inaugurated.
In 2008 - Chaithanya - a 24 hours free tele-counselling services for HIV/AIDS victims.
In 2010 - Hotel management course for youngsters in collaboration with MoRD and Taj International. 2103 - Valsalya Bhavan Annexe