Building blocks of life, one hand at a time.
It is a well-known fact and I would not be saying anything new if I talk about the selfless love of mothers for their children. We have heard many stories of their incomprehensible love and this mother-child relationship is known for it unique bond that has long been spoken and written about.
What I am writing about here is an equally strong bond developed between a child-care professional who is also a mother and her children, two people who are not biologically related but experience the same relationship and love.
As the Secretary General of one of the largest and longest running child-care and social development organization, I see hundreds of employees working across the country, enabling children in need of care and protection to have a loving home. At the core of all our work is the SOS mother.
These are women who have chosen to do something more special, unique and different from the rest of us. They have chosen to dedicate their entire lives in the service of children who were once parentless, abandoned, and left to fend for themselves.
These mothers receive two years of professional training at SOS National Training Centre before entering an SOS Children’s Village. The mother makes this village her home and spends rest of her life taking care of and giving love to children who have been assigned to her as a mother. For this mother, SOS family is not just part of a job it is a lifelong dedication that leaves a long-lasting impact on many children. She helps make these children who were once abandoned, into confident, happy contributing citizens of society.
Now, let us meet Manas. Manas was brought home to SOS Children’s Village Bawana in the year 1983. He was only 3 years old and was taken under the care of Ms Kumud, his SOS mother. Growing up with his SOS family, brothers and sisters, he grew up to do an MBA and today, he works as a senior project manager with one of the corporates.
You know what’s unique to his story but common to almost every SOS child?
Today, Manas proudly comes forward and takes responsibility of his now retired SOS mother Kumud, leaving me amazed. The love and bond shared by both the mother and the son is astonishing.
It gives me pride to be part of an organization that helps create this unique relationship not just between Manas and Kumud, but among all mothers and children who are within the fold of SOS Children’s villages. SOS in India has existed for over 50 years and we have seen these bonds last a lifetime.
It leaves us quizzed with some important questions that need answers. In a country that is getting younger every year, are we doing enough for children of our country? As socially responsible citizens are we taking responsibility of children who are not biologically related to us but are in urgent need of care?
There are over 20 million children in India that are bereft of parental care. And, this number is on the rise. India is ranked 101st out of the 133 countries on the Social Progress Index (2015),that have been rated by Social Progress Imperative, a US based non-profit organization. The index shows how these 130 countries fare in providing for their residents not only the basic needs like food and shelter, but provide for their well-being and care.
SOS Children’s Villages of India aim to provide some answers to these questions and offers solutions to the problem of childcare. By providing families to children left in distress and those in need of care and protection, we take care of their basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. We also help these children get an identity and a family to call their own. Living at an SOS Children’s Village, these children have the access to education, healthcare and are protected at all times from exploitation and abuse. Values and skills relating to tolerance, inclusion, mindfulness and empathy are part of their everyday life. And SOS mothers, by dedicating their lives to the service of thousands of children in need, form one of the most intriguing and important pillars of the organization. They hold their child’s hands tight and promise for a lifetime of togetherness.
Today, there are over 6,500 children living at 32 SOS Children’s Villages across 22 states in India. Their growth not only dependent on the care and upbringing we provide them, but also on the role each one of you can play in helping us achieve that goal.
It is for this very reason that I urge each one of you to join hands with us because 'Hand in Hand' you can do something special for a child deserving to “just be a child” again.
By joining the movement, you can sponsor one of the 3,000 SOS children in active need of sponsorships and contribute towards their nutritional, educational, general development and health related needs. After all, can we not aspire to help the mother whose selflessness and humility exudes throughout her and her child’s life? Just walk a little with these children in need, one hand at a time!
Visit one of our SOS Children’s Villages to know more about us or call us at 011 – 43239200 to enquire about child sponsorships and for taking up a child’s financial responsibility.
(As written by Anuja Bansal, Secretary General – SOS Children’s Villages of India)