#Will of Steel is an endeavour by JSW to honour the unsung heroes of India, people who have truly proven their mettle and have unbreakable determination. Be it in sports, health care, social service or even saving the environment. These are individuals whose willpower has changed the world.
A brief of their story –
When Sanjay and Tula met in Ahmedabad, Sanjay was pursuing BTech while Tula was studying commerce. They fell in love, got married and moved to the US. However, the desire to do something uncommon pushed them off the beaten track and brought them back to Ahmedabad. In 1993, they founded Vishwagram, an NGO, which aimed to serve the needy. In 2006, they took up the cause of the orphaned children and with the help of NGO Childline they built the orphanage at Basna.
Tula and Sanjay have adopted 18 orphaned kids wandering on the state’s railway stations, and are offering them upbringing, education and identity. They have given these kids the surname Bharatiya and celebrate a common birthday on December 25.
Previously these kids begged on streets and stations, and had to work as carriers for drugs; they had witnessed gory crimes and suf-fered harshest of thrashings and brutal exploitation. Their traumatic stories of life at stations, addiction and sexual exploitation, are too grisly even for Bollywood. But the couple turned these children’s lives upside down, literally.
These young kids had been running away from criminals who wanted to use them for their illegal activities. Their travail came to end only after they met Tula and Sanjay. The latter took them home and officially adopted them to give them shelter, food, education and family.
Today, at their home Vishwagram, these kids learn to live with creative discipline in an unconventional set-up specially designed to bring back positive emotions of childhood, including naiveté, curiosity, trust and smile that the cruel system prevailing in outside world had once snatched away from them.
The children begin their day at 6 am with a ‘nature walk’. In natural surroundings, they learn to identify bird species and also learn botany. Their routine starts with lessons in self-hygiene, and at breakfast they learn about healthy food habits. They learn to read and write and cook and clean. After lunch, these kids spin yarn and make about 75 metres of khadi cloth every year. During early evenings, the kids spend a few hours learning various arts. Activities like designing a newspaper pamphlet, making pots, lamps for sale etc.that help to re-generate the sensitivities of these young hearts which were hurt and had withdrawn are undertaken under their supervision.
“Being able to restore a gleam of hope and a smile within those tiny frightened eyes is the reward which keeps us going,” says Sanjay.
I am truly inspired by their story. It isn’t easy to provide home and shelter to the kids acting as parents in truest senses.If one has the courage to change the lives of those on whose shoulders lies the future of this country, they are truly doing a commendable job and for this one surely require a ‘Will of Steel’.
You too can log on to the Will of Steel website and vote for the nominess who inspire you the most. There are stories of grit and determination, of undying passion towards different causes, stories of bravery, of triumph of human spirit – read the stories, get inspired and express your reapect and admiration through your votes.
P.S. Information Courtesy – Google. In order to know more about the couple and how they work, I approached Google and always, it helped.