I am just back from my first visit to New Life Children’s Home, our newest home. It’s been three months since they came under the wing of The Miracle Foundation. Until now, the only interaction and acquaintance I have had with New Life is through the photographs, monthly reports the program coordinators share, and all the discussions we have in the office.
After two hour flight, followed by an hour and half by car, I was finally there.Being our smallest home, with only 47 children, it has just begun taking baby steps towards growth and progress under the Miracle Foundation’s guidance. I was welcomed with a bunch of smiling faces at the home’s gate. The children already knew who I was. Vinay , New Life’s Chief Functionary, had shown them the Christmas Greeting we had sent them with our picture on it. They had been told that I was coming to do all the fun things with them, and for them.
The younger children – Bhavitha, Rajeshwari, Mahima and Keerthi – were the only ones around since they had finished their exams. Sitting upstairs in the office, I could hear these kiddos chanting away the spellings of fruits, vegetables and animals. Tara, the home’s cook was the teacher and these obedient students went on for almost an hour. Later that afternoon, the older kids came back from school and were excited that they had only one more exam to go before the school closed for Makar Sakranth, the Kite Flying Festival. Each one of them was optimistic that they had fared well and would definitely score awesomely. I must share that each kid in this home is a rank holder in their respective classes and excel at co-curricular too.
I found these kids to be very well woven with their daily routines. They quickly changed into their casual clothes, washed their hands, ate evening snacks,and after drinking a glass full of milk, they quickly settled down to study. All this without the housemother having to direct them. I chose to sit with them during their study hour, knowing very well that it would distract them but I had been waiting all day to talk to them.
You would be amazed with the extent to which our conversations spanned. These kids are well read and very aware of what is happening in the world around them.We spoke about politics, sports, movies, and about New Delhi and America. They were keen to know if I had visited America and if I had seen the Statue of Liberty.They were curious and eager to know more about the country. They have asked me to get American coins and currency notes the next time I visit them.
Later in the evening, I sat down with the kids to make Valentine Day Cards. I had to make sure they understood the concept and the purpose of making these cards. They listened enthusiastically and memorized the names of the people they had written their cards too. Akila, who studies in grade 10 asked me if these uncles and aunts will know that she had made the card. I assured her they will, and we included a photograph of her in the card to make sure. We had a fun and loud session of card making, accompanied by music I played on my laptop at everyone’s request.
As I watched these kids pen down their thoughts on their cards I walked down memory lane to when I had seen each one of them in photographs for the first time.Today these kids look healthier, definitely taller and their faces all light up. They brush their teeth twice a day, wear slippers all the time, eat fruit daily (this bunch loves bananas), eat vegetables and lentils daily, and have all the material for their studies. The older girls said that their communication skills had improved after the life skills sessions were conducted for them. The pre-primary kids excelled in studies and each kid looked happy and cheerful. Their eyes literally glistened.
I make visits to homes every now and then, and each home is different. The common thread joining them is the quest of the home’s team to do better for these children and to provide them with the family life, love, nutritious food, education and the care they deserve. Vinay said something during our conversation that assured me these kids are in the right hands: “I don’t know if I am giving these children the right food or toys to play with but I can assure you that these kids are living in a family and with a family who will always be there for them. I am their father, they will always find me with them.”
With love and gratitude,
Communications and Sponsorship Co-ordinator
Miracle Foundation, India