Aurelie and I would like to share with you some of the children we have grown to know over the last 2 weeks at SALT Children’s Home in Tamil Nadu… These children were found living on the street with no adult support, food or education. At SALT they are given a safe home and a chance to live and play as children. Check back at: http://www.SALTchildrenshome.org (the site will be up this week)
This is Nishanti (9) but we know her better as ‘Roje’ (Rose) because of her beautiful nature and spirit. She is one of the only girls at the SALT Children’s Home and is living here with her brother Saran (7). Both children came to the live at SALT when their father could no longer look after both of them by himself after they lost their mother to Tuberculosis. The children enjoy playing in the tent they built in their backyard and sharing afternoon cookies.
Venugopal (13) has been living at SALT for the past four years after his mother fell sick to HIV. As one of the older children at SALT, he keeps a watchful eye over the rest of the children, making sure the cars stop when they cross the road after school. Venugapopal loves to learn and he can often be seen bright-eyed and smiling.
The youngest of the SALT Children’s Home is Prakesh (6) but he is by no means the smallest, with great charisma and full of energy, he stands out in a crowd. Prakesh came to SALT when he was found sleeping alone on the streets and begging for food and money. Although young he is very talented and loves to draw pictures.
The newest member to SALT is Selvam (8) who came to the home when his mother who is living alone and working as a servant could no longer provide for him. Selvam loves to get involved and can be usually found spending time with Anitha one of SALT’s child guardians and English teachers.
Dinesh (9) was rescued from his life working on the streets after the death of both his parents. He spent his days as a watchdog for businesses conducting illegal activities and when he came to SALT he was dangerously undernourished and emaciated. Now, Dinesh loves doing weekly Karate lessons and has grown both physically and mentally stronger since his time as a street child.
Thank you for taking the time to read all of these children’s stories…
Before I started this project I was so concerned with what I thought the children would be feeling as a result of the unimaginable hardships they have faced, neglected and abandoned and living with no one to love and care for them. But working with SALT I can see that these children are full of life, love and kindness.
With no money or support from the government, SALT scrapes by every month with just enough money for food and the capacity to send the children to school. In April this year they face eviction from their home, the home that has housed 35 children for the last nine years. SALT’s vision for a better life for the children is something Aurelie and I are hoping to make a reality…
Nevertheless, amongst all the seriousness, when we are spending time with the children we can’t help but laugh, their smiles and happiness are rather contagious!