Vasanthi is 18 years old and has lived with her Aunty Meenakshi since she was five days old on the Poonagala Tea Estate. Vasanthi was a twin from a complicated & tragic birth resulting in the deaths of her twin sibling and her mother. Her father succumbed to an illness two years later and also passed, leaving Vasanthi an orphan, in the care of her aunty who barely eked out a living on the tea estate. Aunty is now retired and lives on a miniscule pension. Their little house has barely any furniture, just a bed for aunty and niece. They light their living room with two little kerosene lamps. Even though we visited many homes, this visit struck such an impression for two reasons: one, it was discovered they stored their kerosene oil under the bed, so naturally, we advised them on inhalation and fire hazards; two, Vasanthi has never been to school and even though a teenager when we met her, it was discovered that she cannot read nor write, and has no social skills. The children of the village shunned her because for years she had lived a close to hermit life.
Fortunately, her fortunes changed when Kerstin B. of Munich, Germany became her sponsor. The last two years has seen many incredible changes in her personality and literacy. She was sent to the General Hospital in the next big town for a series of medical examinations over a period of two weeks. X’rays and EEG showed “death of brain cells” on the right side of the brain, consistent with epilepsy, which her aunty explains was the reason she never went to school. Carbamazepine, an anti-convulsion drug was prescribed. Vasanthi started attending the Day Care center at the tea estate as a means to develop her social skills. Additionally, she now also has a home tutor. On my last visit to her, September 2012, I was surprised and happy to see a bunch of children in the home, sitting on her bed. She has made new friends and even though the educational process is progressing at a slow pace, the obvious positive changes in her personality can be attributed to timely intervention of a sponsor and her “case” brought to the attention of individuals who can step in and help.
There are more such individuals like Vasanthi who just need a helping hand from someone who can help. Mother Foundation provides many opportunities for you to reach out and change a life! If you read this and feel moved to get involved in any way, we welcome hearing from you!