Rescuing children from the streets of India
It would seem to be a great challenge to rescue a child from the streets of a big Indian city and change the course of that child's life for the better. And it would seem to be an overwhelming challenge to do that for over 50 orphaned or abandoned children with difficult and painful histories. At Vatsalya, Jaimala Gupta, her husband Hitesh, and a dedicated crew of teachers and staff meet these challenges…and succeed. While Vatsalya comprises many programs that work closely with India's urban street children, their most intensive work happens at the rural Udayan campus outside of Jaipur, India. At Udayan, Vatsalya rehabilitates former street children by providing academic and cultural education, vocational training, counseling, and health care. Much of their inspiring work involves reversing the attitudes and bad habits learned by children from life on the streets, helping the children to become healthy adults with the skills they need to live productive, self-sustaining lives and build families and communities.
Vatsalya is working toward financial self-sufficiency through goods and services produced on-site. It currently receives support from international sponsors and volunteers. If you'd like to help, click here.
I visited Udayan in September 2007 during a trip though Rajasthan, India. After you view the photo gallery below, please see the other galleries of photographs from the visit. My photographs of Udayan have been included in Jaimala Gupta’s book, Eighteen Million Question Marks, in which she tells stories about the children and her work. Many thanks to Jaimala and her hard-working staff for their warm welcome and guidance during our visit, and thanks also to Salaam Garage for organizing our Rajasthan trip.