We were contacted by the caretaker at Pocharam who informed us about them running out of the funds that we supplied them last year. This was perfect timing for us as we planning to visit the Home and had already made the necessary purchases. This time, we purchased play equipment as well, apart from a year’s supply of school uniform, educational equipment, and lunch.
When we reached the Home, we were greeted with loads of love. We were very happy that they remembered us. This time, we had a surprise in store for the children. We served them lunch; and not any lunch. It was a special lunch for them as it was the first time that they had Hyderabadi Biryani, one of the most famous and delicious food items of India. However there was a 12 year old girl who was crying and refused to eat when we served her. Upon questioning her, she said that no one ever showered so much love on her and that all of this was very overwhelming for her. We found out that she was a victim of child labor and was rescued by the Home. During the arduous 4 years at the workplace, she was not given any food and was made to work forcibly for 15-18 hours everyday! She was given only coffee all day long, so now her body wasn’t able to adjust to this food and her stomach would hurt when she had this food. We can never forget the look in her eyes. They said it all. They were filled with mixed emotions. They were filled with both happiness and sadness; happiness for the love that she received from a bunch of strangers and sadness for the inability to savor the best food that she laid her hands on in the past 6 years. We just couldn’t believe it and were disgusted at such ruthless practices.
On the brighter side, we received tons of love and affection from the children. They would call each of us “Annayya”, which translates into “Big brother”. To describe a particular incident, there was this little boy called Yesuratnam, who calls Praneeth “Chinni anna”, and he would look at our watches and would say “ Annayya naaku kuda atlantidi watch okati kavali”, which translates to “Brother, I want a watch just like the one you’re wearing”, like we were his own; and this moved us to the core. In response to this, Praneeth asked him his rank in class and found it to be 3. So Praneeth promised him a watch the next time we visit the Home if he were to secure the 1st rank in his class; just like our parents would motivate us.
We spent the whole day with the children and also joined them in a game of cricket and musical chairs which we enjoyed thoroughly and presented small gifts to the winners. We look forward to going back to the Home and deliver next year’s requirements.
We also plan to accomplish the following:
- Get a building constructed there which would be home to the children and would also have classrooms for their schooling.
It will have most facilities that one would find in a city-building.
- Get a playground constructed with swings, slides, etc, goal posts for football, a Cricket pitch and a Badminton court.
- Establish Medical facilities.
- Provide facilities to train the children and provide opportunities for skill development thereby creating community leaders.
On the lighter side, we will reward Yesu with the watch that we promised him, and also the other children.