De­ter­mined to do more

Friday - - Society Making A Difference -

mother and with fear writ­ten across his face, he was on the streets un­pro­tected,” she re­calls.

A by­s­tander found Arun and tried to track down his mother, but was shocked to hear she couldn’t care for him and wanted him taken to the or­phan­age, where he now lives hap­pily.

And chil­dren like Nan­dini, 14, whose mother spends all her re­sources look­ing af­ter her sick hus­band and can­not care for her, need all the help Cor­ner­stone can of­fer. While her mother was un­able to af­ford the high cost of school fees and ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als, Nan­dini is now re­ceiv­ing a good ed­u­ca­tion in the happy home that is Cor­ner­stone. When the lease on the cur­rent prop­erty ex­pires next year, Natasha is de­ter­mined to ex­pand. Big Hug’s Big Build cam­paign aims to raise £60,000 to build a new or­phan­age in the coun­try­side – so far £35,000 has been raised.

“We des­per­ately need even more if we are to give th­ese chil­dren the chance they de­serve,” she says.

Even chil­dren who had such a tough start in life are now thriv­ing. Chil­dren who were once mal­nour­ished are now grow­ing to a healthy weight with the nu­tri­tious por­ridge mix pro­vided for them by Cor­ner­stone.

Selvi, now 13, is another child who was saved by the or­phan­age. Her fa­ther died when she was very young, and when her mother con­tracted TB and could not look af­ter her, Selvi’s fu­ture looked bleak. Yet at Cor­ner­stone, she’s grown into a bright, imag­i­na­tive child who is ea­ger to learn English as well as her na­tive Tamil. “My dream is to be­come a judge in Coim­bat­ore,” she says.

Oth­ers too have great am­bi­tions. Manoj Ku­mar lost his par­ents to HIV when he was just 14, though Manoj is for­tu­nately clear of the disease. “I was de­pressed for nine months af­ter my par­ents passed away,” he told Natasha through an in­ter­preter. “I didn’t speak to any of the other chil­dren at the home.”

Now he is ex­celling, fin­ish­ing high school last year and start­ing a me­chan­ics course.

Af­ter years of giv­ing her all to help 30 chil­dren in South In­dia make a fresh start in life, Natasha is de­lighted with what she has achieved – and de­ter­mined to do more. “I’ve seen the chil­dren grow healthier, hap­pier and more con­fi­dent, which is sim­ply won­der­ful,” she says. “This is my dream – I’m so proud to be help­ing to cre­ate a life for th­ese chil­dren who once had so lit­tle.”

And af­ter a ter­ri­ble start in life, Muthu­vel is de­ter­mined to turn his life around. “In this sta­ble en­vi­ron­ment, I have flour­ished in my stud­ies and am aim­ing to con­tinue in higher ed­u­ca­tion,” he says. “At last I have a bright fu­ture to look for­ward to.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.