Mumbai: Worli-based NGO is home to the real Secret Santas

Updated: Dec 27, 2017, 16:25 IST | Faisal Tandel

Worli-based NGO Bal Asha Trust, has been dedicatedly working for the last 26 years towards raising orphaned and abandoned children

What's it like to be mother to kids who aren't your own? For Jayshree Gadapa, 55, it's the most satisfying job in the world. Gadapa, a member of Worli-based NGO Bal Asha Trust, has been dedicatedly working for the last 26 years towards raising orphaned and abandoned children.  The NGO, first launched in 1985, currently has around 49 children under its care. Gadapa, who works as superintendent at the home run by the NGO, joined the trust right after completing a private nursing course. "The first thing I was told was to not get emotional with the kids and forget that I had a 9 to 5 job," she said.

Jayshree Gadapa
Bal Asha Trust member Jayashree Gadapa

Jayshree remembers how, around three years ago, she nursed a newborn girl with a hole in her heart. "It was Christmas eve, when we found the child. He was completely blue due to lack of oxygen in his system. No hospital in Mumbai was ready to admit him. We then rushed to a doctor, known to the NGO, who performed an emergency surgery," she said. The toddler is now being raised at the home.  

Gadapa, who also won the Adarsh Mata award from the BMC for her work, has now permanently shifted to the home. "I cannot give up on them," she said. 

Staff members of NGO Bal Asha Trust. Pics/ Ashish Rane  Staff members of NGO Bal Asha Trust. Pics/ Ashish Rane  

Another young woman and staff member at the NGO, Vaishali Bhatke 28, did what very few would have considered possible. Bhatke, who is presently studying law at the Mumbai University, reunited a five-year-old with his family on Christmas eve this year. "The boy was found at Dadar railway station around 15 days ago. We always see that any kid, who is admitted to our home, has an ID proof. When we went to get his Aadhar card made, we found, he already had one. We then requested for his details and found that he hails from Odisha," said Bhatke.  The NGO then traced the boy's mother, and sent him home right in time for Christmas.

"All these caretakers are pillars of our home," said Sunil Arora, executive director, Bal Asha Trust, Mumbai. "They play Santas 365 days of the year. They are the real heroes."

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