Mumbai: R* was admitted to a children’s home in Mumbai at seven years of age from an observation home in Bhiwandi. She was an orphan, suffering from deep trauma as anyone who has lost their parents would. Losing your parents is one of the worst kinds of loss one can experience in life, a loss that is difficult to negate. Disturbed and upset, she had developed interpersonal and adjustment issues.
Now ten years later, she has evolved into a true leader, showing the way to many like her. An aspiring dancer, she actively overlooks all the activities at the children's home. All this wouldn’t have been possible with the support and guidance of the staff of the children’s home, who helped her with her education as well as nurtured her co-circular interests in music and dance as well.
They provided R with wholesome care, teaching her various life skills, grooming her to be competent at dealing with all the challenges life could throw at her. Today she is self-sufficient, capable of taking of taking care of not only herself, but also those around her. She ensures that the children at the home do not miss their parents as much as she did once, in a way ‘mothering’ them.
Motherhood, in its true essence, is being a source of care and love for someone. It is not only limited to biologically producing a life, it is about being the support system that sustains and nurtures it. Our mothers are our most significant companions on this journey of life. We tend to take for granted and seldom truly appreciate all ways they contribute to our lives.
According to UNICEF (2015), there are 8 million children living in institutions around the world. Nearly 80 per cent of them have a living family member according to the report. The reason for their separation from their parents and families is often poverty and lack of resources. It is a fact that no family would leave their child in an institution if they had the right support to care for them.
Tackling this issue is the Miracle Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded in 2000 by Caroline Boudreaux. Founded on Mother’s Day itself in 2000, it is committed to empowering orphaned and vulnerable children across the globe. The organisation works with childcare institutions to reunite children with their birth families, find families for abandoned children and strengthen communities so no parent is forced to leave their child in an institution.
The children’s home that R resides in is associated with Miracle Foundation India, it is one of the 109 homes the organisation is associated with in the country currently. Through this initiative, in addition to reuniting orphaned children with their families, the organisation aims to identify the resources a family requires to keep the child with them to be able to help them better.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, mentions that a children’s home is the last resort for any child. That is why, Miracle Foundation explores every avenue for each child under their care and plans in their best interest. Their Mother’s Day initiative this year aims at ensuring that housemothers at children’s homes create an enabling environment for children at every step while they await transition and support to children in all possible ways until they are reunited with their families. This will be carried out by building housemothers’ capacities to address children’s needs, training them to prepare the child to transition back to their family and ensure attachment.
Speaking about the initiative for Mother’s Day, Nivedita Das Gupta, India Country Head, Miracle Foundation said, “Over 80 per cent children living in children’s homes have a living parent who cannot care for them due to a lack of resources majorly stemming from socio-economic constraints. As a result of being away from their family and especially their mothers, these children are deprived of familial bonding, attachment and homely care. Every child deserves a loving and caring family environment, and there is nothing that compares to one’s own mother. At Miracle Foundation India, it is our goal to make this a reality for as many children as possible. Our Mother’s Day initiative is another step in this direction, to empower both housemothers and biological mothers of these children to help them cater to every child’s needs, whether they move back to their own homes or are living in a home away from home for the time being.”
Ever since its inception, Miracle Foundation India has worked tirelessly to improve the standard of care at children’s homes and re-uniting them with their mothers and families. Here’s a salute to their dedication to the spirit of motherhood and their efforts to ensure that at least some children in institutions in India are able to go back to their real homes and live better.
*Note: The name of the child has been changed to protect the child.