Where our girls were institutionalized before joining us.
All the children came by Order of the West Bengal Child Welfare Committee. They are children who had lost all connection with family and community.
Some are children who have lost mothers, and some are more like mothers who have lost their children. Our girls have such stories………
“My mother died when I was born. My brothers sold me. After many years those people abused me and I ran away on a train. I became lost and a lady took me to the police.”
“My mother died and my uncle took us to a pond and left us there. We got to a train station and some people offered food to my little brother and sister and then took them away.” She cries and then says that after a while the police took her.
“My mother drank poison and then the police came and took me.”
“Some men took me to a room and tied me up and beat me. Then I don’t remember. Then I was at Sukanya Home.”
Abandoned and lost children are picked up by police, and taken to shelters, from which they are sent to government care and disposition. This is the hoped-for scenario. Some children never make it into government care and find themselves trafficked.
The children with disabilities? Two of our girls have pierced ears that have closed. They must have had families at one time. Some disabled children come into government care from adoption agencies. These are truly the children no one wants, and no one will pay for.
The Children – Their Futures
The group of girls is Shishur Sevay is very mixed with respect to abilities and capabilities, and ranges of past experiences that have left them more or less traumatized and vulnerable. So the mission of developing Competence,Confidence, Independence, and Leadership will have different meanings for each girl. The girls have learned to aspire; they are potential doctors, teachers, dancers, etc. Other girls have really needed respite from the outside, and mostly just want to be home, engaged in caring for their younger sisters, helping the home to run, learning to assist the special education teachers, and to perfect their skills and understanding in taking care of people with disabilities. For these girls we are putting more focus on music, dance, and arts. Even after seven years we find profound changes in what the girls want, how they see themselves, suddenly daring to hope and take a chance they might succeed.
The children with severe disabilities will never live independently. They will most likely remain at Shishur Sevay even as Shishur Sevay evolves and re-defines itself over time. We have promised that we will never separate the big girls from their younger sisters and they have pledged their commitment to them. We will not break up this family.