Keeping in Touch… Christmas 2013

by Ravi on Dec 23, 2013

New Year is already knocking on the door and time goes so quickly when you are busy with so many gorgeous children! It is time to update you of the wonderful work that we are able to do because of your continued support.

Love and care has been the essence for the past six months for us.   I have felt it so strongly for  the last few months that it has taken away some of my fear and anxiety. This Love and care has come from my family and friends all over the world. The commitment from our supporters is amazing; despite some of them having to deal with financial constraints, they still continue to give their support. I am so touched by their sympathy and deep love they have for the children in their heart.  Needless to say, I am continuously inspired by my children who provide me large doses of both love and inspiration. Oddly enough it always shows up when I most need it.

This leads me to introduce you to Jai.  Jai came to our home about 2 years ago. He is now 8 years of age. His mother died when he was 2 years old. His father was an alcoholic and he sold whatever assets he had. He left Jai at the mercy of the community. At the age of five Jai had no choice but to head to Gorakhpur city in order to survive and search for a livelihood.

After starving on the streets for a few days, he got a job washing cups and plates at a roadside tea stall. He had to work hard from early morning till late at night. He told me that he did not get even 5 minutes to sit since it was a roadside tea stall and there was a continuous flow of customers. If he was unable to clean the cups and tables in time, he was slapped and verbally abused. After working for 4 months he wanted to buy clothes as his clothes were torn and could not protect him from the elements of both the cold and the heat. He asked for his salary which he was rightfully entitled to but instead he was beaten up badly and was chased out of the shop without getting paid.  Sadly, this is what happens to most of the child labourers in India.

The railway station is a place where the helpless and homeless children will seek shelter. Our staff found him sobbing at the Railway station. After he arrived at Apna Ghar, it took many days for him to open up and trust in humanity.  In his life, he would not have encountered people who are kind and caring, and meeting us provided him with love and care for the first time for this little child.

He has some serious medical issues and now he is on regular medication.

So little Jai has now picked up a new habit over the past year. Most of you know, we operate five homes for children in need of care and protection. I visit each home regularly and in the evening there will be one to one interaction with the children. It helps me to assess their emotional well-being.  In the beginning, Jai was hesitant to meet me.  I can understand that.  Trust from a child is earned and it takes time to build relationships with them.  He was the last one to meet me. He usually will wait patiently until I am relaxed and talking with him. He will take out something wrapped in paper from his pocket and with his soft and tender voice, he will say hesitantly ”Papa this is for you”.

The first time I asked him surprisingly, “What is it?” and unwrapped it. To my surprise it was my favourite toffee and tidbits! “Where did you get it?” was my first question.  After repeating the question many times, he replied softly as if he has committed a mistake, “I bought it from the pocket money you gave me” came the response.  I was touched by his thoughtfulness.  I tried to conceal my feeling and without looking at him I said,” The money was for you Jai not for me”. Staring at the floor he murmured, “I will be very happy if you will accept it…… please……. eat it”. I was not expecting such a response from a child who was shut down for months and hardly smiles even for genuine reasons.

Without wasting a moment, I picked up a toffee and put it in my mouth. He watched it in disbelief and in a moment the sadness in his eyes was replaced by sheer joy. The spark on his face was so obvious.  He displayed a bright smile now and said ,”I was afraid you might scold me and would refuse the toffee.” I was trying to control my emotions and wanted to play it down, but was helpless!! I hugged him tightly and said, “How can I scold you for such a priceless gift.”

Time stood still as we embraced one another.  At this moment, I could feel the love pouring out from him giving me a sense of peace at the same time. After a while he had a question, “Papa why are you weeping?” It was difficult question to answer. I thought for a while and replied jokingly, “…because the toffee is bitter”. “You must be kidding” he replied and both of us started laughing loudly. I guess he understood the reason for my tears!!

Friends, I live in a world of despair, frustration, and helplessness. I am sometimes stressed by the negative attitude of the authorities I have to deal with. The sad stories of the children are sometimes depressing. Amidst the gloomy moments I am showered with deep love and care which keeps me going.   Little angels will brighten my day and lift my spirits with their touching acts. These little incidents are so powerful, they give me continuous energy and smiles and these moments fuel the times when I am low and can get discouraged.  Not only have the children learned to trust again but have also shown us how much they can give back in return for the love that comes to them.  It is often without measure and without thought.

Christmas is a time for love, for giving, and for receiving. May this Christmas you be blessed by the kind of deep Love I am experiencing these days!

On behalf of all our children I wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas and a very meaningful New Year!!

Ravi and Children of Apna Ghar 

Evelyn Tan Hoon Ngoh March 10, 2014 at 6:22 AM

Hi Dear Ravi, I am deeply touched by the children’s rekindled love and response towards you and your loving acts of kindness to them through COMEINTERNATIONAL. May you and all your staff and supporters receive the due rewards more abundantly in the days and years ahead. If there is any way which your staff or volunteers who want to learn the art of weaving the various gift items in my please do not hesitate to ask them to contact me. I am always available to impart my weaving skill to them. By the way, the BIG, beautiful white and blue basket in the products column
of the website is weaved by a Chenai women who married a Singaporean Indian. She made it and I was and am still trying to help her get customers. Unfortunately, as usual Singaporeans customers are not willing to pay a slightly high price to compensate the hours which are used to weave this kind of big basket. Anyway, God bless whatever you do there for the abandoned children in the streets of India. ((from Singapore.
This is my response after reading the report about KEEPING IN TOUCH ………..CHRISTMAS 2013

Cheers !

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