Turning Nirasha to Asha
By Jamuna Rangachari
Many of us just look at abandoned children but often do not know where to provide them shelter and security. However, some like Sunil Arora, the executive director of Bal Asha, take it up as a mission. In his case, the welfare of abandoned and destitute children was never on his mind when he was young. He wanted to do an MBA and get a job like many others, but since his mother, Meera Arora, often fostered orphaned children, it gave him the opportunity to know the social issues faced by them. But the biggest shift happened on his 18th birthday when he volunteered at Bal Asha, an NGO which works for abandoned children. Sometimes, he took care of them, and other times, he took them to foster homes or adoptive families.
The late Mrs. Madhavi Karandikar, who headed Bal Asha, also inspired him and gave him the freedom to make decisions in the ‘real world.’ She supported Sunil in all the things he wanted to do for vulnerable children and involved him in every stage of child development.
He observed the work of Bal Asha very closely: the love and effort put in by the team and its founders, for children who have nobody. The organisation also educates children on their rights, which include the right to education as well as the right to protect themselves against abuse of any kind. In the next few years, along with Mrs. Madhavi of Bal Asha, he conducted a lot of workshops in Maharashtra. His favourite was the workshop to change mindsets as he wanted to make people accept all children unconditionally.
As of now, he is working to support thousands of children across orphanages in India through the network of legal adoption. Seeing adoptive parents and abandoned children coming together—a union which they have long awaited—gives him immense satisfaction. When children come back to see Bal Asha as adults and thank him for changing their lives for the better, Sunil feels that the decision to work for Bal Asha was indeed the right one.
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