“During my days in school and college, I saw first hand what the lack of funds and resources could do to a family. From being a family that had had enough and more, overnight we became one that had to scrape even the last morsel off our plate to feed our hunger. It was only because of the help of my good-hearted friends that I managed to complete my education”, says Taruna Vidhay.
After an upbringing like that, 30-year-old Taruna made it her life’s mission to help those in need.
She recently took a sabbatical from being a bank manager of a leading public sector bank and has been working towards helping a group of street kids in Indirapuram in Ghaziabad.
It all began in 2012 when Taruna started teaching and spending time with a group of street-kids.
“I would finish my work by 5 pm each day and rush to be with them. I would spend at least three to four hours every day with them. We would learn, eat together, sing and dance,” she said.
What began as something that Taruna would do after work hours soon consumed her entire time, energy, and finances.
Speaking about her family, she says, “Initially there was a lot of pressure to settle down and get married. However, I made it very clear that whoever I marry must accept the work I do and the amount of time and money I dedicate to these children.”
It has taken a long while, but her family is now both supportive and appreciative of the work she does. They now say that they are glad that she is doing something for those who cannot fend for themselves. They understand that she learnt it the hard way and are happy to see the results of her work.
For Taruna these children have become a part of who she is.
Taruna and her group of friends ensure that they make learning fun for all the kids. The youngest child who comes to them is Chandni, all of two-years-old and the oldest child is Aslam who is 17-years-of-age.
Aslam, in fact, helps his family by managing a small roadside shop and in between his work hours he ensures that he comes to class as well.
Speaking about the children she says, “Some of the kids who come to us go to government schools. But unfortunately given that the standard and teaching methodology is very poor in these schools, they have stopped going to school.”
Taruna and her friends have started providing the students with one meal. She says the food, in some cases, is a big motivation for the parents to send them to her ‘school’.
“For parents who are unable to provide the children with even one proper meal, this is a blessing. We are happy that we get these students to come into the school even if it is for the need of food.”
In 2015, Taruna and her friends established an NGO, which they named the Nirbhed foundation. It is now under this umbrella that they function.
Taruna shares with me how disciplined these children are. “They are told once that all the younger kids will eat first followed by the older ones. The older ones will ensure that they feed the younger ones before picking up their own plate.”
“The camaraderie and love between them is truly unique.”
If you wish to make a difference and contribute towards making the lives of these children better, here are some of the ways you can help:
1. If you live in Ghaziabad and are left with excess food, then you could call +91-9599044255.
2. If you would like to make a contribution – food items, or even pre-owned clothes and books, please contact them at +91-9599044255.
3. For making a monetary contribution, you can head to the Milaap page where Taruna is raising funds.
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