New Delhi20 minutes agoAuthor: Diksha Priyadarshi
“I did not give birth to any child from my womb, but I am still a mother” are the words of Anjana Rajagopal, who has raised more than 450 children in the shadow of her love. He runs an organization called ‘Sai Kripa Bal Kutir’. Through this institution, Anjana has saved the lives of many destitute children.
Anjana says she was only 10 years old. It pained me to see those children dancing and singing from house to house asking for money, so that they could take bread twice. Our family was then living in Bellary, Karnataka. We are a total of 6 siblings, my three siblings are younger than me. When my mother died suddenly when I was 20 years old, the responsibility of the whole house fell on me, because my two older sisters were married.
After the mother, the father’s health also began to deteriorate. Then, at the behest of my two aunts, we left Karnataka and moved to Delhi. Being in the same city, there was a lot of support from the aunties. There were many problems at home, but despite this, wherever I saw helpless children or working on the road, at the station, in the hotels. With many questions, a stabbing in my mind that I would like to be able enough to help these children.
For 32 years, Anjana has been working for orphans and underprivileged children.
Decision to work after father’s health deteriorated
After reaching Delhi, Papa joined a factory as a sales manager. After a few days his health worsened. So I thought about doing a job. I was only 10th pass. But because of my English medium studies, my English was good and I could write. After some difficulties, I started working as a typist in an English newspaper. At that time we were living in Sarojini Nagar. In 83 we moved to Noida. The pope also died in 1987. The three brothers got busy with their work.
I stayed alone, then I thought about working with an NGO. Maybe with this I can help those children I’ve been thinking about for so long. I shared this idea with one or two friends, they and my relatives first refused me, then they told me that if you have decided, we will help you too. I thought about forming an organization, but before that I got a three-month grant from an NGO. Then I went to different cities with my work and understood how the NGO working for the children worked.
Anjana started this institution from her home.
People beat the disabled boy on the road, I couldn’t stay, I took him home
In 1989, I registered the organization in the name of Sai Kripa. I was working even after the paperwork was done. Right now I was thinking about setting up the institution when I suddenly found a destitute child on the street. It was in 1990 when a man was beating a 10-year-old disabled boy near a dhaba near Delhi’s Pyare Lal Bhawan. I did not see the pain of that child and immediately went to him after crossing the road and asked why you are killing. The man replied that he always asks for food. The man said that sometimes we give him food after doing small jobs.
Hearing all this, I asked the man that if I take it with me, none of you will have any problem. He said no. After that I took the boy home with me. He wrote a complaint to the police, also gave an announcement on television, so that if the relatives are looking for the boy, they can meet him. But despite all this, no one came to collect the child. That boy is still with me and now he is 40 years old, but then he is very positive with me, he loves me very much, he says he has the first right over me. However, he is now working as a team leader in an organization called Mata Bhagwati Shraddha Niketan.
After bringing this child home, a social worker also brought me a girl, who is now married and working in a private company. Today she herself is a mother of two children. His children also love me very much. He comes to see me every day or two.
In 1992, the organization moved into a rented house.
In 1992 the number of children increased. Then I took 2 houses for rent. After that, many people started coming to meet the children. At the same time, some people from a software company used to come to teach science to children. One day one of them asked to explain any need of yours, the one you need most right now and you can’t do it.
I told him to buy a house. They not only bought the house but also gifted it to us by making a 3 story house for the kids and building it according to the kids. Gradually many people joined in this way. At present, there are some such people associated with me, who never let me lack anything.
Currently, there are a total of 50 children in my institution. The older children are studying in different schools. The teachers come to teach the young children in the study center of the same institution. We have introduced many of these children to their parents and families who ran away from home or were lost.
Anjana’s second son, Yashoda, who is married with her children, continues to visit Anjana.
Earlier the police and people used to bring children, now they come through the Child Welfare Committee.
Until 2016, children came to us through people or the police. After the enactment of the JJB Act, we registered with the Child Welfare Committee and then children started coming to us through them. Now these people decide which institution the children will go to.
We mostly have children over 10 years old. This is because children under the age of 10 are sent by the Child Welfare Committee to stay with us for a few days and most of them have to return due to the adoption process.
I don’t regret not settling
What are homes and families, with whom you have a relationship, there is belonging, with whom you can share your mind. I have an unbreakable relationship with my children. All my children call me mom. I am 68 years old. Many elderly parents at this age lead a lonely life, as their children settle in other cities. Whereas, on the contrary, I am surrounded by children. I don’t even know how I would spend the whole day with them.
The little children are with me and the grown ups now come to visit with their children. If we talk about the relationship, then I am the mother of some children, then the grandmother and grandmother of some children.