The Valsalya Bhavan Diaries ….

A short write up about the not very popular orphanage “Valsalya Bhavan” and my experience with the kids there.

Valsalya Bhavan is a drop-in-centre for girls who are on the street. The centre was started as a part of the Valsalya Project, a sexual health project for the street/working children.

At present, there are 20 inmates at the Valsalya Bhavan. All 20 girls are school going children between the age of 5 and 18. Most of the children are migrants from other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa and Tamil Nadu. After writing the SSLC examination, girls will be sent to Vimalalayam (home for working women and Nun’s) and will be given vocational training based on their area of interest.

At Valsalya Bhavan it’s a totally different scene. It’s a small 2 bedroom rented house where all 20 kids, 2 nuns and a house maid lives. Every Saturday, they welcome us with Lemonade, kappa (Cooked Tapioca) or some other snacks. The kids wait for us to reach there and won’t let us leave even after the class.

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Most children are easy; they are adaptable and very affectionate. Some children are tough; they cry a lot, run out of the class, and are easily upset. I still remember, while I was telling them Cinderella’s story, Manimozhi (a six year old girl) screamed and ran out of the class. Similarly, 13 year old Manjusha carries her personal diary with her all the time and would cry if you ask her anything about it.

Initially, kids had a big problem with getting used to me. They hardly ever used to smile. I tried cracking all possible jokes, but nothing helped. As days passed, I realized that the best way to make a child happy is by treating him/her like a grown-up. When a child communicates a feeling to you, you need to make sure that you acknowledge his/her emotion. I started telling them about my college, CAT coaching classes, childhood and friends. And…couples of weeks later, I saw that huge difference in them and now we have a good relationship!

Now when I see them upset, I can easily ask them what is wrong and they share it without crying or yelling. I talk to them just I like talk to my friends and family. They share even their deepest secrets and are willing to sit in my class even if it gets damn boring :) !

My kids taught me the true meaning of love, agony and boldness. I realized how lucky I am to have such good parents, good food and a safe home. Kids at Valsalya Bhavan are matured enough to admit that some of them have seen murders and have experienced real torment.

Being a part of MAD, going to Valsalyabhavan, and spending time with my children has taught me not just about the emotional development of children but also how to thank god for all that I have got in life. Whenever I come across a good quote or an interesting piece of information, I jot it down in my note pad so that I can share it to my kids the next Saturday!

It’s been almost 5 months since I’ve joined MAD and it’s been an amazing journey so far! Special thanks to all those people , particularly Jithin and the other founder members for coming up with such a brilliant idea! I think you guys are truly God-sent…

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Comments

  1. stanley says

    Jithin,Sanjana
    Do you guys have something going in Coimbatore……if yes please do let me know….. I would like to put you on to an NGO “Marialaya” which works with street children in Coimbatore ….you guys maybe able to help / contribute to the development of the kids there……..

  2. says

    ” I realized that the best way to make a child happy is by treating him/her like a grown-up.”
    Pure words of wisdom…good work Inda
    @ Stanly Uncle: Will get back to you tomorrow itself

  3. says

    I had been to Valsalyabhavan once…. And I remembered somebody telling me that the kids there had some of the worst stories ever..

    But, when I was there, the kids seemed to be bright, and looking forward to their classes… In a way, even happy… What I couldn’t imagine was what it would have been like to live the stories that they had lived… And at so young an age… My life seems so easy at times !!

    I guess the kids at Valsalyabhavan are sources of inspiration to all.. Their bravery and resoluteness in the face of the blandness that may have seemed to be life at one time, is, well, unbelievable..

    I’m glad we’re teaching there.. They deserve way more than what they ended up getting.. And maybe, who knows, we may even end up helping them to get the Cindrella endings they deserve !!

  4. harsha says

    nice post inda…. id no clue about valsalyabhavan until nw…
    “spending time with my children has taught me not just about the emotional development of children but also how to thank god for all that I have got in life.”… very true in my case too…

  5. Jonva says

    i slept off on this comment yyestnite..wanted to post it, but typed it and slept off..
    have been to valslyabhavan once. all the girls were so attatched and jovial and seemed surprisingly getting along wth life..their stories seem like myths..have to say u guys have dne an amazing wrk

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