Sunita Das and Sunita Kumar, both 18, have just joined a Bangalore-based garment manufacturing firm; a job that fetches them Rs.8,000 a month, besides free housing facility. They bagged the job thanks to a specialised training in sewing and stitching that was imparted to them at Centurion University Khurda in Odisha, a globally accredited human resource Centre in Odisha.
The two girls indeed have come a long way from 2004 when they were separately rescued while loitering on Patna roads. They were found lost, having no details about their parents. The Welfare Department authorities packed them to a home for destitute girls in Patna; leaving them with a life without any hopes. But their lives changed in 2011 when Pratyaya Amrit, a 1991 batch IAS officer, stepped in to help them shape a future for themselves.
In February 2011 Amrit, who had just taken over Bihar State Road Development Corporation (BSRDC) as managing director, made the organisation “literally adopt” the destitute girls living in the shelter home in Patna. And the BSRDC has proved to be a good parent of the 12 girls who knew nothing about their parents. The two Sunitas, oldest in the lot, have been provided basic education followed by job-oriented trainings, the other 10 are doing fine in their schools.
Anita, 13, is one among them. She has once again topped her class examination. This is for the second consecutive year when she scored above 90 per cent marks in all her subject. The class 7 girl is now aiming high. She wants to be an engineer and her public school Principal can think of no reason why she cannot. Anita too was found loitering at a Patna railway station four years ago.
Anita only remembers how her mother (somewhere in West Bengal) married someone else after the death of her daddy and the new father put her in a train to Patna and then abandoned them.
Amrit says he mooted the unique initiative of his BSRDC literally adopting the homeless children to provide them more than the customary monetary assistance, which are usually offered as CSR activity. “We are not merely sponsoring the children; we have adopted them. So it is our responsibility to take good care of them,” Amrit says.
And he seems to have ensured it. While the two Sunitas have already bagged jobs; the younger girls are studying in a public school in Patna. An officer deployed by BSRDC regularly visits the children. Amrit; a recipient of Prime Minister’s award for excellence in Public Administration, also weekly visits these girls in the care home to keep an eye on their progress. Every willing employee of BSRDC –and there are quite a few including Amrit–teaches the children on weekends, which is often followed by a visit to local park or market, bringing smile on their faces.
Besides Rs.1,500 that BSRDC deposits every month in the bank accounts of these girls, the organisation has also parked Rs.50,000 as fixed deposits in favour of each of these girls. The money, taken from corporation profit, will be available to the girls after they turn 18.
The BSRDC will not only bear the entire education cost of these girls-till their graduation degree– but also help them get settled in life.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.