Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A new name for Baby

Baby came to us this May (see post here) and has become a real joy to have at Karunya Mane. At about 20 years of age (she doesn't know her birth date), she's a very pleasant and cheerful woman, is well-mannered, and helps out however she can around the facility.

Given a difficult and unfair early life, Baby never got an education. She did learn to write her name in caps -- BABY -- but was never given the chance to go to school. The people she worked for said that she wouldn't have been capable of going to school and learning. It is what "they" say here about many of the lower class/caste destitute kids who work in their homes or in their shops.

We don't believe in such thinking, and as proof of the human spirit's desire to improve oneself, one day while getting a checkup from a doctor, Baby told him that she wanted to stay at Karunya Mane and get an education. He relayed this information to us, and Baby now attends tutoring class every day at Karunya Mane, and is quite the avid student.

Baby and Reeta have become good friends while at Karunya Mane, taking tutoring class together and hanging out. A few days ago, Reeta gave her friend Baby a most amazing gift -- a real name: Sandhya. Sandhya, an auspicious word in Sanskrit, means "twilight."

Sandhya and Reeta with their teacher

Sandhya is healthy and she's gained noticeable weight at Karunya Mane. In addition to her educational efforts, she participates in group activities with the kids, including birthday celebrations, karate class in the mornings, and arts and crafts on Sundays. We suspect that after years of being someone's unpaid servant -- basically from the age of 10 to 20 -- Sandhya is finally getting the chance to enjoy a childhood. Unfortunately in India, being forced into child labor at an early age is more the norm than the exception for over 100 million children in the country.

Sandhya at Sunday arts and crafts