Project Home is our shelter for street children.
Meet Surya, one of the children at Karunya Mane, our shelter.
Surya used to watch over his brother and sister while his mom begged on the street.
Once living at Karunya Mane and enrolled in school we saw that Surya was an excellent student as well as composed, quiet, and very responsible for his age. Given his maturity and strong academic aptitude, two years ago we enrolled Surya in an English medium school in the area, which offered a more rigorous curriculum.
We weren't sure what to expect when enrolling a former street child in a middle- and upper-class school, but in his first year at the school Surya was ranked #1 in his first grade class for the entire school year! He also earned many extracurricular awards during the year for his excellent behavior.
Surya continues to be an excellent student and now speaks almost fluent Hindi and English.
Children in Need.
Take a walk down the busy city streets of Mysore for a glimpse at the problem. Chances are, a soiled, bare-footed child will approach you with hands outstretched, begging. Her real age is eleven but she looks more like a seven-year-old, from years of malnutrition and living on the streets.
Her mother has also spent years on the street, likely abandoned by her husband. Together, they survive day by day, begging for meals and sleeping on the sidewalk. The government often comes to throw away their belongings that they store on the street.
Sometimes, poor children are "loaned" by their parents or sold for money. To repay the debt, the children are forced to work in houses or in factories under extreme conditions.
Girls and boys are lured into the flesh trade. Children watch as their mothers turn to prostitution as an easy way make money, and sometimes the only way, with teenage street boys acting as their pimps.
Many poor kids are orphaned by diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.
Our Shelter, Karunya Mane.
Karunya Mane, our shelter for children, is on the outskirts of Mysore. It is close enough to the city for convenience, yet far enough away to enjoy peaceful surroundings.
Karunya Mane (which means "House of Compassion for the Poor" in the local language), is a fully equipped two-story building. The first floor houses the girls, and serves as a dining and study area. The second floor contains the kitchen, an area for our boys' caretaker, and the boys. Excellent private schools, which our children attend, are conveniently located in the area.
At Karunya Mane, our once destitute kids get everything a child in a middle-class family gets:
- The chance to be kids and enjoy their childhood years
- Quality private school education and daily after-school tutoring
- Medical and dental attention for all healthcare issues
- All meals as well as milk and snacks
- Interaction with other members of society through our volunteer-run programs, which include arts and crafts, singing and chanting, and karate lessons.
We installed a solar panel system for environmentally friendly hot water for daily baths and an industrial-strength water filter for clean drinking water. Our kids also get clothing and footwear, monthly hair cuts, and comfortable bedding.
Selecting the Children
Focus and discipline in child selection is essential to ensure a successful and effective program. Our kids are from the poorest backgrounds, and first choice is given to children with no parents or with just one parent.
We target children demonstrating a willingness to live in the structured environment of our shelter. If the child has a parent, the parent must understand the importance of a good education and must follow our rules.
Each child is selected through an interview process and by visiting and evaluating his/her current living environment (often, this is the street or a tiny, one-room house in a slum). Karunya Mane targets children from the age of three, with a focus on younger kids and kids that no other institution or facility would accept.
All of our kids are from the poorest socioeconomic background and were shunned from their society. During our first year, an often-heard comment we received from visitors to Karunya Mane was, "I can't believe these kids used to live on the streets. They are so clean and well-behaved."
Sponsor a Operation Shanti Child
To sponsor a child staying at Karunya Mane for one year costs $400 a year. That comes out to just $33.33 a month for 12 months. That's a little over $1.00 (or 40 rupees) a day. Donate now.