Every child is God’s own. He created them for a life of freedom, laughter and joy. But sadly, in India there are millions of children who can not run after the butterflies or chase the rainbow and laugh with the wind. There are children who exist at the periphery of life in gloom and in darkness. But, there is hope.
Most of us have very pleasant memories of our childhood. But all the children are not so lucky. Many of them eat only once a day, lack proper clothes and some do not have any one to care for them. They struggle for survival everyday, are exposed to abuse, both emotional and physical, at a very tender age and have only themselves to fend against the cruel world around them.
When survival itself becomes the goal in life, education becomes a distant dream and the path to crime is easiest to follow. Children living in harsh circumstances suffer for no fault of theirs and it is the duty of the more fortunate to provide all the help they can to bring back the joys of childhood to these children. By providing help to the underprivileged children not only are we bringing back smiles on their faces but also strengthening the foundations of our future society.
During our march to help the underprivileged children by bringing them back back to school we in Diya Foundation, have come across a great number of tragic stories where the children suffered for no fault of theirs. It was on the intervention by Diya Foundation that the joys of childhood were brought back to them.
Here are some of those untold stories which have been penned not to seek sympathy but to make the readers aware as to how fate sometimes plays cruel and how constructive human intervention from affluent sections of the society brings back the joy of life to these tender souls.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
This is an unusual story of a whole family united under the same umbrella, united with the same bond of hope. A twist of destiny has brought Vibha (9), Twinkle (8), Harsh (7), as well as their mother Leela Rani together to the open doors of Diya Foundation.
When Vibha was four years old, she broke her palate (Upperjaw). Even today, this medical condition requires her to undergo surgery every six months. Then, two years ago, the family was dealt a cruel blow. The children’s father died in a tragic road accident. The legal Complications regarding the case, which is still dragging on in Court, have only added to their anguish.
Diya Foundation welcomed them into its fold. The three children are now studying in classes 4, 3 and 2 respectively, at the Chetan Vidya Mandir. Sisters have decided to become doctors when they will grow up, their brother wants to be a police officer, even Leela Rani has been given employment at the school. Since she was educated, she has been appointed as a Teacher.
Free education, free Medicare, free rations…and above all, the warmth and caring of people at Diya, have together transformed the fortunes of a whole family at one go.
SURVIVING WITH CONFIDENCE
Alvira is a nine year old girl, and one of five children of Mohd. Irfan Khan, died in a brutal accident five years ago. When he died, the family lost its sole breadwinner. The children’s mother, an uneducated housewife, took up a tailoring job to somehow make both ends meet.
However, to this day, her earnings are so meager that even feeding Seema (18), Reshma (17), Fareen (11) and Nazreen (4) – apart from Alvira and herself is a challenge in itself. In fact, even thinking of their education is a distant dream. “I am so unlucky; my life is of no use… I can’t even educate my children and make their future…” she often exclaims.
Diya Foundation has made a start, by enrolling Alvira at its school. Her education is completely free, and she is also entitled to free Medicare. That isn’t all her family is also receiving support of the true life-saving kind. They will continue to get free rations until their situation improves and stabilizes.
It is hoped that Alvira’s education will be the first link in a chain of developments leading to a brighter future for all her siblings, and indeed, her mother as well.
A HEART OF GOLD
This is a story about a little boy named Goldy. He was just six years old when his father died in a tragic train accident. Suddenly, life changed completely for him and his mother, Neetu.
His grandparents turned their back upon their sons bereaved family, refusing them any support and assistance.
Out of desperation, Neetu turned to her brother for shelter and support. Here, too, both of them were treated as outcasts as a burden and a liability.
His survival instinct led Neetu to take up employment as an Asha worker with Balwadi, a social service organization. Her compensation: a mere Rs 500/- per month.
Obviously, it wasnt a salary that could ensure that Goldy went to school. But then she heard of the Chetan Vidya Mandir, a school run by the Diya Foundation.
Today, Goldy is being provided both free education and medical care. In addition, the family is being offered free rations under the Food for Hungry Programme run by the Foundation.
Life changes for those who seek and try. And ecause God has a heart of gold that over flows with compassion.
BEFORE TIME, BEHIND OTHERS
Physically speaking, Aman Sharma is 9 years old. But mentally and emotionally, he is closer to a toddler who hasjust learnt to walk and run.The circumstances of his birth are the reason for his stunted growth. He was born to an adolescent and under-nourished mother -- her second child -- and was understandably weak to begin with.
In delivering her third child soon after, both the mother and the newborn passed away. That left Aman helpless and alone in his village, in the company of his father and elder brother who themselves barely managed to eke out a frugal living as landless labourers.
Aman moved in with his uncles family of four. But being a caretaker, his uncle could not afford to educate him or address his special needs of health restoring nourishment.
Diya Foundation took the initiative to enroll Aman at Chetan Vidya Mandir. Here, he has found a world that looks after him different ways. Schooling apart, he is also receiving timely medical attention and care.
Aman has made a beginning towards catching up with students of his age. And his slow but steady progress is an encouraging sign that he is growing into normalacy.
At Diya, we affectionately refer to him as a special child. We hope to soon see him become stronger, more self reliant, and less vulnerable.
ALONE, BUT NOT LONELY
Saroj Goel (75 years) is a typical example of the rapidly changing values in urban middle class society. Once happily living in Delhi with her husband and their three children (two sons and a daughter), a flourishing business, and everything to look forward to, she has seen her life transform and disintegrate. All three children are well educated and now comfortably settled with families of their own.
Harmony prevailed in the house until her husband was alive. However, after his sudden demise in 1988, things changed. Her sons and daughters-in-law began to ignore her, question her, disrespect her, and even slight her. It came to a point where she decided she couldnt take it any longer.
A few years ago, she finally moved out to an old peoples home. Her daughter-in-law visits her just once a year on karva chauth. She also visits her sons once or twice a year but the warmth and feeling are gone.
In the twilight of her life, Saroj has found in Diya Foundation the friendliness and understanding that she seeks. Throughout the last five years that she has been staying at the Geeta Mandir old age home, Diya has been by her side -- supporting her, caring for her, meeting her needs from food to medicines. Alone she might feel sometimes, but Saroj will never be lonely.