Orphanages (India)

In June 2013 Asha Sadan and Mary Bhavan Orphanage project was launched as an addition to the international Sikh Union charity projects. Both orphanages solely rely on funds and donations to function on a daily basis and provide abandoned, neglected girls with a safe roof over their head. The orphanages are run by Catholic nuns purely on a voluntary basis. The girls clean, wash and maintain their living environment themselves without any external support.

Asha Sadan, which is based in Noida, New Delhi currently accommodates 25 girls ranging from the ages of 3 to 16-years-old. These girls have experienced various forms of trauma (mental, sexual and physical abuse) and come from disreputable family backgrounds that have been crime ridden and unstable. Some of their parents are in jail so these girls would be on the streets facing neglect, crime and in worst cases, prostitution.It is run by eight volunteer nuns who provide daily care and support as well as food and education.

The first visit to Asha Sadan was made in October 2013 where Sikh Union overlooked and funded the initial phase to improve hygiene, sanitation and sleeping conditions. Bathrooms, sinks and toilets were restored to working order, installation of gas pipes, a cooker and improved kitchen conditions and mattresses were provided for the girls beds.

During this time a visit was also made to Mary Bhavan Orphanage in Etah near Agra, which is the sister orphanage to Asha Sadan. This orphanage cares for up to 80 girls and was in desperate need of provision for basic hygiene, sanitation and structural work. The bathroom and toilets had damp and damaged walls, no cubicles on doors, broken sinks, only 3 working toilets and poor lighting. The orphanage grows what produce it can but there is not enough vegetation for them to live off on a continuous basis. The girls eat and pray on the cold floor whilst there is no gas supply and a lack of firewood for cooking chapattis and food on the “choola”. The nuns sew sanitary towels for the girls as any money goes toward trying to provide nutrition.

Before leaving Mary Bhavan we were able to provide two to three months of basic food supply, bought rugs for the floor and ordered tables and chairs for dining area. If these girls that come from poor families and backgrounds were not given a safe haven and be educated here at Etah, then they would be subjected to prostitution or other inappropriate forms of working to provide for their families. There are 25 nuns who support these girls, they work in the nearby school and donate most of their wages to provide for these girls basic needs.

This visit set our next phase for the project to improve their sanitation and living conditions for these girls.

Our long term aims for both orphanages are:

– To organize counseling for both nuns and the girls as the nuns are not trained to deal with some of the harsh issues the girls have experienced. Some of these girls suffer with post traumatic stress disorder which will continue to impact them into their adult lives.

– To provide further education and skills for employment post-orphanage life.

– We aim to promote self-sufficiency and empowerment for both of the establishments for the girls.

“We believe every female across the world has the right to feel safe, have an education and aspire to a brighter future.” – Sikh Union.

All this has been possible due to the efforts of the community, individuals and local schools who helped raise funds by monetary donations, holding events and doing charity walks, for which we are extremely grateful.

Sikh Union have always self funded their own visits so every penny raised is given directly to the cause.

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