Currently, Andrea and I are traveling through India and we wanted to share one of our experiences in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Other than enjoying the rich culture India has to offer we also spent time in an orphanage/ashram where children have been abandoned from as young as 24hours after birth. The ashram is led by a woman (Manan Chaturvedi) simply known as ‘Maa’. She has personally taken the role of mother to over 100 children and has recently been inducted into the Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
We were totally blown away by the loving and caring home she has provided for so many children. What was more impressive was the attitude of the children, who displayed humility, respect and gratitude to all, including their growing family of brothers and sisters. Maa has ensured that the children receive health care and education, along with their right to family life. They take part in a number of activities such as singing, dancing and martial arts. I like the fact that the older children look after the younger ones as a way to teach responsibility and unity. What was also great to see was local adults working there supporting Maa while she divided her time between home and the State Commission.
Later on, we were very fortunate to have an inspiring and passionate conversation with Maa over a hot cup of masala chai (Indian tea). We spoke about politics, the meaning of life and her desire to have a garden to see her children play outside. I was both speechless and in awe of her kindness and unyielding love for humanity.
A very special thank you to Maa for letting us visit and allowing us to spend time with her unique and loving family.
Here are some photos of our time at the ashram. Some of the children were a bit nervous when Andrea pulled out the big camera but we managed to make them somewhat comfortable.
We hope you take as much inspiration from them as we did. Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!
Nikesh Pandya (Assistant Director)
I donated all of my Manchester United football shirts from my childhood. They once meant so much to me but what better home for my adored shirts than this ashram. It was only right that I included one of my many Barcelona shirts too!