There are multiple facets to my job at ConnectFor; there’s one in particular that I often look forward to. NGO visits. Essentially, this is when I get to visit the NGO sites of organizations in Mumbai that we are considering partnering up with. Usually, it is a short KYC meeting that exposes us to the ground work that the organization is doing.
One fine morning, my colleague Dharmaraj and I headed to Mahalaxmi to meet Bal Asha Trust for one such visit. We were greeted by Sunil, who was in charge of overseeing all the activities of the organizations. He volunteered to be our tour guide as we walked through the buildings that housed children that were previously destitute. We walked alongside him as he spoke about Bal Asha’s history and his long-standing commitment to their mission.
“Our kids have been cast away, essentially”, he told us. “No one wanted them. We take them in and help them get adopted”.
In a nutshell, this is what Bal Asha does. They take in children who have nowhere else to go and strive to nourish and educate them so that they can get adopted and therefore, have a chance at becoming functioning members of the society. Bal Asha’s adoption process involves counselling to ensure that the parents are equipped to raise the kids they adopt. The organization ensures that their children end up in happy homes.
The staff at this particular NGO consisted of not just administrative members, but also caretakers and nannies. Everyone worked together to ensure seamless operations. They were all united by a certain invisible thread, something I could not instantly put my finger on. I just remember admiring the well-oiled machine that was Bal Asha.
We walked in one of the rooms where the kids were. They instantly came running up to Sunil and demanded chocolates in a tone that reminded me of the natural authority a child assumes over their parent. After getting acquainted with the lil’ ones and completing our tour, we walked over to Sunil’s office to talk about steps moving forward.
Here, we witnessed something akin to the miracle of birth. We met the new parents and grandparents of one of the kids; they were here to take their daughter, a 3 year old girl home with them. The look of joy on their faces was uplifting. The grandparents were distributing laddoos to everyone in the office to celebrate the homecoming of their granddaughter. They spoke to me and Dharmaraj about their excitement at the addition of the new, tiny member while the little girl drooled on her father’s shoulder, too young to understand the significance of the event.
I leaned over to see if she was sleeping on his shoulder and the new mother caught me looking.
“Would you like to say hi to our daughter?” she asked me. Our daughter. I smiled and nodded.
I was excited for her, for them, for the organization as a whole. I was thrilled at having had the chance to hear from the direct beneficiaries of the NGO that we would be recruiting volunteers for. More importantly, I was rendered speechless by the joy that the family felt, in that moment. It’s not every day that one witnesses an intimate family celebration such as this.
Greeshma Rajeev is a member of the Outreach & Operations team at ConnectFor.
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