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At SevaYatra, we’ve been having conversations about renewing our individual commitments to participate in service work.  In light of this, I did a recent site visit to a Delhi-based NGO called Udayan Care.  Among a number of fabulous programs, Udayan Care also operates 12 foster homes for abandoned or orphaned children.  It had been explained to me that the hallmark of these homes was their family-like environment and integration into the neighborhoods where the homes are located.  I’m delighted to report that I experienced this first hand and also hope to be a part of one of these “families”.

There was no big NGO sign out front, but the location of the home was clearly marked… by the presence of a lot of children’s clothes hanging on the balcony to dry!  Inside, I was greeted by one of the care givers.  From her seat on the sofa, she supervised the children with many, many jokes and lots of laughter.  In addition to live in care givers, each home has two “mentor parents” who live in the local community, but regularly participate in the life of the home.

This particular home hosts 13 girls within a kitchen, bath, large bedroom with trundle beds, a hall, and living/study room.  The girls, according to their aptitudes and abilities, go to a number of different local schools.  At least three of the girls are doing well in a very respected English-medium school.  The staff of Udayan Care has asked that my friend and I develop a special plan/curriculum for a couple of the girls that have tested as slow learners.

Perhaps the most persuasive evidence to support the presence of the family environment is the testimony of one of the former residents, who happened to be at the house during my visit.  She is now happily married, is a fashion designer, and lives in a bordering neighborhood.  The enthusiasm and glow with which she described Udayan Care as her native home left no room for doubt that this organization is truly a family.   


Joy Mischley