Rose a nurse of ninety years,
Set his child upon her knee —
Like summer tempest came her tears —
“Sweet my child, I live for thee.”
These lines from Tennyson’s poem Home they brought her warrior dead portrays the strong mother-child bond. A mother, who had lost all interest after her warrior husband’s death, cries out once the nurse places her little son on her lap and regains interest for life.
Rama Datta in SOS Children’s Village in Faridabad shared a similar story. A widow from Kolkata — her husband died within two months of getting married — has been living for her children for the past 20 years. The only difference is that the children aren’t hers.
“I had lost all interest in life after my husband’s death but my in-laws sent me here and I was born again. Since then I started living only for these children,” said Rama, sitting in her house named Mamata Nivas.
Purnima Sutradhar from Orissa also came here two decades ago going against her parents’ wish just to become a mother.
“Today after bringing up many children, I am a happy mother. I thank God for giving me the strength to leave my family behind for a cause,” she said.
The SOS Children’s Village in Faridabad is a loving home for orphaned children. Here homeless children live with love, care and affection of mothers. This is the first such village in India that was established in 1964 on the foothills of Aravali ranges on Delhi-Agra highway.
Hermann Gmeiner, an Austrian philanthropist, first conceptualised the village in Austria in 1949 for the destitute children of the World War II affected families. He then established such villages in India, the first of which was in Faridabad.
The then Prime Minister Jawharlal Nehru had requested him for the same.
“SOS mothers are either single or widowed or divorced who are fond of children and bring them up as their own. Each mother brings up around 30-35 children during their career spanning 20-25 years,” said Sanjeev K. Singh, village director, SOS Children’s Village.
“Currently a total of 20 mothers are bringing up 219 children in the village. Over 400 children brought up here are now settled in different fields of work — doctors, fashion designers, teachers, etc.”