A Home for Destitute Girls
There was a time when charity initiatives, especially to save orphan destitute and old, were an ‘odd concept’ among the Bharateeya. As a result, we had been trailing behind other religious groups who use charitable organisations as a tool to expand their faith and increase their population. Considering the imminent peril and the necessity of saving our children, the Ashram, which was started in a temporary shelter, has now built a permanent residence, which can accommodate 150 girls.
Vaidehi Ashram was started initially with three children and today this garden for the destitute girls is blossomed into 120. Taking care of a destitute girl for the whole life itself speaks about the stupendous task. The mantra of the Sangh, Manava Seva Madhava Seva (The Service of Humanity is the Service to the Lord) emerged as a symbol of hope and guiding light of the organisers. The Ashram has caretakers who bestow the children with motherly care. Aparna aged 23, a native of Kadapa District is pursuing her M.Tech and do not recall when she was admitted probably when she was four and she manages all the office work with aplomb beside attending her college and helping other intimates with their home work. Navaneetha, a native of Gadwal pursuing pre-university is orphaned at the age of seven is staying from the past eleven years so is Sashipriya her classmate who joined this orphanage at ten. Charity is praiseworthy, but it should be done without any publicity. The Shastra says that in proclaiming one’s charity, the punya or merit of the deed will be lost! This is precisely what perhaps the Seva Bharati believes in under whose guidance this orphanage is run.
Located in a quaint colony called Saidabad here in Hyderabad, 120 orphans are now associated with the Vaidehi Ashram. It’s a very big virtual family where each one has pledged to help those needy girls ensuring to give them a better life. Perhaps just like any of us, they deserve to see their aspirations fulfilled in their lives. A visit to this home will certainly bring solace and their innocent smiles and dreams help me always to be positive in life no matter what. This three storeyed building is divided into three blocks aptly named after Rani Jhansi, Rani Chenamma and Rudrama Devi houses boarding, library, a dining hall and also a auditorium enough to accommodate 250. It’s a place where about 120 girls ages from 3 to 22 live together, most of them have no parents or a family of their own. 80% of the orphans are school going and they are admitted in the nearby Saraswati SisuMandir school while the rest compose of college going, Engineering, Polytechnic and few pursuing post graduation. Vocational training in lamination, crafts, candle making, painting, making of jute-bags, stitching and embroidery is imparted. Last but not the least, the girls are trained in self defence. Seva Bharati runs these orphanages with the help of donations. Adopt a girl for one year with (boarding and educational costs) inclusive you pay Rs 25,000/-, Only educational needs Rs 8000/- and another scheme called Mangal Nidhi a onetime deposit of Rs 25,000/- you can partake lunch /Dinner on specified day of your choice (Birthday, Marriage Anniversary etc) with the intimates. Alternatively you can also celebrate your birthday and have your dinner at the Ashram along with the intimates on a donation of Rs 2500/- . Foundation day celebrations are held every year and many Swamijis , State Miniters and Judges of High court have graced the events .
Vaidehi Ashram, a home which provides shelter, food, education and nurtures the child for holistic growth too has another unique feature. Many grownups have found a right match and got married at the Ashram premises. Twenty five marriages were performed so far with donors coming forward to contribute Rs one lac towards marriage expenses to the orphaned girl. Supriya pursuing MTech got married to Vandavaas Vijay, a Purchase Manager with Mekins, an agro machinery manufacturing company. Shruti, an Engineering graduate who was brought her at the age of five got married to Maheshwar Reddy a software Engineer. Particularly pleasing is the case of Uma Devi (intimate of this Ashram gaining admission at the age of 4) got married to Shravan Kumar of Tata Consultancy and both are settled in United Kingdom. Hats-off to those Non-Resident Indians, many who do not like to be named we indeed can’t thank enough and those who helped me in bringing joy and happiness into their lives. The practice of giving is universally recognised as one of the most basic human virtues, a quality that testifies to the depth of one’s humanity but again the marriages are indeed a colorful and lavish by all standards as people come in droves and gift the bride apparently to make her feel that she is no orphan. A feast for 1,500 is huge and wishing the couple getting into matrimony a harmonious and long lasting marriage. Vaidehi is indeed a safe haven to these beautiful children and its imperative to lend a helping hand and firmly believe and for believing in the notion that the ashram kids too deserve to see their just like any of us .
—N Nagaraja Rao