Love is All You Need

As the Beatles so rightly once said, love really is all you need.

Manali was born in the month of November, 2005 and is currently studying in the 3rd standard. She lived with her two brothers and parents in a rented accommodation located in Bhandup.
Her mother worked as a domestic help while her father struggled with alcohol and
was unemployed. The result of this, was her parents constantly had fights and her father used to beat up her mother over money issues.

To make sure he got money to continue his habit, Manali’s father used to send her out to beg on the streets while her mother was away.

One day, while she was begging on the streets her uncle saw her, took her home and found out all that was happening. He went and told her mother, and when she found out, she left her husband.
Manali’s father then took his two sons and left for his village, but Manali stayed back with her mum.

Manali’s mother would leave every morning for work and return only by late evening. One of her acquaintances saw this lifestyle and spoke to her regarding admitting Manali into a home. Her mother soon agreed, and applied to the court for her admission, leading to Manali being admitted in 2011 to Bal Kalyan Nagri in Mankhurd, a suburb of Mumbai.

Sahaara met with Manali here at this home.
Initially she was a very reserved child and refused to mingle with other children. She did not speak to anyone and was fearful of adults.
Since she had not been schooled at all, she did not know to read or write and she would have absolutely no recollection of what was taught to her the previous day.

The Sahaara staff put in a lot of effort to engage with her and help her learning process. They used various methods like personal attention, flashcards, games, activities, counseling as well as giving her responsibilities in class to distribute and later on gather, books and pencils.

Her fear in interacting with adults stemmed from the fact that her father used to beat her and force her to go begging. But those days are long gone! She now interacts with the staff and mingles with other children too! She has learnt to read and write and copes very well these days.
A little bit of love and personal attention and she is a transformed girl!

She enjoys dancing and wants to grow up to be a doctor.

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The Transformation

We met with Rakesh in July 2013 at the Chembur Children’s Home at Mankhurd. He joined our coaching class and was in the 2nd standard.

When Rakesh initially began attending the coaching classes that Sahaara conducts in CCH, he had no interest in his studies, his appearance was dirty and his bathing habits were irregular.

He made multiple attempts to escape from the Home but was always caught by the authorties and brought back.

In our daily interactions with him we noticed that he was a loner and a very emotional child. He rarely mixed around with the other boys and was constantly caught up in his own world.

As the teachers engaged with him, he slowly began opening up and shared his entire life story.

Rakesh and his family lived on the streets in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai. He and his sister used to beg and his parents were daily wage earners.

One day when Rakesh (who was around 8 years old at the time) and his sister returned home, they could not find their parents. They looked all over but they were nowhere to be found.
Not having a place to stay and not knowing what to do now, both he and his sister continued to beg on the streets for a living.

A few days later he could not trace his sister either. He searched all over for her but he never found her.

Rakesh was shell-shocked, as in a matter of a few days he had lost his parents and his sister. He started wandering around, slipped into bad company and in a short while, got into substance abuse leading him to begin stealing for a living. 
This continued for some time and, one day, while he was travelling in the train with a friend, he was apprehended by the police and placed in the New Observation Home at Mankhurd.

His addiction to cigarettes and whitener compelled him to make many attempts to run away from the Home – but he was always caught in the act by the guards and brought back.

At this tender age he had gone through more than what many have gone through in their entire life. He had a lot of mood swings because of his addictions and when he was not able to get to them he would get extremely frustrated and angry.

But his opening up helped him as, for the first time, he felt that someone was listening to him and actually guiding him.

He began sharing about his life and all about his stay and struggles in the Home. This sharing and the counsel that he received from the teachers began shaping him and over a period of four months it was noticed that he had begun mingling with other children and made new friends in the Home.

As the staff spoke to him about the importance of studies and appearance – he too began to take an interest in this.

He got taken up by the incentives that the staff offered to those children who are regular, neat, focus on their studies and make noticeable attempts to improve their handwriting and is trying hard to get stars and prizes in all these areas!

Rakesh is now one of the more responsive children in the classroom!

He is regular, neat and attentive in class and his handwriting has improved and has grown in obedience to the teacher.

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A Way Out of the Darkness

Picture used for representative purposes only.

Picture used for representative purposes only

 

Sahil* was born in 2004 in Banaras, also known as Varanasi, which is a city in Uttar Pradesh. He lived there with his sister, his parents, and his grandparents. He was studying in an English medium school too.

