Children of Mother Earth ‘Apna Ghar’
Apna Ghar, meaning Our Home, is a place where many homeless children in India call home. Journey Outreach is working with Ravi Rai, the founder of COME and the Apna Ghar homes, to bring Journeywork to the children for their emotional healing. Children of Mother Earth (COME) was founded in 1998 by Ravi Rai to rescue orphans in India. Most of the children he finds at the railway stations, and some come to him from other places as well. His lead operation is in Delhi, with additional operating locations in Lucknow and Gorakhpur. He contacted The Journey office independently after hearing about the work. He was looking for a way to help his children cope with and forgive their pasts and personal traumas. Most of his children are orphaned, abused, and abandoned. They vary in age from infants to teenagers.
More about Children of Mother Earth and Pooja
Pooja was seven years old when she first came to live at ‘Apna Ghar.’ Two weeks before, her mother had been “cancelled,” stabbed, leaving her, her five-year old brother, and three-year old sister without parents. The day of the stabbing, Pooja and her brother went to their mother’s workplace, found her injured, flagged down a two-wheeler rickshaw, and took her to the hospital while she was still alive. The hospital would not treat Pooja’s mother because of her poverty and social status. The driver of the rickshaw took pity on the children and said they could use his rickshaw for the night. Pooja and her brother pulled their mother in the rickshaw to another hospital. There they gave her bandages but would not admit her. They told Pooja to take her mother home to die. Pooja used the rickshaw to take her mother home, and her mother died before morning.
Pooja used all the money she had saved up to bury her mother since they could not afford a cremation. At the funeral, she begged all of her relatives to take her and her siblings in, saying, “we’re family, you’re all my mother and father now, PLEASE take care of us, please take us home we promise we’ll be good children.” No one, no relatives, no friends, no one took them in. No one provided for them, no one wanted anything to do with them. It was then that Ravi Rai took Pooja and her siblings in, gave them a home, a family, a life, lots of love, and everything a child needs to grow, to shine. Pooja is now 13 years old, she and her siblings live at Apna Ghar. She goes to school, and she helps her ‘new father,’ Ravi Rai, run the rest of the orphanages.
Pooja’s story has a happy ending because of Ravi and Children of Mother Earth (COME) . Every day thousands of children are abandoned and orphaned in India. COME was founded in 1998 by Ravi to rescue these children, to give them a home, and to provide them an opportunity for a brighter future. There are five centers with main operations in Delhi, and additional operations in Lucknow and Gorakhpur. Most of the children that have come to Apna Ghar were found by Ravi, living without a family at the railway stations or in other poor conditions. COME also has a small program for underprivileged women, and has helped 25 women from weak economic families to learn skills and gain employment.
Ravi contacted The Journey office independently after hearing about the work. His children vary in age from infants to teenagers and most of them have suffered from abuse and/or severe trauma. He was looking for a way to help them work through their pains, and forgive their pasts.
In 2009 Ravi was sponsored through the Journey Practitioner Program in North America and has since trained five of his staff members to do the Kids Journey process with the children. Currently he has 250 children staying with him permanently at the COME orphanages, and 322 have been reunited with their families. All their Apna Ghar homes give the children a sense of belonging and provide functional literacy, food, medicine, clothes, entertainment, care and Journey processes regularly. About 200 of the children attend local schools. They are provided with a choice of traditional education and/or vocational training and placement so that they can contribute, gain employment and acceptance in society, and build lives for themselves.
COME is a mainly volunteer organization led by a team of professionals and a loving and supportive staff of 35 people who share Ravi’s dedication for children and belief that the world is one family. The organization aims to help underprivileged people, particularly children, in developing regions where other assistance is unavailable. It is endeavoring to do so by establishing a system of social networks of education, welfare, medical services, and disaster relief; and by focusing mainly on saving the lives of children who cannot help themselves.
COME receives support from private donors, Journey Outreach, Jaycees India, Lions Club India, Gorakhpur Rotary Club, Brentwood & Becket Rotary Club, the Vijay Amritraj Foundation, Tudor Foundation USA, and Indiapore Singapore. Brandon Bays and Kevin Billet, the founders of The Journey and Visionary Leadership, visit the COME homes on every trip they take to India, and Journey practitioners traveling with them give processes to the children. Ravi is very grateful and says The Journey has helped him and his children considerably.
by Tina Kapadia, Journey Practitioner and Visionary Leadership Coach