For the residents of a housing society in Bangalore, help with transport is a phone call away. The drivers there know a guy who will, in a pinch, pitch in and drive anyone where they want to go. His name is Shivaji and he is the local friendly, dependable driver. There is a reason why he is available only part-time. He cannot take on a full-time job because his 'big family' needs him.
"We are not running an orphanage…this is a loving home for all 23 of these children. We consider each one of them our own. We like taking care of all their needs - from feeding them, getting them dressed every morning to sheltering them, we don’t find any of this stressful. It gives us immense happiness to do so. It has become the purpose of our lives."- Shivaji.Shivaji and his wife are bringing up 23 adopted children because they decided never to refuse a child in need. They give loving care to children who have felt unwanted so early in their lives.
'This is not difficult or stressful...it is the purpose of our lives'
Prema and Shivaji came to Bangalore when they got married 25 years ago. Shivaji worked as a driver and Prema worked at a small BPO. Their daughter went to a good school and while they were not rich, they managed to lead happy lives.
Shivaji and Prema at Miracle Manna
That's when Shivaji's cousin abandoned his family leaving his wife and three children penniless and homeless. Prema and Shivaji decided to help this family in need. They helped settle their most pressing bills and made sure the children finished their education.
“Even though we didn't make much, we saw that we were able to help a whole family. We decided to put more effort in taking care of others who needed it,” Prema explains. They decided to adopt children who didn't have anyone to look after them.
The exterior of the home
In 2010, they had 10 children and they needed some support taking care of them. That's when they decided to register as a charitable trust named 'Miracle Manna'. Today, Miracle Manna has 23 children united by love and the sense of family.
They call us ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’. what we are doing is God’s work because children are the embodiment of God. - Prema
A tough call for the best interests of the familyAs the family grew, the hired help expenses also began mounting. Even with donations, the family's income lagged behind the expenses. So Prema and Shivaji made a tough, bold decision. “I got only Rs 8,000 at work. Shivaji also made about the same. I realised that it would be more efficient and easier to manage things at home on my own,” Prema says.
Prema quit her job and now handles all the cooking and cleaning herself. Shivaji drops all the children to school in a van and works only part-time. The children go to the nearest English-medium school, an hour's drive away. They firmly believe that this is God's way of working through them and this thought keeps them going in the most difficult of times.
The children going to school in their van
But the extra time has helped them reach out to more donors. "Every month, we make a list of the things we need. We have a group of donors who help us procure the most important items. But sometimes, it is difficult to even get rations for the month,” says Shivaji.
They need your help to keep their home and help serve their angels betterAt the moment, the family lives on the charity of people from the society that helps them buy their monthly rations. But charity doesn't cover some essential expenses and this family needs help paying their rent dues and retain their home.
"We were fortunate enough to get a spacious home in the outskirts of Bangalore. But my husband's odd jobs are not sufficient to pay the accumulated rent of five months and we can't afford to default any further. We also need additional funds for building a ‘closed bathroom’ to ensure the privacy of our girl children. Please help us." - Prema.
With your support, they can retain their loving home and keep protecting and caring for these lovely, innocent children. Click here to contribute.