Saturday, January 14, 2006


Odanadi is a project that is supported by various asha chapters and AID chapters.
Here are a couple of stories from odanadi...

Kamal Gopinath, a Mysore based former Indian Express reporter,
currently a media consultant wrote two stories, one about Gowri and
one on Pavitra, two girls at Odanadi. Both very inspiring stories of
two children who have weathered all adversaries and are now thriving
in Odanadi.

Gowri: Will to Succeed

Gowri exemplifies the success a child can achieve against all odds if
provided the proper direction and support.

Hailing from a poor family in Bangalore, 9 year old Gowri was sold to
a household in Banashankari, a locality in the hallowed silicon valley
of India - Bangalore, for a paltry sum of Rs.1000 in 1996. The deal
was struck by none other than her father who resorted to the drastic
and beastly move faced with poverty and unable to maintain his family
after having moved into a Bangalore slum from an outlaying village.

Life turned hellish for Gowri after a few months when a child of the
household pushed Gowri down from the ledge. She fell from the roof and
broke her hip. Her 'owners' refused to take responsibility for her
plight and threw her onto the streets as she was 'useless', unable to
even stand properly. A beggary-racket found her to be a good
'investment', exploited her in Bangalore before shifting her to
Mysore. Her head was tonsured and put back onto the streets in the
so-called cultural capital of Karnataka. By the time Gowri's case came
to notice of Odanadi and was rescued in March '98, she was an 11 year
old crippled leper, who had been abused sexually and forced into doing
rounds of Mysore streets, begging for the racketeers.

Odanadi rescued her as a part of its initiative and took it upon
itself as a challenge to make Gowri walk again free of crutches or
support. However, with years of neglect resulting in haphazard and
ugly growth of bones, her case turned out to be a challenge for the
doctors. Many doctors hesitated but Odanadi persisted. Following
Odanadi's initiative, a successful hip replacement surgery was
conducted on Gowri at K R Hospital in Mysore city in 1999. Now, the
Orthopedic presents her case to medical students as a model case study
of a difficult and complicated surgery.

But, Gowri had more woes in store for her. Years in the streets and a
life of squalor had made her an easy victim of leprosy. Fortunately
the disease was in an early stage when she was rescued and timely
treatment provided by Odanadi helped her recover without any
disfigurement. This, however, was an outcome of treatment that lasted
nearly two years.

Being crippled, afflicted with leprosy and traumatized by the
exploitation suffered at the hands of beggary racketeers, Gowri was in
a state of shock when Odanadi rescued her. Patient counselling,
soothing care and emotional support she found at Odanadi under the
gentle stewardship of Stanely and Parashuram instilled in her the will
to live. Her self esteem was restored and she learnt to love life.

Once Gowri showed signs of returning to normalcy, she was put through
the non-formal education apparatus developed by Odanadi with private
tuitions. She successfully passed the SSLC examinations with a 2nd
class and today attends College as a 1st PUC, and holds an Orange belt
in Karate, apart from being one of the young talents in Mysore city
excelling in Bharatnatyam and classical music. Her talent as a theatre
person has been acclaimed.

Gowri amazed everybody at Odanadi and all those who knew her story
during April-May this year when she cycled across mountains, rivers
and forests a distance of 1,500 km over 24 days at a stretch as a
member of the 25 member Cycle Rally team. Today, she cycles 30 kms
every day, back and forth the Odanadi Centre and her College.

Gowri nurtures the ambition to become a nurse and serve the community.

Pavithra: Lost Childhood Regained

Pavithra shrugged off a child marriage and ran away from home to forge
her future

Four years ago, as a 12 year old girl studying in the 8th grade,
Pavithra was married off by her grandmother much against her will.
Apart from shattering her childhood, the marriage only brought her
more misery at the hands of her drunkard husband, a Government
employee. Fortune smiled on her during the November of 2002 when
Odanadi provided her the proverbial shelter she so badly desired after
she ran away from home at Krishnarajapet in Mandya district.

Pavithra, a highly ambitious girl who wanted to become a teacher and
serve the community, was staying with grandmother at Krishnaraja Sagar
when she was married off. "I did not know anything about marriage. He
used to harass me and so I ran away. I did not like the marriage and
wanted to study. Fortunately for me, a good samaritan brought me to
Odanadi when I was wandering around in Dattagalli (a locality in
Mysore)", she says.

When Odanadi, as a matter of routine, updated the authorities
regarding Pavithra's case, they in their wisdom remanded her to a
Government Remand Home. But, this is a period, though it was for a
short while, Pavithra would like to forget. "At the government remand
home, they did not feed me well and I went hungry many a time. When I
protested, I was beaten up, made me do menial jobs like a prisoner,"
Pavithra recounts.

Odanadi lost no time and acted immediately when Pavithra's plight came
to its knowledge. They took up her case with the authorities and
fought tooth and nail to secured Pavithra to their custody with all
the risks involved.

Today, Pavithra, who exhibited the wild will to take on her community
and the mite of the Forest Department with the support of Odanadi, is
a happy young college going girl and a studious 2nd year PUC student.
Her singing ability has won her acclaim and she is a member of the
Odanadi chorus. "I like the Odanadi centre because of the ample
learning opportunities here and exposure to various arts and fields of
activity. I appeal to all those who are facing similar situations like
mine to first talk very clearly with their parents and if they do not
listen, approach organizations like Odanadi and pursue their dreams",
Pavithra advises.

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