Yesterday I had an opportunity to visit a place as the first project of our team Dhwani.
It was a visit, feel and a first hand experience of sorts for me.
I went to a place where orphan children are taken care in good spirit and never let them feel that they are without any support.
The children are living in good, healthy environs. They are offered good tasty food (we had food there yesterday), normal education and other basic facilities.
The mentor Mr. Lakshminarayana proudly showed us around the place, facilities and their plans.
As we entered, in the outer premises, we were greeted by three dogs, Scooby, Johnny and another whose name I forgot.
And when we were to enter the confines of the hostel, the children came out with flowers in their hands and wished all of us, by giving us the flowers that were grown in that campus.
And I observed, there was no artificiality in their attitude.
The place is called Chaitanyananda Ashrama. It exists in a calm and peaceful locales of Kodigehalli, some 20Kms from Bangalore off Magadi Road.
On the occasion of the death anniversary of Mr. PNR Rao, his wife, Smt. Prema Rao had organised for a lunch in his honor for the children of the house.
I went there with Mrs. Prema Rao and some of her family friends.
Even though its called an ashram, there is no swamiji in it. But the aashramic environment is provided.
There is a garden taken care by the children themselves, where they grow the vegetables, fruits and flowers.
An area is of three adjacent sites of 30*40 dimension.
The best part of the aashram is, after the school timings, the children are engaged in playful things, apart from the curricular studies, they are being taught bhajans, songs, paintings, making chalk pieces for commercial purposes, and other handicrafts.
The mentors and teachers are open to suggestions from the out-siders/donors.
About the project, it was started in 1996 and housing about 20 children and 4 care-takers since 1998.
Age of the children range from 8 years to 15 years, as of now.
There are some people who have contributed heavily for this noble cause there, but most of the Godfathers are no more.
And Mr. Lakshminarayan says that the organization is completely dependent on the donations that flow in from the society, not a single Rupee has come from the Govt.
The children are spending days of their childhood, in a good place, with good friends and an equality-empowering system.
They have a time table that starts from morning 5 and ends at 10PM night.
This makes children understand the importance of being discipline, time sharing and learning while playing.
Apart from all these things, they provide the children an environment of Gurukula, the pride of ancient India, a basic vision of Indian culture and the values.
There's no distinction of caste or religion here, in fact there are children from all communities, there was a Christian, a Muslim and some SC/STs and also form other castes, but it doesn’t make them get different treatment from anyone, be it a visitor, or a teacher.
They all work in empathy with the children.
In all, this was a nice place, which welcomes the orphans and provides them a quality living.
Believe me, its no different a place from any of the residential schools, except for the luxuries and the often visiting parents.