LILY PUSHPA DOKKA
I still remember the day I came to cherish Foundation in the year 2006 in a vulnerable stage without hope and future. It’s because I lost my both parents, I was brought to cherish foundation by one of my Uncles.
After many Prayers and pleading, I was born. I was the only child of my parents. When I was a year old, I lost my father due to some health issue. I don’t even remember his face. I was told that my mom tried very hard to bring my father back into a normal condition but all her efforts went in vain. Later both my mother and I were taken to my grandmother’s house. To meet everyday essentials my mother took up a job. By the time I was of 6 years we were going through very hard times and my mother could not afford to give me proper education. so, she joined me in a hostel. Due to unhygienic food and premises, I used to fall sick frequently which caused my mother to bring me back from that hostel. As our lives started to get a little better, all of a sudden my mother got sick, and gradually her health condition got worse and she passed away when I was 8 years old. I was brought home from the middle of my Annual Examination. On the way, I was told that as your mother is in hospital, she wanted to see you once, but the actual reason was kept away from me. After reaching home, I saw my mother’s dead body lying there and I wasn’t able to understand what was going on. I stood there still without any reaction. I didn’t even know how to react to that situation. Then I heard a voice from that crowd saying “your parents left. You all alone here. They are gone. Now you have become an Orphan”. ‘Orphan’, that was the first time I heard that word in my life. Then I realized that there was no one for me and I am alone. I don’t have my parents to whom I can call mom and dad. I was crying so much and yes, all my relatives told me don’t worry we are all there for you don’t think that you are alone. It’s ok even if your mother and father die, we are there for you. But after the burial rituals of my mother the village head asked “Who is going to take responsibility for this child”. To my surprise, there was not even a single person who came forward to take care of me. I even heard a few of them say, “She is a girl child which is very much a burden” and a few others say that “We already have our children now, who will take care of her if we take her to our house. Even if we take her to our house, who will make her study and give food every day”. By listening to all these I came to the conclusion that I don’t have a chance to continue my studies, no proper food on time, and above all of these, there is no person to whom I can call mom which I usually did till last night. That was very painful. Then my grandmother took me along with her.
A few days later an uncle of mine came to my mother’s house and told me and my grandmother that he wanted to take responsibility for me, and they took me to their house and joined me in the School. My grandmother believed him and sent me along with him. so, I was brought to their house as a maidservant without my knowledge. I was ill-treated and physically harassed. There were days when I went to bed on an empty stomach and there were also days when I was made to eat the leftover and spoiled food whereas their two kids were given freshly cooked breakfast. I was made to do all the household work at that tender age. I was supposed to take care of their two children when I didn’t even know how to look after myself and when I needed someone to take care of me. During those days, I used to cry a lot every night for my mom and there were nights when I used to get up all of a sudden due to nightmares and cry for my mom to be there right next to me, but that didn't happen. During all these, I used to pray and say “God you took away my both parents and there is no one to whom I can call mom and dad. And, now I am asking you to give me back my mom and dad.” At that age, I don’t even know that the prayer (or) wish that I am making is impossible. After a few days, a pastor brought me to cherish foundation. The answer to that prayer I made on that day is CHERISH. I don't say that cherish has given us a comfortable life. There were days where we have waited till the last minute through which God built our faith and our cherished dad taught us to pray for every single thing. During the initial days, we went through many hard times but the love and care surpassed everything. As I prayed, God has blessed me with a wonderful family and loving dad who cares for me and discipline’s me. He always encourages me and stands by me. Cherish has transformed my life. It nurtured me and taught me life skills. It taught everything from very small things like eating food on my own, dressing, speaking with people. It has built so much courage in me and given me hope. To make it simple I want to share a small incident.
I was not well. I was feeling dizzy. So I was taken to a nearby hospital. The doctor asked me to go for a hemoglobin check-up and I did, and it was very low. Then I went on for medication. And that was the time Daddy took care of me so much. He was there right beside me apart from all his busy schedule and other work. He made me follow a special diet and took special care until I recovered. That was the time I thought yes, this is a father’s love.
If at all I was not brought to cherish, my life would have not been in this way. what I am today is because of cherish. At present, I am working as an English teacher and I am going to get married this November (2004). Even after I get married and move on, I will still be connected to my cherish family. As cherish has been a great blessing to me I want to be a blessing to the future generations of cherish family …..