A Stepping Stone

by Ravi on Jun 13, 2012

It has been almost 24 hours but tears have not stopped rolling down to my cheeks.

Do not worry my dear friends, sisters and brothers, they are not tears of anguish or sorrow but they are flowing out of gratitude and happiness. Gratitude for all the supporters who are helping me to reach and help people not only in the cities but deep inside the rural villages where people have lost hope of any help or assistance. Happiness for a hopeless widow, Shanti who belongs to the untouchable class.  Shanti came to me about five years ago almost begging for a place in our Home for her youngest son. She had four children and was struggling to feed them. She was suffering from arthritis and other ailments which restricted her movement. She was not able to earn enough money to educate any of her children.

When she heard about us, she had some hope. I can remember vividly how hesitant and scared she was when she came to ask for help. When I agreed to help her, she folded both her hands. She could hardly speak. “ I belong to the untouchable class and I am a widow” she said. “I was extremely afraid to come to your Home and ask for help”. In India, especially in the villages, many people believe that widows are unlucky. They are even ignored on auspicious occasions, especially weddings.

Yesterday was a big day for Shanti. Results of “O” levels exams were decleared and her son Kailash was among the successful candidates. I was in Gorakhpur City, 56 km away from her village, when I received a call from her.

“Oh Brother! Kailash has passed “O” levels. I am so thankful to you! I will be so grateful if you can come to our home. I have kept sweets for you. Please come for just a few moments” she begged.

It was 47 degree Celsius and I had no car. The only option I had was to travel by our scooter. The wind was strong and the heat waves were testing my spirit. It was 1pm and extremely hot.The urge in her request gave me the strength and motivation to withstand it. It took about 90 minutes to reach the village. I received an unforgettable reception from the whole community. Kailash’s mother was all smiles. Kailash came with a box of sweets and greeted me by touching my feet. He is a shy guy but today he was beaming with confidence. He requested me to take the sweet. I told him to give to his mother first. Almost the entire community including his mother shouted,”No, No you must take first”.

It was a request full of humbleness and gratitude, and it was one of the tastiest sweets I ever had! I will not forget the moment, their smiles, their thankfulness and humility.
Dear friends, this year five students out of six have passed their O levels and 2 out of 3 have passed their pre-university exams. It took many years to achieve these results and was only possible with your kind and continuous support. The result has given wings to the dreams of these children. Many others are encouraged by them. Let’s pray for their success.

In all gratitude,

Ravi and the Children of Apna Ghar.

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