“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared, forgotten by everybody , I think that is a much greater hunger ,a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”
The jubilant smiles, the fresh innocent voice and the charm in the faces of those wonderful kids still whispers in my ears and fills my heart with joy again.
I still remember the day when I first visited an orphanage, it was 22 April, 2012, one of the most memorable day of my life. Me with few of my college mates visited SOS Village. We purchased some drawing books, sketch-pens and some chocolates and soft drinks from the money we collected from our friends and faculties for charity and headed straight to the Village. The Word Village might sound like a typical Indian village but it was not that typical wala village it was SOS Village which is an independent, non-governmental organization which work on providing family based child care for abandoned, destitute and orphaned children’s. Typically about ten children are grouped into a house with an SOS mother and between ten and forty of such houses are grouped together as a “village” with shared facilities.
Spending time in an orphanage is a life- changing experience. Meeting the children who live there, seeing their reality, witnessing the depth of their need for love, care and attention will permanently change you. That day, we stayed there for a while and organized a lot of events for the small kids like singing, dancing, drawing etc. and rewarded the winners. The love and affection I got from those kids touched my heart and from that day I decided that I will try my best to visit such organization as much as I can and contribute something towards the needy part of society.
Since then I have been going to orphanages and old age homes and being in touch with them regularly.
India is the seventh-largest country and one of the most populous democracy in the world. It is a rapidly growing country that has seen a tremendous increase in its population over the years. The growth of India is such that it has not been able to meet with the growing demands and need of people which has resulted in a large number of people living in unsound conditions. A large portion of people here, comes below the Poverty line. The most affected groups of this unbalanced socio economic situation are mostly, children and women. From Poor sanitation facilities to children getting zero exposure to education, people here suffer each day to make their ends meet.
There are many Foundations and NGO’s in India who are directly benefitting thousands and thousands of children and their families every year. They have many welfare projects on education, healthcare, livelihood and women empowerment. The Mother Teresa foundation is one amongst them
The Mother Teresa Foundation is a non – government development organization working for the unwanted, uncared and unloved peoples in the society. It is because the most terrible poverty in the world is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved. Following the footprints of its patron Saint Mother Teresa, the foundation has been concentrating in the fields of education and health of the poor and downtrodden in various ways. The Foundation has been collaborating with other agencies, both governmental and non-governmental towards bringing up the poor children, women and farmers in the mainstream of life.
After coming to Mumbai I have been visiting some orphanages on a regular basis. One among them is a Prem Daan Foundation.
Prem Daan , started in 1992 ,is a part of Mother Teresa missionary foundation ,which inculcate the core values of Saint Mother Teresa to create a healthy ,compassionate and responsive world.
Run by the Missionaries of Charity in Airoli, Prem Daan is a place which gives shelter to some 140 destitute women who stay with a total of 155 inmates. Among the 15 other members of the house, there are 8 sisters who manages the entire house, 2 boys are there who do the outside work such as purchasing vegetables, medicines and all stuffs and rest 5 are the helpers who take care of the hygiene of this abandoned women and look after their daily needs.
I frequently visit these place whenever I get time. This time I decided to take my roommate Kanika along with me because she has never been to such kind of places. We took some of our old clothes along with us and purchased a big cake for them. Our only intention was to bring a smile on the faces of these beautiful hearts.
As soon as we reached there, it started raining badly so we decided to sit there for a while and meet them during their dinner time which was at 5:30 PM. As it was raining and we were outside, we were called inside the house by a sister, I forgot to ask her name but let’s say her name was Meera, who is the head of the house. She told us many things about the foundation and how it works. When I asked her the question about the women’s in house, she said these women’s are picked up from the streets of Mumbai, Goa and some regions of Konkan. Sometimes police also brings some women who need urgent medical attention and care. Most of them are mentally disturbed and suffer from several diseases like cancer, Aids and other skin diseases. Proper care and medical attention are given to this ladies, to make their health a little better. There are many in-house physiotherapy and meditation programs conducted in the house for their betterment, which has resulted in tremendous improvement in their mental condition.
Sister Meera also told many things about why service to mankind is the service to God. And she was very happy with our gestures and appreciated us about our thoughts.
Added to that Sister said they don’t have a family, so no one comes to visit them. bPeople like you are the family to them , so do come and visit them. We are here to see that they don’t die on the streets.
Baaton hi baaton main kab 5:00 baj gaye pata hi nahi chahla. Tabhi we saw another bunch of ladies came with some fruits for donation.
It was then 5:30 we went near the dining area where all of this ladies assembled for their dinner. I was shocked by knowing that few of them still remember me when I visited them around 5 month back. A cute beautiful lady called me and said, “didi aap pehle moti thi, abhi patli ho gayi ho “and hugged me tightly with lots of love and affection filled in her eyes. Suddenly another lady came and asked me “kya leke aaye ho humare liye is baar?? Isbaar phir se cake laye??? bahut accha lagta hai cake mujhe ,aaj mujhe do dena ” she winked , and started blushing and went inside to hide herself. We then started interacting with this women’s, asked them their names and there well beings. Few responded happily while some other couldn’t understood what we were saying, few wanted to talk but were unable to while other cried and hugged us tightly. I was happy and sad at the same time. I had a mixed feeling which cannot be expressed in words. Secretly I had two drops of tear in my eyes .Anyways after the interaction session they started their prayer and we cut the cake all together with a big smile on our face and distributed the cake to each one of them. And the blessing lady again came to take her two pieces of cake, she was a damn cute lady I ever met. We allowed them to eat peacefully and bid adieu to them and again went to meet sister Meera, we denoted some money for their medical expenses and returned back.
Visiting orphanages is a life changing experience and we start appreciating the little things in the life when we see some people don’t have what we have.