Another Happy Ending

by Jayani on Oct 16, 2014

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It had been exactly two years and two weeks since I last visited Apna Ghar (Our Home) in Lucknow.  I walked through the gate in the newly built fence and saw “Welcome Home” written in coloured rice on the footpath.  A few children shyly peeked around the corner of the building.

Then I saw her – Soni, the little girl who I bonded with on my last visit; the little girl who was born at the railway station; used as a begging tool as a baby; forced to beg and steal as soon as she was old enough to do so; and then, as a 4 year old, handed over to the Lucknow home.

On my last day in Lucknow in 2012, Soni was taken from the home by her mother – enticed with promises of gifts and treats; taken back to the railway station, to be forced to beg; to perhaps become involved in anti-social activities like her eldest sister, or to die on the street like her second eldest sister – dying, while the mother used the situation to beg for money for medicine – medicine that was never purchased.

About a month later, Ravi found Soni and her mother.  He talked to the mother about returning Soni to Apna Ghar.  By law, Ravi is not allowed to forcibly take a child from their parent; the child must be voluntarily handed over – or if the child has no parents, then the child can choose to come to the home.

For five more months, Soni was forced to live the life of a beggar child.  And then a miracle happened.  Out of the blue, Soni was returned to Apna Ghar.

When Soni saw me, she jumped on me, and as I held her, I had tears in my eyes and joy in my heart.

She is so much more settled now.  She is still stealing from the others, still fighting, and there is still trauma in her eyes.  Yet Soni is improving – going to school, learning to play, learning to trust.

It is organisations such as Children of Mother Earth and the generosity of donors that help so many of these children – rescuing them from lives that many of us could not possibly imagine.  Instead these children can live, sleep and grow in safety; feel loved, be educated, eventually earning an income.  The cycle of poverty is slowly being broken.

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