An orphanage of 40 children in a small hutment in Jharkhand’s Ghatsila sub-division was burnt down three months ago. Barring the clothes they were wearing, there was nothing left.
Hindustan Times reported the incident and President Pratibha Patil met the children on Friday at Rashtrapati Bhawan over lunch.
Ledha village, where the orphanage is located, is around 180 km east of Ranchi.
The President invited Kantha Singh, 49, the tribal philanthropist who runs the orphanage, and 40 of these children and handed over a cheque of Rs 50,000 to Singh to help him take care of the children.
The children had never eaten sitting on chairs before. Many of them preferred to sit on the carpet and eat. They had never taken fruit juice in their lives.
Singh started the orphanage — an ashram under the aegis of Dampara Vikas Samity — in 2004 in an abandoned government health centre with 15 children. As on date, he takes care of 40 destitute children.
The Tatas and some other organisations had sponsored the trip of the children, most of whom had not seen a train before.
Praising Singh for his gesture, the President said, “Yeh bahut punya ka kaam to hai hee, par yeh vidhayak kaam bhi hai. (This is not just a noble gesture but also a constructive work).”
Singh was emotional as he said, “I never ever imagined in my dreams that the honourable President would herself bless my children.”
The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, had arranged the meeting.