From the Street to University

by Sr. Noelline Pinto

On a cold rainy evening on the road side was a young mother with four children, three girls and a boy, their ages ranging from 2,5 to 7. I accosted them, they were homeless. The night they spent huddled up at the railway platform, during the day they wandered seeking help. I gave her my address and invited her to see me the next day.

The following day they were my guests. The children were happy as larks in the comfort of a home. In their childlike innocence they invented a game, „Playing hosts and guests“. They offered imaginary hospitality and good food. I was, of course, roped in to the game as an honour guest. Celina, the mother, told me how she had come to this impasse. She was the only daughter, she had four brothers. Her father's salary was insufficent to maintain the large family, so the mother worked as a domestic helper abroad.

Celina was school drop out from a convent residential school. Being without the protective care and guidance from the mother, she befriended a Muslim young man and married him against the parent's wish.

They lived happily for some years and had these four lovely children. One fine day she discovered to her horror that her husband had deserted them and had married another women. She was left homeless, pennyless, with only her four beloved children.

With the support of H.O.P.E. Celina and the children were welcome in a midway home, MAHER. She found an occupation in H.O.P.E.'s handicraft department. The children were admitted in a kindergarden and after the classes in H.O.P.E.'s day care centre. This happened in the middle of the academic year, so they could not get admission in the regular schools besides it was an uphill task to procure the documents neccessary for their enrolement in school.

In the new academic year I got them admitted in boarding schools. Generous sponsors subsidized the cost of their education. Sonia the eldest was very fortunate, largess was offered her by a good hearted philantrophist to pursue higher education – as much as she desired. She finished her Masters in Economics, her MBA and is presently studying law, while holding on a well paying job. While the children were studying in boarding schools, the mother was a domestic helper either in India or abroad. Sonia is the backbone of the family financially and otherwise. Celina and the children make a happy home. Sonia has encouraged and is still encouraging the younger sibblings to achieve their goals in life. They are now beautiful young ladies, each one holding a good job. Nastor is a handsome young man who besides academics has excelled in football and has represented his college at the national level.

Looking at them as a group one would scarce believe that these were once starving, shivering street children. The magic wand of H.O.P.E and sponsors and children's cooperation has done it.