“Vatsalyam” is an ambitious project of “Maitreey Preksha Seva Mission” to provide a healthy living space for young children of Leprosy Colonies of Delhi. ‘Vatsalyam’ means, the tender love and care of a mother for her child. Our home is a heaven for poor, underprivileged girls, whose parents are affected with leprosy disease. These children run a very high risk of contracting this dreadful disease if they continue to stay in their slums.
The leprosy patients are unable to take care of their children because of their disability due to the disease. They become dysfunctional in the society as they carry a big stigma with them of this unknown biblical disease. The young children at this age, who should be busy with their studies, unfortunately get busy begging with their parents. Slowly they lose the interest to fight for their right to come back to the normal society like any normal child.
The Mission has embarked upon a small residential project, for now, only for girls, (home for boys will be soon introduced). Other than the children of leprosy patients, Vatsalyam also enrolls girls from economically weaker sections. Young girls are the most vulnerable as they are often abused/sexually assaulted in these slums/leper colonies. Their leprosy affected parents are left with no alternative but to force them into marriage at a very tender age or are forced to beg on Delhi’s roads.
At Vatsalyam, these girls are being imparted with loving care, some vocational skills besides their normal school curriculum for their all-round development, so that they can be self-sufficient and live their lives with dignity, which every human is entitled to. Every child needs support to kindle the best so that he/she can be molded to develop a good character. But with their worst unprotected childhood, they are unable to do so. Here, “Vatsalyam” steps in to help. We build and nurture a character in the child, that is lacking, so that he/she can be an asset to the society as a grown up.
These girls live together in Vatsalyam, away from their biological families, in child friendly environment with the consent of their parents. We have a specially acquired home, comprising of two floors and terrace, exclusively for these girls in Aya Nagar – New Delhi, where they feel safe. They are served whole-some meals, enjoy games and entertainment, attend nearby school regularly and learn skills to become self-reliant and confident to lead a dignified life.
Above all, our Home stands to instill good citizenship attributes and values to develop self-confidence and self-pride. Our aim is not to create an institution but to run small homes with domestic atmosphere, where there are no matrons, directors or governors but “Badi Maa” and “Choti Ma”, who would provide continuity of care and family life. Good values are taught for virtuous maidenhood, evolving and maturing into responsible adulthood. Vatsalyam is a home that is simple, comfortable, clean, purposeful and full of love – true love – unconditional love.
Please consider joining us, in unity and friendship and participating in this worthy event.
Maa personally has been very closely involved with the care of leprosy patients since almost two decades now. Having seen the plight of these unfortunate beings, she for a long time had wanted to assist them in the upbringing of their young ones. She is very fond of children and relates with all the exuberance of a child with them. On one of her visits to the leprosy colony, she was witness to a happening which horrified her. Sleeping on the floor outside her small house on a mat was an infant barely a couple of weeks old, whose mother was busy attending to some household chore. A stray dog went up to the child and put one of her feet in his mouth. It could have been the end of the child if Maa had not acted promptly. That was the moment she decided to start a safe home for children of slum dwellers as they were not able to take good care of them. Thus was sown the seed for the setting up of ‘Vatsalyam’.
“It is love which nurtures and sustains the life. It is love through which we can expand and reach millions of souls. It is through love we learn to be honest and forgive the sinners and self, it is the love we share among each other as gratitude, it is love, through which we learn to do service to others and become a world server. Unconditional love transforms the human and awakens his inner self that is full of Godliness. With love one learns to expand one’s consciousness. One should learn to further expand by love where one has space for other’s problems too. In one of Kabir’s couplet it is said, “love not God, love God’s men.” says Maa.