Ranchi, Oct 5 (IANS) Chandramati Oraon is unmarried and doesn’t intend to ever tie the knot, but that hasn’t deterred her from playing mother to 22 orphans who don’t know their biological parents.
The seeds for her mission were sown when Chandramati, 32, was in Class 8 and took her baby steps in social work. She graduated in 2002 and in 2006 began what is now called the Anchal Shishu Ashram in a five-roomed structure in the Bada Talaab neighbourhood of this Jharkhand capital on a monthly rent of Rs 1,500.
A trust was formed in 2011 to formalise the arrangement. The rent payments stopped three years ago as the owner decided he could do without the money.
“I have dedicated my life for this work. I will not get married and continue to work for the children,” Chandramati told IANS.
“She has been made House Mother of the Ashram considering her past social work. She treats the children like her own. She has dedicated her life to the children,” Sushil Kumar, the Superintendent of the ashram, who also heads the trust, told IANS.
The ashram, which has a staff of three, including a cook, relies entirely on NGOs and the deep pockets of Ranchi’s well-heeled, who contribute both in cash and kind to ensure that the inmates are well fed and have proper school uniforms and school books.
“The children are sent to government and private schools. We don’t have to pay school fees but we have to make arrangements for books, school uniforms, food and other things. We get support from people and NGOs,” Chandramati said, adding: “We want to increase the strength of the children, but a resources crunch prevents us from doing so.”
The current inmates are equally divided between boys and girls, with the preference generally being for the latter. The boys are aged between three and seven years, after which they are admitted to various hostels. The girls stay till they are 12-13 when alternative accommodation is found for them. In some cases, Chandramati has also arranged for their marriages when they come of age.
Chandramati is extremely happy with the talent in the children and said that the girls are brilliant in their fields and would make their mark in life. She admits that sometimes she has to face difficulties to make ends meet but she soldiers on with a smile on her face.
Chandramati belongs to Bishunpur of Gumla district. She is fifth of six children — three boys and three girls. She comes from humble economic background and her brother, the late Chandresh Oraon, was a two-time Bharatiya Janata Party legislator. All her siblings are married and lead a good life.
(Nityanand Shukla can be contacted at email@example.com)