A fairy godmother turns orphanage into kids paradise (Feature)

November 4th, 2008 - 11:00 am ICT by IANS  

Palanpur (Gujarat), Nov 4 (IANS) She is like a fairy godmother to the little kids in her orphanage - doling out dollops of love and affection as she interacts with them, never for a moment letting them feel the want of a normal home.Sadhvi Sarlaben, who is around 60, has turned the Satyam Sanskar Mandir orphanage here into a kids paradise.

Clad in a white sari, Sadhvi Sarlaben walks around the over 60,000 sq mt home to see that the children get all the amenities they would get in normal circumstances.

The kids, dressed in colourful clothes, play with toys and ride tri-cycles merrily.

Cozy, well laid out beds line the bedrooms. The kids have a weekly medical check up and a retinue of servants attend on them.

Festivals are always fun-filled times, with lots of goodies and food around. This Diwali was especially memorable with the children getting to burst crackers worth nearly Rs.20,000, thanks to a local NGO.

Sarlaben, a post-graduate in literature, is the daughter of a Jamnagar millionaire. Simple by nature, Sarlaben chose to dedicate her life to the service of children and god. She had always felt sorry for children who had lost their near and dear ones. When she was entrusted the task of taking charge of the orphanage, her joy knew no bounds.

“I wish to see them as doctors, engineers, scientists. Since children are ‘Brahma swaroop’ we spare no efforts to make them happy,” Sarlaben told IANS.

As eight-year-old Dharti darts nearby, Sarlaben says the child’s parents had died in an accident and her aunt was too poor to take care of the child. Dharti is from a nearby village. There is also seven-year-old Krupali, with an infectious smile.

The food for the kids is very appetising. “Right from vegetables to ghee and oil to pulses - everything is brought here after ensuring its quality. We have a storeroom, kitchen and a dining room. All are meant for the children. We have a governess for each group of six kids and there are 38 kids whom we look after. We plan to increase this number to 50. The strength would go up later,” she said.

Sarlaben is against seeking government aid. “We do not want any bureaucratic interference that could lead to avoidable evils. Nothing should be done that would affect the unity and purity of this institution,” she says firmly.

The Satyam Sanskar Mandir was built in 2003 at a cost of Rs.20 million. The orphanage has vast corridors, big halls, comfortable rooms, kitchen and store rooms. It also has a dispensary with two paid doctors to look after the kids.

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