Saraswati is currently in her third year of studying mechanical engineering; here, she shares her story of growing up at Snehalaya.
There are so many problems we all experience in our lives. Just the same as you, my life and the lives of my family were filled with many issues.
When I was in 2nd Std, our world fell apart. Our father was very ill with HIV and was admitted to Snehalaya's hospital with several complications in his treatment. With my father in the hospital, my mother could not pay our rent or cope with bringing us up. My brother moved in with our grandfather, and my mother adopted our youngest sister and left sisters at Snehalaya's hospital and me. I was three years old.
It became my responsibility to care for my sisters while playing, and Pramila Madam took good care of us while living in the hospital. As my three sisters and I started enjoying the happy atmosphere in Snehalaya, my mind still thought that my dad and mum would come to take us home soon.
Life is a test.
Finally, a ray of sunshine reached us when our grandfather and father visited. Our happiness sky-rocketed that day with the hope of a happy life. Like when a gust of wind comes, all the joy and hope disappear along with grandpa and dad. I had to be brave for my sisters.
While Baba was the mother and father, a brother was the second father, and seven years later, I again met the brother, who, until I was three, had not left my side. He gave me the courage to dream a second dream, even after the first one was shattered. He taught me that the task of teaching is to teach someone. I should think profoundly and thoughtfully, and that intelligence plus character is the goal of proper education.
With his words in my head, I completed my education first in Raghavendra Swami Vidya Niketan at Bolhegaon, Ahmednagar, and then in Snehalaya's English Medium School. I understand the importance of the support and encouragement I received from Snehalaya's staff. They took good care of us and guided us, providing me with the materials I needed for my studies. Thanks to everyone's guidance, my class all passed 10th Std. Now I am doing engineering in Pune, and I am thankful to the Rehab Center team who supported me to take admission in Engineering.
The role of teachers is essential in shaping students.
The mother gives birth; The father takes care.
Also, education gives life to the students.
I learned a lot from Snehalaya. Perseverance is the secret of all successful people worldwide. There is nothing in the world that man cannot achieve. You have to work hard to achieve the goals you set for yourself. A new day will surely come for you if you keep striving for your plan. And if you act honestly, no power in the world can stop you from achieving your goal. And it was with this guidance that I learned to move forward.
Madam Ratna always stood behind me like a mother and will continue to do so. I used to ask her many questions that came to my mind, and she always explained them to me like a mother. While at the center, I always helped with office work, and Gujar Sir guided me through every phase of my life.
For eight years, I took full advantage of the opportunities at Snehalaya, and I was loved. Everyone shows their love differently. Aunt Rekha expresses her passion by giving everyone nicely, clean meals; Devmane Mama takes us to school and college on time. Caregivers guide us to be clean and exercise to avoid getting sick, and if we fall ill, Chandrakant is there to take us to the hospital.
The mainstay of Snehalaya is its founder, Dr. Girish Kulkarni; my life is happening today because of him. I will never forget what my loving family did for me. There is no other place in the beautiful world like my Snehalaya family.