It’s no mean task; to rescue and rehabilitate children who’ve had a bad start in life. And that is exactly what Sarath Babu, a former railway clerk at the Nellore station does through his organisation, CHILD Ashram. Some of the rescued children have grown up to become scientists, police officers and professors while the 120 children at his ashram lovingly call him “Daddy” because he believed in them when no one else did. Such is the power of guidance and love!
While Sarath Babu was still employed as a clerk in the Indian Railways, he would often come across urchins on the railway platforms and soon began providing them food and shelter as a gesture of goodwill. Recognising a real need to help these children, Babu approached the elders of the Gollapallem village in Nellore District for a piece of land to build a hut where he could rehabilitate the children. The villagers agreed on a temporary basis and a tiny hut was constructed to house the kids.
Helping these children and giving them a brand new perspective to life took a lot of time and effort. There were times when they resisted any help Babu tried to offer. These were little children who were used to vices and violence from the start of their young lives. Babu had to work hard to gain their trust and work even harder to get the children to trust him. Babu was robbed, tied to his cot and left defenseless in many instances. Through it all, he could see the real potential of his children and not the effect of their environments on them.
The villagers soon began to notice his efforts and offered to give him 4.5 acres of land to continue his work in the village. He used this land to develop it into a school and living space and called it Child Ashram to help children he rescued from the platforms and children from an impoverished background in the village and give them a good life.
A staunch devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba, Sarath Babu thinks of his work for needy children as nothing but his contribution towards society. His only dream is for his children to grow up and carry on the good work whichever part of the world they are in. Babu has developed a self-sustaining system at the ashram that the kids themselves could manage the organisation on their own. Every child is part of a group that takes care of a chore such as cleaning, growing their own vegetables, taking care of the cows, cooking, teaching other children, etc.
The impact of this “father’s” work is such that a number of his children have scaled heights in life. Orphaned children who previously resorted to being rag pickers, urchins and sleeping on platforms, due to miserable circumstances have today made Babu proud. They began education under Babu’s watchful eyes at the ages of 11 and 12, to grow up into well-educated, successful scientists, professors and policemen.
If a simple railway clerk like Sarath Babu with a meager salary and a big heart could transform the lives of so many people with only love and hard work, imagine what each of us is capable of! This Monday, let us take a silent oath to consciously do our part in contributing towards the greater good of the society. Happy Monday!