Children without Homes
Meet Suma, a former homeless girl now in college.
Suma and her three siblings came to live with us at our children’s home in 2010, after their mother passed away. They had been living on the streets of Mysore, where her mother sold vegetables on the sidewalk, and her children sporadically attended a government school that had four teachers for seven grades.
At our home, Suma quickly saw the potential to get a good education and, ultimately, make a better life for herself and her siblings -- especially her youngest brother -- if she could get a good job after school. Suma and her siblings proved to be quite smart students, and with guidance from our teachers, Suma decided to pursue commerce for her higher studies. Suma worked very hard in high school, spent most of her free time studying, and in 2016 secured a spot at a very good private college in Mysore, where she is pursuing her Bachelor’s in Commerce. She plans to continue on to a Master’s in Commerce after completing her Bachelor's degree.
Suma has become an excellent example for our younger girls of what one can achieve by being diligent and working hard in the classroom.
Meet Surya, one of the children at Karunya Mane, our shelter.
As a young boy, Surya used to watch over his brother and sister while his mom begged on the street.
Once living at Karunya Mane and enrolled in school, we saw that Surya was an excellent student as well as composed, quiet, and very responsible for his age. Given his maturity and strong academic aptitude, when he was starting first grade, we enrolled Surya in an English medium school in the area, which offered a more rigorous curriculum.
We weren't sure what to expect when enrolling a former street child in a school for children from middle- and upper-class families, but in his first year at the school Surya was ranked #1 in his first-grade class for the entire school year! He also earned many extracurricular awards during the year for his excellent behavior. Since then, Surya has continued to surpass most of his peers in the classroom.
Surya continues to be an excellent student and is now fluent in English.
Children in Need
Take a walk down the busy city streets of Mysore for a glimpse at the problem. Chances are, a soiled, bare-footed child will approach you with hands outstretched, begging. Her real age is eleven but she looks more like a seven-year-old, from years of malnutrition and living on the streets.
Her mother has also spent years on the street, likely abandoned by her husband. Together, they survive day by day, begging for meals and sleeping on the sidewalk. The government often comes to throw away their belongings that they store on the street.
Sometimes, poor children are "loaned" by their parents or sold for money. To repay the debt, the children are forced to work in houses or in factories under extreme conditions.
Girls and boys are lured into the flesh trade. Children watch as their mothers turn to prostitution as an easy way make money, and sometimes the only way, with teenage street boys acting as their pimps.
Many poor kids are orphaned by diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.
Our Shelter, Karunya Mane.
Karunya Mane, our shelter for children, is on the outskirts of Mysore. It is close enough to the city for convenience, yet far enough away to enjoy peaceful surroundings.
Karunya Mane (which means "House of Compassion for the Poor" in the local language), is a fully equipped two-story building. The first floor houses the girls. The second floor houses the boys, and contains the kitchen. Excellent private schools, which our children attend, and good medical and dental facilities are conveniently located in the area.
We’ve been working to improve our facilities each year, adding additional structures for school tutoring, designed for both classroom formats and one-on-one tutoring sessions. We installed a solar panel system for environmentally friendly hot water for daily baths and an industrial-strength water filter for clean drinking water.
Karunya Mane opened on February 10, 2008. We presently house over 45 children. At Karunya Mane, our once destitute kids get everything a child in a middle-class family gets:
- The chance to be kids and enjoy their childhood years
- Quality private school education and daily after-school tutoring, including attendance in alternative schooling for children with special needs
- Medical and dental attention for all healthcare issues
- Counseling and psychological support for mental health and emotional issues
- Nutritious meals, including milk and dietary supplements (e.g., vitamins)
- Appropriate clothing, footwear, and personal supplies, including school uniforms, haircuts and comfortable bedding
- Interaction with other members of society through our volunteer-run programs, which include arts and crafts, singing and chanting, and drama and dance lessons
- Morning fitness, yoga, and karate classes
Karunya Mane opened on February 10, 2008. We presently house over 45 children. Read more about our residents at Our Kids. and also on our Facebook and Twitter pages. You can download our child protection policies here.
Selecting the Children
Focus and discipline in child selection is essential to ensure a successful and effective program. Our kids are from the poorest backgrounds, and first choice is given to children with no parents or with just one parent.
We target children demonstrating a willingness to live in the structured environment of our shelter. If the child has a parent, the parent must support the importance of a good education and must follow our rules.
Each child is selected through an interview process and by visiting and evaluating his/her current living environment (often, this is the street or a tiny, one-room house in a slum). Karunya Mane targets children from the age of six, with a focus on younger kids and kids that no other institution or facility would accept. We obtain the mandatory special permission needed when admitting a child under the age of six (typically a sibling of a current resident).
All of our kids are from the poorest socioeconomic background and were shunned from their society. During our first year, an often-heard comment we received from visitors to Karunya Mane was, "I can't believe these kids used to live on the streets. They are so clean and well-behaved."
Sponsor a Operation Shanti Child
To sponsor a child staying at Karunya Mane for one year costs $400 a year. That comes out to just $33.33 a month for 12 months, or a little over $1 a day. Donate now.