BANGALORE: Lots of greenery, fresh air, and chirping birds — It is a perfect village setting. In this village is a school that defines relationships like brothers, sisters, friends and foster mothers for orphan kids. SOS (Save Our Souls) Children’s Village of India, Bangalore, offers support to orphan and destitute children. Though students hail from varied backrounds and different age groups, many have succeeded in shaping their lives.
“The Village lends a helping hand to needy children who are between 0 and 12 years of age. A detailed study of the home and the background of the child is conducted before we help them. We lend support only if they are referred to us by NGOs or government homes,” said Mahesh M V, Village director.
The Village has 16 homes on premises. Each home hosts 10 children and a foster mother to cater to their daily needs. The foster mothers, who are trained for six months in raising a child and child psychology in Delhi, spend most of their time with these children. Mahesh added, “Widows and spinsters are given priority for the role of foster mothers. ”
Each child has a period of adjustment to overcome personal tragedies and cope with the environment. To help them in this process and to ease their entry, counselling sessions are arranged for newly-admitted children on premises.
H T Girijamma, a foster mother who has served in the Village for over 20 years and has raised 32 children, said, “It is a great feeling to look after every child. They consider us as their mothers and hence it is our responsibility to encourage them to achieve success in their life and to fulfil each and every dream.”
The children are sent to mainstream schools and colleges to pursue their education. Youth house facilities are created for boys aged 14 years and above. Other facilities such as computer labs and library too are provided.
Speaking about the infrastructure facilities, a resident of the Village, Ramya (name changed) said, “I was admitted to the Village when I was a three-year-old. Today, I have completed my post-graduation in Bio-Technology and I have also applied for research (PhD). The Village has given me education to shape my career.”
As the organisation provides long-standing financial support to the children, they run short of funds often. “India is considered a developed country and funds inflow has reduced considerably. We are looking for individual sponsorships and corporate sponsorships. Some companies such as J P Morgan, Infosys, Herbal Life, and Sandist do come forward to fund the kids’ education,” said Mahesh.
The Village is also facing a water crisis as the rain water harvesting pits dry up in summer leaving the residents in misery, the residents complain.
Despite several problems, the energy among the children and their enthusiasm for life is infectious.