Welcome to the third part of our fourth edition of Bekind Update.This part will continue to focus on Brian and Shane's latest visit to Calcutta on behalf of Bekind Ireland, which took place between May 19th and June 12th 2010.
The Hope Foundation and the story of a little girl called Sonali.
Again, thanks to an increase in donations, we were in a position to sponsor three additional children with Hope in Calcutta.
Three new girls under our wing at Bekind Ireland: Parna, age 12, Ria, age 6 and a 3 year old named Sonali. Every child is special, but once in a while their background and particular circumstances makes them “extra special”. Their individual files arrived by post from the Hope office in Cork in early May, with a note apologising for the delay, but stating that Hope wanted to choose the right children for us.
Sonali had a report that differed from the rest, which had been written and prepared by Mou Sengupta from Hope Child Watch Team. This is Mou’s report, slightly shortened:
"SONALI DAS: An unbeatable warrior combating against every odds of life
Sonali (3 years) was that unfortunate angel who lost the paradise and came to this earth to suffer, to bear pain...but she has that kindness to forgive those who gave her pain, she will still come to hug you, to give you that love and affection which she did not receive from anybody. She not only had a broken family, but lack of bonding, love and care.
When she was first noticed by one of the volunteers, who help distressed people she had brain T.B. and little chance of survival. Sonali lost her father one year ago and the mother remarried. Her mother took care of her 20 day old baby boy but hardly looked after Sonali as she was feeble, sick and dying.
Her mother had no objection when we took her to the Hope Hospital (17/07/09), she never came to see her, never worried about her. We gave shelter to the mother and two of her children but she rather chose to go back to Sealdah station platforms and beg rather than stay with us. Hope Hospital was the first turning point in her life who tried to save this poor little girl, the social workers and hospital staff took the challenge and contacted Dr Vijay Kumar in order to save her life.
At West Bank Hospital on 9th Oct she had an operation under Dr Kumar who implanted a VP shunt in her brain.
Child watch teams did the follow ups and went to tell the mother about the operation and wanted her to come to see her baby. Out of momentary emotion she came with the social workers to see her and that was the first and last time.
On 18th Sept Sonali was again transferred to Hope Hospital for post operative care.
Everything was going alright, we thought she got back a new life but we discovered that Sonali had lost her eyesight!
Another curse of life, probably she will have to bear for the rest of her life!
She went for various examinations to World Vision and Disha Hospital but was blind in both eyes.
We still keep our fingers crossed that she may get back some vision or a possible donor of new eyes for her. She has her whole life ahead of her and is just three!
We have spoken to some special hostels for blind children but she has to be at least six years of age before being admitted.
Physically she is perfect now, looks better and one can’t recognize her who has seen her some months earlier.
When she comes to you to hug, when she will call you “Aunty… or Uncle” and will run up to you, will touch you to feel you, to know who you are,, you will be driven into her love, you cannot stop but loving her taking her onto your lap.
She is the darling of all in Hope and the quietest baby we have.
We do not know what will happen with her future, we only wish that she is surrounded by good people who will contribute in every possible way to secure her life and to give back that enormous love and care to her which she is showering to this world.
She is truly an angel, a specially blessed child of God despite all the hurdles of her life!
Signed Mou Sengupta
Sonali is sponsored by Bekind Ireland, with funding from a special donor in the United States.
Having read her report, Shane and I were to meet Sonali last May. Her description is not exaggerated at all: She is truly a most beautiful and totally loveable, little bundle of joy.
As it has for over ten years, The Hope Foundation continues to do the most wonderful work in Calcutta and takes such loving care of each child that comes to its attention. This was evident in the last report regarding Kabir: when we asked for help, Hope reached out without hesitation. Bekind Ireland is proud to support and be associated with such special people who care so much about others.
A special debt of gratitude to our good friend, Jenny Browne, Hope Overseas Director in Calcutta, for her kind assistance and help during our times in India.