Today, out of the blue, Manikanta gave us the sweetest gift.
Manikanta, age 9 and finishing up first grade, has lived off and on the streets for years. He used to run away from his mom when she beat him and burned his eyes and skin with pepper fumes for not bringing any money home. He'd stay with his friends on the street.
Manikanta was also developing the nasty and highly addictive habit of sniffing glue.
This year, Manikanta came to Karunya Mane because he wanted to be with his friends. He struggled for a long time in his new environment, running away once and often talking about leaving school and Karunya Mane to go back to the street.
This past weekend, for the first time ever, he told us, "I am happy here. I do not want to go back to the street, I am very happy here and want to stay."
What better gift for the New Year? Let's hope he continues on his path to a new life...