Friday, November 12, 2010

YOU ARE OUR VOICE.....Says Children from Dharavi slums.

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A musical concert in aid of Kripa Dharavi project was held at Rang Sharda hall, Bandra Mumbai on the 12th of November. This was organised by WAKE UP...BANDRA,titled WE ARE FAMILY,which was well organised by Mr. Dereyk Talker. The Guest of Honor was Fr Willam Athaide the Parish Priest of Mount Carmel Church,Bandra . In his address note he mentioned about the great work Kripa and Fr Joe was doing for the chemically Dependent all over the world and also how at Kripa Dharavi, they were doing marvelously looking after Street children. He further mentioned humbly that he was also there representing Fr Joe who was in Goa at The International AA Convention as Fr Joe being a Class A non alcoholic Trustee for AA in India,his presence there was important.

At the event Sister MUNIRA KHAN was felicitated with an award " Citizen of the Year" by Mr Dereyk Talker of Wake Up Bandra for 60 years of service in the vineyard of the Lord

The event was packed to House full and the artist's kept the show lively with a mixture of Old and New music tracks.

In this blog we have a speech by Naomi Nigam , The Youth Ambassador of Kripa and also a active volunteer at the Dharavi project.A testimony by one of the beneficiaries.Also in the blog is a very touching poetry which was recited by the children on stage.The end we have a speech by Naomi Nigam telling us about the work carried out at Kripa Dharavi.


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My name is Jyoti ( name changed to maintain anonymity ) My mother was labeled as being mad and I was labeled as a source of tension and we were banished from our village by my father.

We reached Busawal and as a little child of 9, I used to sweep the railway compartments and beg for money from the travellers. I was often hungry and alone. Slowly I learned to sell gutka and old bottles.

Our next stop was Mumbai I also learned form other children to use drugs and inhale solvents to get me high. I also learned to sell my body through prostitution which helped me get money for my drugs.My life changed and I was now able to earn a lot of money and wear the clothes I was always wanted to but there was always missing in my life: true happiness. Sad and lonely, many times I slashed my wrist after getting high.

One day by chance at Dadar Station, I met Anita Didi who offered me chance to change my life at the Kripa Center in Dharavi. I was diffident at first as I was unsure it was another way of luring me to the remand home, but I took the chance any way.I was educated on the ill effects of drugs and the dangers of HIV AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases if I continued with my bad habits.I was gently counseled and learned to do yoga. Day by day I grew stronger and stronger to make a decision to give up all my bad habits both addiction and prostitution.

My life changed again, but this time for the better. I am blessed with a wonderful little baby Krishna, and all I want to do in life is to the best mother to him and give him a good life, one that I did not have.Namaste



The Poetry recited by the children from Dharavi


When we roam the streets,

Looking for food,

Or through the dustbins,

For some scrap;

You are our voice.

When drugs tempt us,

And we push them away,

Or are gently counselled,

To stay addiction free;

You are our voice.

In times of darkness,

When we are sick,

Or are nursed to health,

With loving hands;

You are our voice.

From Yoga to dancing,

Or English to karate,

Maths or diya painting,

In the Dharavi slums;

You are our voice.

For a better life…

We need you, We love you,

We thank you;

You are our ONLY voice


Address note by Naomi Nigam ( Youth Ambassador & Volunteer at Kripa Dharavi) at the function

If you have ever walked down the alleys in Dharavi ,you will be greeted with a mixture of grime and garbage, squealing pigs and naked children running amok. Yet, in their very midst, stands a ray of hope through our Dharavi Drop In Centre.

For over 3 years we have welcomed each and every street child with open arms. They come from broken homes, runaway children, all battered and bruised by drug use. Each and every day, we slowly help them to become more independent and to grow into stronger human beings.

As children, all we have ever wanted is to be loved and appreciated by our family and friends. These children have no family and have been deprived of every drop of love that we more fortunate ones, take for granted.

So this is what our centre hopes to give them. We want to give them the Life that they deserve.

We want them to Laugh till they are crying.and we want them to Love and to be loved in return.

Our program of counseling, yoga and meditation works to rehabilitate the children and help Them battle their uncontrollable addiction to solvents, glue or alcohol.It is extremely crucial for them to have a basic knowledge of English, Math, Environmental studies, and Hindi, which they enthusiastically learn at every session.Through a strong volunteer program they have been encouraged to paint, dance, learn Karate and improve their carrom playing skills.

Children, by nature are distracted and carefree. However it is heartening to see them settle down willingly and happily during the various vocational activities such as paper packet making and bag painting, decorating bookmarks or divas. They learn the importance of recycling the paper, cardboard and art materials that are generously donated by supporters, making this an eco-friendly activity.

As the festive season approaches they are enthusiastically getting ready with Christmas cards, bookmarks and candles. It is our dream, for them, to be capable of standing up on their own two feet, independent and strong.

Volunteering over the last two years, I have watched these children blossom and grow from small caterpillars into beautiful brilliant butterflies. There is no greater joy than the joy of children, and each time I go back to Dharavi, I am a part of this. Each time I visit them, I am bombarded by the children jumping up and joyfully greeting me. They have gone from the formal “Good morning Didi” to the friendlier “Hi Didi” and I have come to love and cherish each moment I spend with them. Their simple smiles and shrill laughter at even the smallest of things lights up my day. On this note, I want to warmly welcome one and all, and especially the youth to volunteer at our center and open your hearts to the children. For it is in giving that we receive. Come join our Friends of Kripa Family and be the drop of change in the children’s lives.

The theme “We are family” could not be more appropriate for our own little center in Dharavi. At the heart of this family stands our staff that work tirelessly and diligently day after day with the children, molding and motivating them into the butterflies that they are today. Our sincere appreciation goes out to the this team of Deepak, and Rajan our Program Co-coordinators, Praveen our male nurse, Shabana our social worker and Sarika our out reach worker. Those who could not be here are Brett our artistic Coordinator and Robin Pihal a volunteer who choreographed the dance.Thank you for your wonderful efforts!

A family is not made up those connected by blood but by who you love, care, respect and trust. I now welcome our very own precious children to complete the circle of our little Kripa Dharavi family.

A family that prays together, stays together and so we will now recite the Serenity Prayer, a constant source of courage and inspiration to every recovering addict as they rehabilitate their lives.

Naomi Nigam