Name of the Organization: Hayden Hall Social Service Institute
Founder’s Name: Fr Edgar Peter Burns, SJ (26 April 1925 – 17 May 2010)
Named After: Fr Edward Hayden, SJ (15 October 1893 – 25 May 1979)
Year of Establishment: 1969
Vision: Inspired by God and moved by the disabling culture, we believe in sustainable human growth through compassionate service with a preferential option for the marginalized.
Motto: Human Development through love and service
Hayden Hall began as a drop-in centre for the somewhat more privileged students at St. Joseph’s College, to expose them to the realities of community life and social work. Our founder, Father Edgar P. Burns, moved into the old building with three other St. Joseph’s teachers and ran an evening college for people whose day jobs prevented them from going to university. Then, Darjeeling had a devastating season—landslides, a terrible fire, and refugees from Tibet and Bangladesh. Fr. Burns realized the focus of Hayden Hall needed to change. He wanted more medical programs, nutrition, income-generation. His lifelong dedication to the poorest of the poor became a positive reality in Hayden Hall when the first building was purchased in 1969.
Hayden Hall has for fifty years been dedicated to the alleviation of poverty, especially among women and children in Darjeeling and the surrounding hills. Its programs include mother and child health, education, income generation for women, and a food-distribution program for at-risk mothers and infants as well as the elderly. Hayden Hall was inspired and lifted into reality by Fr. Edgar P. Burns, who –along with many dedicated local residents– instigated its beginnings and guided its growth and development until his death in 2010.