A businessman has taken charge of local slum children in New Delhi, including some as young as two years old whose impoverished parents sent them out begging on the streets.
He envisioned a brighter future for the youngsters outside his door and agreed to be their daily caretaker, giving them food and hiring tutors to teach them to read.
Over the past decade, he and his wife have brought about 150 children under their wing, eventually operating as the Sunshine Project.
It all began in 2002 when a tailor named Kuku Arora met a tiny toddler called Roshni (right) on his way to work. She had only one hand and was in a state of absolute neglect.
Kuku and his wife Priti started bringing her a bit of food every day, until one morning she had disappeared. The couple missed the girl and started looking for her. They found the two-year-old begging in a very busy main street.
They visited the parents and volunteered to look after the child during the day, providing food, healthcare and education. As the discussion with Roshni’s parents, who lived on the street, became rather heated, more and more children came close to listen and began asking eyes wide open whether they could come, too.
The Sunshine Project was born. It was the very next day that Kuku and Priti began their day care center, helping no less than 17 children.
They rented a room to care for the children between 9 am and 6 pm. The group received tutoring for school, played and danced, visited a nearby park and even watch TV together. They received the gift of a “normal” childhood.
New young children are tutored by older ones, who learn to assume responsibility.
Kuku’s own family has to live without some of the “luxuries” they might otherwise enjoy so they can provide the kids with their community home and one meal a day — often no more than one banana and a biscuit.
But looking into the faces of all the grateful children provides a reward all its own.
To donate or sponsor a child visit the Sunshine Project website.
(READ more about Kuku’s story in CS Monitor)