Finding Home and Hope in Mumbai: Ritu’s Story
- By The Global Fund for Children on February 19th, 2014
- Category: Featured, South Asia, Success Stories
Location: Mumbai, India
Ritu’s parents wanted the best for their little girl, but life was never easy.
Both visually impaired, they struggled to earn enough money to meet the family’s basic needs.
Then, two years ago, Ritu’s father passed away. Her mother currently lives on the streets of Mumbai, selling trinkets like key chains, hairpins, and combs. She makes only enough money to feed herself.
But because of GFC’s generous supporters, Ritu’s mother doesn’t have to worry every day about how to provide for her daughter—she knows Ritu is safe and cared for.
Ritu, who is 12, lives at the Sharanam Center, a home run by the Community Outreach Programme (CORP) for girls who have been rescued from the streets of Mumbai, where they faced poverty, ill health, abuse, and sexual exploitation.
“I love drawing, painting, and also dancing,” Ritu says, referring to CORP’s recreational activities. She also enjoys going to school, where math and science are her favorite subjects, and living with her house parents and her 30 “sisters.” As Ritu gets older, CORP will help her with computer skills training and career counseling.
Ritu already has a career in mind, inspired by her parents. “My goal is to become an eye doctor,” she says. “I want to serve the visually impaired and bring them relief and cheer.”
The home where Ritu lives is only one of CORP’s many programs; the organization’s primary goal is to build self-sustaining communities.
Instead of leaving their children unattended on the streets, working mothers use CORP’s daycare and preschool services. Not only are the children in safe hands, but they also receive crucial early childhood education and healthy meals. Older children attend nonformal education classes and get assistance transitioning into mainstream schools. CORP also provides extra tutoring for those who are struggling, and special education services for children with disabilities.
With the help of GFC donors this past year, CORP reached 2,800 vulnerable children in Mumbai through its shelter and education programs. The result: children like Ritu receive the holistic care they need to be healthy and strong—and to bring a brighter future to Mumbai.