One day in 2010 though, all that changed when a horrifying cylinder blast killed his mother. The next few months were extremely painful for the entire family and as Sahil’s dad used to go to work, Sahil was forced to live with his grandparents.
On the surface, it seemed fortunate that his grandparents were around, but for Sahil it was a nightmare. He hated his grandparents and didn’t have a good relationship with either of them.
One day, in his anger he decided to run away from home, so he went to the railway station and boarded a train without buying a ticket, nor knowing where the train was headed.

The police on board the train noticed that something was strange about Sahil and they kept an eye on him. They asked him a couple of questions and found out that he had run away from home, so when the train reached Mumbai, they admitted him into Dongri Home.
In the Dongri home he was put in charge of a couple of children who were mentally handicapped; this involved feeding them, keeping them clean etc.

Around that time, he started hanging out with a few boys who were addicted to chewing raw tobacco, and without a few weeks, Sahil too was addicted.

At Dongri he did not receive any education for almost a year and a half, and during that time none of his family members came searching for him. Thus, in the year 2012, he was shifted to Chembur Children’s Home (CCH)

Once at CCH, he was re-admitted to the 1st standard and began to study once again.
Sahaara came into contact with Sahil through classes that we were conducting at CCH to provide supplementary education to the children.

He was still addicted to raw tobacco and due to this, his lips had started to get affected and disfigured.
For a short period of time after he began classes with Sahaara, our teachers were successful in helping him to break his addiction, but he soon relapsed.

He used to hide his tobacco in the toilet, behind the door and under broken tiles so that others would not find it.
Soon, even tobacco wasn’t enough and he couldn’t eat any food unless he had raw onions along with it. When he could not get his hands on onion, he would even eat rotten ones.

He never used to focus on his studies at all, because his mind was always thinking about where he find onions or tobacco next.

Being a tobacco addict, his speech was slurred and when it came to playing games or sports he would always back out.
Over the next few months, our teachers thought that if they appreciate the positive side of his behaviour he might change his conduct, so they kept appreciating him.
They noticed that he was actually a responsible and committed child, so they started giving him more responsibility in class. He performed the duties he was given well, and thus gained the trust of the teachers. He also said that he had stopped consuming tobacco and onions too.

One day, one of the students complained that Sahil was consuming tobacco again.
The teacher told Sahil that she trusted him, and was confident that he wouldn’t lie to her.
After a few days, he confessed that he had indeed consumed tobacco again, but was really sorry and he promised he would never break her trust again.

So far it has been 2 years since that day, and he is now in the 3rd standard. He still resides in CCH and has not consumed tobacco nor onions again. He has begun to take an active interest in his education and participates extremely well in all the activities. He also recognizes the input of the Sahaara staff in his life, and he recently said this to the teacher – “Didi, jaise aap mujhe samjhate ho, vaise koi nahi samjhata hai”
Roughly translated, that is “Didi (respectful term for someone elder to you), no-one else can help me understand things the way you do”

His life has been turned around through God’s help and the work of our staff, who offered him a way out of his addictions.
We ask for your prayers for him to continue to grow in all aspects of his life.

 

 

*Name changed to protect identity.

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Spreading Hope

hopeSujata was married to Prashant in April 2007 and were living in Koperkhairane. She was four years elder to Prashant and had a good education. She was working as a senior CRE in a 3G Spectrum Tower in Malad earning a salary of Rs 25,000/- per month. They also had a son born to them in 2009.

For some time her husband had not been able to find a suitable job and was, thus, getting home a lower salary than his wife. This, somehow, made him feel inferior and his frustration grew.
He did not know how to handle this, and started drinking and coming home late. At home, he started to abuse her emotionally and physically, sometimes until she started bleeding. He also use to threaten to kill her and her son.

One night, when her husband came home drunk and she could not take the abuse any longer, she fled her home with her son. She didn’t take anything with her, not even shoes. She spent the night on the street. The next morning she went to her parent’s house and told them the entire story. She begged them to give her and her son shelter. Her parents took her in, and lodged a police complaint the next day.

The police went with her to her old home to inquire about the matter. They knocked on the door, but it was latched from the inside. After knocking for a while, with no response, they broke down the door.

Everyone was horrified at the sight inside; her husband, Prashantvwas hanging from the fan.
She was totally shocked and after the police completed all the formalities, she was arrested under IPC 306 for the suicide of her husband.

