Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lord Protect My Child ...

The setting is truly one of a kind on this Mothers' Day. Its raining cats and dogs outside, as I review the introductory lines to my own ORKUT profile. In the background is that sweet voice of Susan Tedeschi', singing out loud the song 'Lord Protect My Child'. The song's positivity starts raising voices about the following lines (taken from my ORKUT profile).

"It was well past 10.30pm by then and I was taking the dark alleys on my way back home, when I spotted him playing next to a small pile of dirt. A strange sense of pity dawned upon me. I smiled at him, pulled the last piece of toffee out of my pocket, went and sat next to him. He snatched it from my hands in no time and resumed playing. “Appa came home drunk this evening and beat me with his chappal. I was so afraid, I came to my amaa...” was his reluctant reply to my first question.

I kept looking around trying to find her. “Where is she ?!?” I asked. He raised his finger and pointed at the gates of the cemetery. He silenced me, but he was happy. Like the tears from his eyes, the sorrows of the evening had subsided and the road to the cemetery had offered to nurse him for the night. I still can’t forget his face so visibly invisible behind the veil of the dust and dirt shining in the faint glow of a distant lone streetlight. He smiled at me. This is how I came to know Pinu…'My Reflections' "

Domestic violence drives thousands of adolescents and kids away from their own house every year. They end up in railway compartments cleaning around in exchange of dimes; in our streets with ragpicking sacks trying to find some saleable stuff in the trash that we throw; in railway underpasses begging for change and in even more unimainable conditions that cant be described. Sathi, an NGO that operates in 6 states across India rehabilitating kids from railway platforms, estimates that on an average the railway stations in Bangalore alone receive atleast 50 kids every week. And about half of these cases are direct or indirect consequences of domestic violence. In Bangalore there are ongoing efforts of NGO's like Bosco Mane and Sathi to rehabilitate these kids and to give them another life. In many cases a rehabilitation doesn't work as the kid remains unaccepted by the family even after many rounds of negotiations. And in others, there isn't anyone alive to claim the kid by the time his/her family is traced. In such cases these kids are groomed in vocational skills and made ready for a suitable souce of livelihood.

Very recently our CSR was approached by Sathi for a very critical volunteering assignment and inspite of knowing the healthy work standards and reputation of such skilled NGO's, the HR community dismissed this proposal to be too risky for employees to participate in. Its such a pity that in the midst of all this worldly chaos and commotion we seem to be doing well and we take pride in enjoying the weird insensitivity that we show towards social issues. I urge volunteers to rise to the occasion of supporting grassroot activities like these, because we have been given the resposibility of treading a path that is rarely taken by individuals like us.

If you wish to volunteer with Sathi then please do write to me.