Often when we see kids of celebrities or successful businessmen do well, some of us loosely attribute their success to their genes and their families, and even make statements that if we were born with such a legacy we would do well too. Fair enough. Again, when kids of well-educated families end with an MBA or a doctorate, it seems like it is no big deal. Surely a lot of hard work by the children and a lot of money to part with, for the parents. But what if the said MBA, engineer or a doctor is the child of a sex worker? Personally, I would surely be in awe of this person.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly being a sex worker’s child is not something to be proud of. The environment that the child lives in, is not the most encouraging one and the child doesn’t have the basic facilities to educate itself, leave alone getting a double graduation degree.
Some time back I visited a school in a place called Murbad, about 68 kms from Mumbai. This school caters to more than 150 children. These are the kids of the sex workers of Red Light Area (Kamathipura), Mumbai. These kids are brought here from the age of 3 itself. The school has a concept of a family where a male and female volunteer, act as the father and the mother of their family and have about 7-8 children under them. This one family lives in a house and there are 8 such houses. This way the children have the feeling of living in a family.
The school is run with bare minimum facilities and the kids get education up to the 10th std and later they are moved to other centers, where they continue with their graduation and so on. All this sounds simple, on paper. But it is actually heart wrenching to see these kids. While we were there, the director of the school was explaining the process of getting the children to their school. He was telling us how if a sex worker delivers a girl child, there is pressure on her to let the girl be around her, so that she can continue the legacy of the flesh trade and how these mothers have to be met continuously and convinced to let their child be in this school for a safe and secured upbringing. He went on to explain how these mothers fed cough syrups to the infant so that they slept while the business was on.
It takes multiple meetings with the mother, to convince her and persuade her to send her kid to this school. Also, once the child reaches the school, the mothers do not have access to these kids. They may come and meet them once a month or maybe after longer intervals. The kids are practically at the mercy of their adopted parents. The fact remains, that most of the kids do not know who the father is and they get to meet their mothers also, once in a while. It’s surely tough for any child to be living so.
The child is uncertain of his identity, is away from his mother, being brought up with strangers and is living on bare minimum things or rather depending on charity for their livelihood. We came across kids who were such good singers and dancers and they even showed us a glimpse of what they could do. Thanks to the volunteers of the school, these children here develop the confidence to seek admission to a college and to dream of a better future. Some kids of this school have been able to earn an MBA degree, some have become engineers and there are others who have completed nursing courses and are employed in hospitals.
In spite of having the best facilities and the best opportunities in our lives, so many people around us complain of what they could have done if they had more, there are so many people who live mediocre lives, and some have even given up their lives. On the other hand here we have kids who have nothing but still show smiles on their faces, dreams in their eyes, hope in their lives and gratitude in their hearts.
Do we still need any more reason to be thankful for all that we have? Do we still need more of material things to make our life meaningful? Do we still need more reasons to dream or follow our dream? I don’t think so. All we need is gratitude for the blessings that we have.