There’s no place like ‘Ghar’

‘Mujhe yahin rehna hai, marne ke baad bhi…’ How many of us have yearned to have a shelter called ‘Home’ with this shiddat (intensity) in our lives? Probably because this place called ‘Ghar’ (home) came to us naturally at birth. Since we were born here, we lived here so we belonged here and hence it became our ‘home’. But for the less privileged, the struggle begins right from longing for a home. Sant Ishwar Foundation’s ‘Ghar’ in Pune in its true sense is a shelter for the underprivileged girls who were either born poor, insecure, exploited, abused or abandoned.

Studies show that orphans are prone to psychological distress, anxiety, a sense of uselessness and hopelessness. And hence, only material support and sustenance may not be sufficient to address these issues in them. Studies have also shown that yoga can be incorporated to help them deal with their psychological well-being. It is an effective mind-body tool and a holistic system that has helped improve both, mental and physical health. It not only enhances the child’s executive function but it also has positive implications on the child’s learning and overall classroom behaviour. It also acts as a preventive measure for mental health issues. Yoga postures and breathing techniques enable the rehabilitation of orphans.

Ghar, an orphanage by Sant Ishwar Foundation, is a registered public charitable trust incorporated by Army veterans and members of their fraternity. “At Ghar, we are committed to do something for the less fortunate. We truly believe that helping one person may not change the whole world but it will definitely change one person’s whole world. Ghar is an emotion, a feeling, a yearning and a journey. It is about trust and faith not just towards those whom she mothers but also towards those who seek shelter and repose under her wings,” said Col. Mickie Uberoi (Retd.) (fondly called Uncleji) who is president of the foundation.

“Ghar gave me an opportunity to look at the world, to dream and to work towards becoming an agent of change. Every day is a new learning, a learning with which one day we will make our dreams come true,” said a 14-year-old who aspires to join the Army like her Uncleji.

Along with training for various life skills, Ghar has also introduced yoga to its children. An initiative of Sab Ka Mangal Ho (SKMH) Foundation, a non-profit organization in Mumbai, yoga training is imparted to the students through trained professionals from SOSVA Training and Promotion Institute, a support service organization, that believes in building capacities of voluntary organizations working in diverse fields of social sectors.

“It’s been nearly eight months that we have introduced yoga to our children. Although, it is too early to talk about its benefits, girls are experiencing better improvements in their physical health with reduced complaints of cold, cough and fever. It has helped improve their immunity as it has improved their appetite and sleep quality as well,” said Col. Mickie.

Citing an instance from a school gathering of one of the girls, Col. Mickie said, “During a recently held gathering in a school, one of our girls outsmarted the other children. She was incredible on the stage and her interactions with her peers had also changed. This girl, who used to return with complaint notes from her teachers is now getting accolades for her overall behaviour.”

Mujhe yahin rehna hai, marne ke baad bhi…’ These were the exact words of our 10-year-old who otherwise is a very notorious child. There probably isn’t anybody who hasn’t come up to me with her complaint. But when she said this is when I realized how connected she feels with us,” said Col. Mickie with a choked voice.

In this fast-paced world, there are Samaritans like Col. Mickie Uberoi and members of his fraternity who have made it their motto to serve mankind.