IT is rare to come across people who open their hearts to help others and, in the process, transform lives, including their own. That’s exactly what Shivaji Lazarus and his wife Prema did 10 years ago when they opened their home in Bangalore to children who were orphaned or abandoned by poor parents in distress.
Small home with big hearts
Now 23 of them of different ages have been embraced by the large hearted couple who have given the youngsters a loving home, good education and quality healthcare. Bus driver Shivaji and his wife Prema believe that every child has the right to dream big and are willing to go to any lengths to ensure the children have a better future.
Prema quit her job as a BPO employee to look after the children and the household expenses of Miracle Manna – the name they gave their home – were managed from Shivaji’s meagre income. Here, the children never feel orphaned, receive good nourishment and care, hygienic and convenient living spaces and go to English medium schools. But for the past few months, life has been nightmarish for this large family.
Struggling through the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic hit them hard and worsened its already difficult situation. Shivaji lost his job and could not find another one soon enough. The support group they had in the neighbourhood too dispersed and the donors and visitors stopped coming. They were compelled to close down day care facilities for other orphaned or distressed children due to a severe lack of funds. But the situation has not improved.
Unable to pay the house rent, electricity bills or the childrens’ school fees, they now struggle to even provide food for the children who are staring at a dark present and a gloomy future. The power supply to their house was cut off as they could not pay it for the last four months. The couple and their children are living in darkness.
The home too is now on the verge of shutting down. Their rations are running dry and the kids who have been receiving good education are on the verge of dropping out of school. “Those who are in SSLC and PUC stages have online classes and we couldn’t afford their school and college fees too,” says Prema. Shivaji and his family have been asked to move out of the house in a few weeks but they have nowhere else to go.
Prevent the children from being orphaned again
It is Shivaji and Prema’s quiet resolve to continue to provide for the children’s needs against all odds is what keeps this miracle going. The amount spent annually to provide and care for the children is around ₹22 lakh including rent, food and nutrition, education and utilities. Without the funds, the children might be on the streets again. Please donate so that this loving family can live a life of dignity.
Shivaji and Prema are truly on their journey to transform the lives of abandoned children. Please help them continue their noble work to change these vulnerable children into bright adults with a future.
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Samar is a Marketing Communications specialist and freelance writer. She has a master’s in marketing and creativity from ESCP Business School. She is an avid traveler and likes to write about technology, travel, wildlife and sustainability.