Lucknow: The efforts of the mother of 170-odd daughters in the city have been lauded by the union ministry of women and child development. Known as Sarojini Agarwal, this mother takes cares of girls isolated by their biological mothers.
In a home, called Manisha Mandir, located in the posh Gomti Nagar area, she stays happily with her daughters who call her 'mummyji'. The Union government has also awarded mummyji’s home with a citation and a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh for outstanding contribution in the field of women and child welfare.
"I feel that every girl is my own daughter and I can’t see her wasting time and skills due to lack of opportunity and training" said mummyji, as she remembered her eight year old daughter Manisha, who died in an accident in 1978.
When Manisha died, I wept a cold for many days. But a voice from within told
me not to cry", she said while talking to TOI in an interview. The voice of her conscience said: "You won't get Manisha back this way. Open your eyes and look there are so many unfortunate girls who have nobody to call them your Manishas".
"I think it was God's plan. The Almighty wanted me to be the mother of these children. And so Manisha Mandir came Into being in 1985," Mummyji added. She takes pride in sharing the joys of her girls. "each one take care of herself and girls above six clean their own clothes."
"All girls cook by turn, sweep the hall and wash the dishes. The elder ones help the juniors in the studies". She said.
She however, feels that raising girls does not mean just providing shelter, clothes and food.
"Girls have a tender heart. They need a lot of emotional support to lead a normal and
healthy life and that's a thing best done by mother," Mummy ji said.
There are many girls who have the potential to make a mark in the world. But circumstances do not favor them. "the vocational courses started by Manisha Mandir will help them in realizing their goal." She said and added that the courses offer placements as well.
The aim of her home is to make destitute and helpless girls self-reliant by providing them shelter and imparting training. The home has made arrangements for the lodging, food and other daily requirements.
It also imparts training and education for their upliftment, trains the girls in various crafts and provide knowledge of technical subject, make them self-reliant. Arrangements are made to get them married with suitable persons if they desire. Jobs are also arranged for the deserving ones.