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Mon, 22 Jul 2019

Northeast Today

More than Rs.1 lakh raised for Children’s home in Dimapur by a woman from Delhi

More than Rs.1 lakh raised for Children’s home in Dimapur by a woman from Delhi
March 08
12:07 2019

NET Bureau

Kingson Chingakham

In Dimapur, Nagaland lives a noble couple Tinu Meren Ozkum and Aosenla Imchen. Together they run Eliezer Children’s home in which they have taken in 9 orphans and raising them as their own children.


Knowing the social problems of Nagaland, if these children who were abandoned by their parents out of sheer poverty would have ended up either being trafficked or begging on the streets. This couple takes them in and raises them like their own children. But their school fees every year run to a lakh of rupees, which is very difficult for them to manage.


It is not about feeding them fish, but teaching them to fish, and this can only be done by giving them a sound education, so that they live a life of financial independence in the years to come and are productive citizens.


This is a story of Shweta Kanvinde Rana, a woman from New Delhi who took up the responsibility to raise funds through a campaign on Ketto for the Children’s Home run by the couple. Shweta was born and brought up in Mumbai. God blessed her with a privileged upbringing. But it did not undermine her values. As she said, “The privilege was something which was a blessing from God, never to be taken for granted, but to be shared with others who needed it”.


What motivated her?


She had to move to Dimpaur because of her husband’s posting who serves in the Indian Army. The place impressed her with her beauty and simplicity of the people. Nonetheless,it took no time for her to discover the various social issues plagued in the place,specifically, with problems faced by the children.


Shweta said, “Every child deserves love, protection, and education. Children of today are the citizens of tomorrow. In case we want a society that is equal, we have to groom the children of today to be nation builders of a better tomorrow”.


Talking about the moment that changed her perspective, she expressed her gratitude to Dr. Khushboo Agarwal of Inner Wheel Club, Dimapur who helped one of the girls to enrol for the Governor’s Scholarship Scheme. Though the scholarship was not much, the whole process of including her girl brought a recognition.


At Eliezer home of hope, though there are limited resources, the couples gives their best to provide the children with healthy food, a safe family environment and good education.


One story that changed her life


One day she was visiting the home and had taken biscuit packets for the kids as she knew she would reach by their tea time. She handed the biscuits to the caretaker to distribute among the kids.


She further said, “Among these kids, is a boy who has seen terrible physical and mental abuse, until he was brought to us. This fellow is the naughtiest one we have and he often gets the best scoldings from all of us. I was sitting in the verandah sipping tea. He came and asked me, Aunty Shweta, where is your biscuit? And before I could answer he gave me one of the two biscuits that was given to him and left the place happily”.


Shweta realized the true joy of giving in just about 10 seconds, where a young boy was more than happy to share the little he had with a smile for a woman who he barely knew. This was an awakening episode and learnt that ‘we should not let ego take its toll on our happiness as we grow up, innocence is the essence’.


Problems faced while raising funds


Shweta said, “Most of the people want to do just lip service, and nobody wants to donate”. Dimapur is far-flung place and people are unwilling to help someone they don’t know. Most of them have trust issues, where they still believe that the money will not be used for a good cause.


Very few people want to help. Shweta said, “I know of many for whom Rs. 1000 a year is peanuts, and yet want to put the onus of giving to somebody else. I distinctly remember, in 2016 we had a fundraiser concert in Dimapur for the kids, and people were not willing to even shell out Rs 200 for a single entry pass. Though many people did come forward, most did not”.Compounding to a bad offline experience of fundraising,she decided to go online with Ketto in 2017.


She talked about online fundraising


My classmate from school, who is now a high flying architect in the USA, donated around $2000 through Ketto. Ketto was quick in dispersing the funds, but the bank played haughty for absolutely no reasons and kept dilly dallying the payout which was stuck as foreign currency was to be converted. Despite submitting all documents to the bank, they sat on it for around 3 months. It was only after I spoke to them and told them that I would pursue the said matter through RTI, was the payout done within 2 working days.


How she plans to use the funds


Initially, the kids were enrolled in local government schools. The quality of education was pathetic. The kids were not looked after and their knowledge level was sub-zero. Teachers were sometimes not there, and the little ones would be roaming aimlessly. They even had picked up offensive language and wrong gestures from the older kids at school. This was the main reason why they wanted to shift the kids away from the government school.


The home receive donations in terms of clothes, storybooks and foodstuff frequently, but not often. The funds are primarily for their school fees, uniforms, school shoes, school books, and ancillary school material. There are  9 children; 5 girls and 4 boys. So, the approximate cost per child comes to about Rs. 11,000 per child for a year. But these margins vary as some costs vary as per market economy.


Short Term and Long Term Targets


“I want the children to be productive citizens of tomorrow. And we need funds to keep the children in good schools. And education is the only chance for these kids to have a better tomorrow. So every year, our aim is to raise funds for the upcoming school year”, she said.


In the long term, she hopes to touch the lives of every troubled child who comes their way. At Eliezer Home of Hope, despite the very limited resources, they never turn their backs on any child in need. But to do this, they need funds and people who are willing to trust them.


She said, “We at Eliezer Home of Hope, want people to visit us at Dimapur and see for themselves the hard work and sheer dedication that we work with”.


A school in the future?


They intend to have a school of their own someday. This school, they have envisaged, will not only teach the children to read and write but to be citizens that actually build a nation.As children learn a lot through stories of people who have experienced life, she wants to invite travelers to come and stay with the kids and teach them the valuable life skills and share their experiences.


She said, “At our school, which I hope to build someday is where children do not indulge in rote learning, but learn through music and dance and laughter and happiness, and by just being children. A place where they are not judged by the grades they get but are rather encouraged to think out of the box by utilizing their positives”.




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