She was produced before the Honourable Judge of Vashi Court on 10th Oct 2013 and was sent to Kalyan Prison for judicial custody.

In the third of week of October, the Sahaara staff met her for the first time. She opened up immediately and shared her entire story. She had lost all hope, and was extremely terrified.The Sahaara team counselled and guided her every time we met with her – which was twice a week. She also began attending our weekly moral education meetings. We contacted her advocate and relatives to help her in the legal procedures required to release her. In the meantime, she worked with other inmates – helping them in counselling and speaking hope into their lives!

She was released on the 7th of December 2013 and is clear about the life she has lead along with her son after she is released.
She and her parents are glad for this hope which they had got Through Sahaara and she is keen to pass this hope on to others she meets.

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From Darkness to Light

Image

Rahul Prakash Tak was born in a slum in Ulhasnagar, Thane District, in 1991. He is now 22 years of age, and has spent his entire life in Ulhasnagar.
His parents are employed in the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, and they survive on minimal monthly income. His father is an alcoholic and never really took care of him.
Rahul used to go to school daily and studied earnestly till the 7th standard. Around that time, he started hanging out with bad company and started skipping school. For this reason he did not study further than the 7th standard. As soon as he became 18, he started working on a daily wages basis as a casual labourer.

His desire was to purchase a good mobile phone, but it was out of his budget. So he accumulated some money and purchased a second-hand phone. To his misfortune, that phone turned out to be stolen. The police traced the phone, found him in possession of it, booked him for theft and put him behind bars.

The Sahaara staff met him during one of their visits to the District prison in Kalyan. They counselled him regularly and visited his home often as well. Over time, a good relationship was built between the Sahaara team and Rahul. After several interactions, He expressed his willingness to join our rehabilitation centre to try and start his life afresh. Thus on 13th September 2013 he joined our centre where he started taking part in various activities like farming and general household chores.

During the last couple of months, the Sahaara team have found Rahul to be mouldable, cooperative and hardworking. He takes an active interest in every activity and is eager to develop the many hobbies he missed out during his childhood during to the unavoidable household circumstances he faced. He is growing slowly but steadily and learning new things every day.

Now he is out of the Rehabilitation Home and is working at the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, where his parents work as well. He has a dream, which is completing his 12th Standard Board exams and studying even further! With Sahaara’s help, he has been given the chance to fulfill that dream in the near future and has been gifted a second chance at life!

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An Unfolding Miracle

(This picture is for representational purposes only)Image

Nathan’s* Story

Nathan was a 7 year old boy left homeless and vulnerable on the streets of Mumbai after his father passed away. His mother was unable to take care of him and so Nathan and his brother were the first two boys that Mahima Boys Home was inaugurated in 1999.

At Mahima he was looked after by house-parents and a maid, who helped him to develop holistically through a loving and caring environment. He was provided with food, accommodation and enrolled in Don Bosco School, which is one of the most prestigious English medium schools in the locality.

Being the eldest in the family, Nathan was accustomed to shouldering the responsibility of taking care of his younger siblings. But at Mahima, the house parents lavished him with love and attention, and he enjoyed a normal childhood.

As he grew up though, the responsibility he developed in his first 7 years came to the fore when he was selected as captain of the primary school.  In the 10th grade, he was elected captain of the entire school.
He also represented his school in football from 10 years of age until he passed out. He has enjoyed playing lead roles in a couple of school plays as well.

Nathan developed into an extremely athletic boy and won the coveted Championship Award in 2008-2009! The Championship Award is given to participants who score the highest score across multiple athletic events. As a fitting crown to his achievements, he went on to win the Best Student Award in 2008-09.

He cleared his 10th standard and 12th standard with ease and is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Wilson College.

From a place of having no-one to care for him, Nathan has developed into someone who cares for others.

*Name changed to protect identity

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This is us

We, at Sahaara, are in the business of gifting dreams to the underprivileged and marginalised of society. We search for the unfulfilled dreams buried within them and create opportunities to seek the fulfilment of these dreams.

Sahaara believes that a helping hand of love and a variety of services and opportunities is the key to transforming the dreams of the innumerable poor into their realities.

We invite you to join with us.

Mission

To improve the quality of life of the underprivileged through relationship building, care services, rehabilitation and integration into society.

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