Every once or so a portal opens, bringing along a transformed perspective in your life. Some of them like fleeting comets wane after a flash of brilliance. But some like the stars shedding light on your path linger on forever, changing your outlook in its course. Once such door was opened to me when I enrolled as a volunteer in Bosco Mane.
Bosco has various branches and service points across Bangalore that helps in the rehabilitation of street children. Abandonment, abuse, poverty and other social ills force these helpless children onto the streets away from their homes. Bosco, through contact points, picks such children up and after gaining their confidence, takes them to shelters depending upon their age and sex. The entry shelter for the younger kids is Bosco Mane headed then by Fr. Cyriac. I was introduced to Fr. Cyriac through an ivolunteer scheme which works as the potential volunteer-NGO interface. My lack of knowledge of the local language was a constraint in working directly with the children of the shelter. I was allocated to help in their office and awareness schemes. I still vividly remember my first visit to Bosco Mane. There were many children, some playing and laughing, some studying, some walking around, some just sitting and gazing; strangely they all looked at home and at ease. The new inmate, a small kid who had been just picked off the street looked suspiciously around as he was given a thorough wash. Simple things can be at times very precious. Taking bath, eating good food, a roof over the head, I took for granted all my life but for the kids at Mane, these were gifts bestowed on them by a few kindred souls.
My major assignments were travelling along with Fr. Cyriac to various schools and institutions in and around Bangalore to create awareness of the shelter. I remember the enthusiastic participation of children of all ages in schools to know more about the deprived kids and expressing their readiness to lend a helping hand. Students in many schools formed groups for collecting old newspapers from their neighbourhood and selling them to raise small funds to help the unfortunate children of Bosco. It was a magnanimous move from those little hearts, to help their less fortunate fellow children. We also got in touch with various MNCs, who would not only sponsor money, but their time as well, in taking the kids out for picnic, organizing sport tournaments, teaching them etc.
It was indeed a delight to see the youth of our country so ardently participating for a cause. The young ones at the shelter look forward to a better life and if those who already enjoy the affluence do their bit the world would become a much blessed place to live in. The dedicated workers and management of Bosco Mane along with the volunteers have opened up a path forward to make a thousand buds bloom and spread their fragrance of love and affection around. Let us hope that through such efforts the abandoned children will get a life worthy of living. For me it was a revelation that brought about a paradigm change in my attitudes and I felt honoured to play a humble role in such a benevolent movement.