We funded the establishment of a new Udayan Ghar in Jaipur, Rajasthan, including the purchase and renovation of the building which is now home to 15 young girls
We established an education corpus fund to pay for the higher education of the girls in this new Jaipur home
We have sponsored 12,100 girls and 6,857 boys living in Udayan Ghar homes, covering the costs related to their housing, education, nutrition, and all medical, mental, and dental health
We have sponsored nine girls and three boys supported by the Udayan Aftercare Program, covering costs related to their housing, education, nutrition, and healthcare
We have funded the creation of three new Udayan Shalini Fellowship chapters in Jaipur, Rajasthan (2012), Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2017), and Panchkula, Haryana (2017). Together these three chapters have extended Udayan Care’s reach into southern Indian and outside of urban centers, where the challenges and education deficits facing young girls are particularly pronounced.
We have sponsored 17,255 Udayan Shalini Fellows for their full five- to six-year term, 2,200 Fellows for a one-year term, and five Fellows in perpetuity.
Growing up in a small family in Delhi, the decks were stacked against Swati Keshri from a very young age. Her father is the sole earner for the family, and with their limited means they have struggled to stay afloat. The family’s financial situation worsened when Swati’s mother began struggling with an intestinal ulcer, and by then it seemed impossible that Swati would be able to continue her education beyond the 10th grade; it was a luxury her family just couldn’t afford. Still, her parents always wanted the best for her and tried to support her however they could—despite their own limited means and education. The Udayan Shalini Fellowship offered Swati a chance to follow her dreams and reach her utmost potential. “It was a proud moment for my parents and me when I got the award for fellowship,” she explains. It would give her the kids of opportunities that her parents had so desperately wanted for her.
Over the next five years, Swati became more optimistic and confident about her future. “I received guidance regarding the various career options and ways to pursue them,” she remembers, “It gave me a platform to meet aspirational minds from different backgrounds and an opportunity to learn.” Little did she know what a wide world that experience would open to her. Not only did she finish high school with top grades (a feat that in and of itself seemed impossible just a few years earlier), Swati’s brilliance and hard work took her to Cambridge University for her college education. Now she is pursuing a PhD in Medical Genetics at Cambridge and aspires to become a researcher and find cures for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Swati attributes much of her success to her mentor “didi” (sister), Darshana Joshi—the first Udayan Shalini fellow to pursue her PhD at Cambridge. Their relationship and the heights to which it has brought both young women underscores the transformative power of the true fellowship of the Shalini program.
Darshana Joshi was born into a lower-income family, the second of three siblings. Her father’s work as an electrician for the local government left her family with limited resources, and it seemed unlikely that Darshana would be able to continue her education past the 10th grade, despite her obvious potential and powerful drive. Yet one of her teachers encouraged her to apply to the Udayan Shalini Fellowship, and her acceptance into that program ensured that her family’s circumstances would no longer be a barrier to her success. “My association with the Udayan Shalini Fellowship Program has been a life-changing step for me,” Darshana claims, and the “constant mentoring and motivation” helped her gain the skills and confidence to make a better life for herself.
As an undergraduate, Darshana participated in the Vigyanshala initiative, designed to give her hands-on experience in STEM. This program helps to assist students from marginalized backgrounds and helps them prepare for and transition into graduate studies. In Darshana’s case, this journey led her to Cambridge University—one of the best universities in the world—to pursue a PhD in Physics. She was the first Udayan Shalini to enter the PhD program at Cambridge, and she has helped and inspired other Shalinis like Swati Keshri to follow in her footsteps. Darshana has returned to India during her program and spoken to current Shalinis about her path to success. She exemplifies the commitment to fellowship that distinguishes the USF program, and her achievements illustrate how the power of opportunity can transform a life and the world.
“Household chores are the only job of girls and the kitchen is their only performance arena.” So goes a famous saying in the village of Tilapta in western Uttar Predesh. Two years agoago, no one in Tilapta would have predicted that one of its shy, 15-year old daughters named Shruti Kumari would buck the expectations for young women and become a sports champion.
Shruti hails from a rural family. Her father works in a bicycle shop, struggling to make ends meet, and her mother is a homemaker, caring for Shruti and her two sisters. Shruti’s mother always wanted better for her, but her father—as Shruti remembers—“was not open to educating me after grade 10.” On his single income, the family could hardly afford it, but becoming an Udayan Shalini Fellow opened a new world of possibilities for Shruti. “My life changed for [the] good after I joined Udayan Shalini Fellowship,” says and emotional Shruti. “Earlier I was living my life, just like any other girl of my village. USF has added meaning and a goal to my life. Now I am more aware of the available options of education and career.” Shruti has been able to continue her education in a manner that she would never have thought possible. Her mentor, Mr. Deepak Sharma, and the entire USF team in Greater Noida have worked hard to change Shruti’s father’s beliefs about girls’ education, and Shruti is ecstatic to report that “now he is supporting me in my higher education.” “[My] mentor continuously counseled and guided me to work hard towards fulfilling my dreams,” Shruti explains, and the financial help, mentorship, and skills training from USF have “immensely assisted me in continuing my studies.”
The USF program and her continuing education have also given Shruti new drive and confidence. She loves sports and participates in volleyball, but her true passion is wrestling—inspired by local world wrestling champion Babita Phogat. Shruti earned a silver medal in college-level wrestling, and she hopes to continue her passion after finishing school by becoming a physical trainer. She also wants to help needy children in her neighborhood by donating her time as a voluntary sports coach. Her stellar grades suggest that Shruti will succeed in whatever she does; the sky is the limit for this promising young Shalini.
Shivam was only five years old when he came under the aegis of Udayan Care. By that time Shivam had already experienced tremendous hardship and suffering. He had lost his father and been forced into begging and homelessness, and he, like too many children on India’s streets, had suffered every kind of violence at the hands of predatory and unethical adults. Shivam was finally rescued by an NGO called Prayas at the New Delhi Railway Station and brought to Udayan Care.
His move to an Udayan Ghar was a turning point in Shivam’s life. The unconditional love of his caretakers and mentor parents helped him move on from his traumatic past. His transformation serves as a shining example of just how resilient children can be—and the importance of intervention in the lives of traumatized and abused youth. Shivam soon gained confidence and vivacity and quickly began to look and act like any other child of his age. Now he is enrolled at a renowned English Medium school and is earning excellent grades. Shivam also discovered a passion for singing, helped along by the creative and cultural activities regularly held at his Ghar. His talent and the encouragement of his caregivers and mentor parents eventually got him into the Matsiko World Orphan Choir, which was founded by the International Children’s Network (ICN) and is based in Seattle, Washington. With the Choir he took a ten-month journey across the U.S., where his concerts helped raise funds for and spread awareness about the world’s most vulnerable children. He blossomed over the course of the trip, gaining new confidence along with a new set of experiences that he never could have imagined in his days on the streets of Delhi. It also did much to reinforce the lessons his Udayan parents had worked so hard to teach him and his siblings at home, particularly about the transformative power of giving back. Shivam’s story shows that the sky really is the limit when children are given the love, care, and opportunity that each of them deserves. He should be an inspiration to us all.
Hassan was six years old when he ran away from the Madrasa (traditional Muslim school) in which his parents enrolled him against his will. He could not have known that this decision would lead to separation from his family for the next ten years. Hassan’s placement in multiple childcare institutions exacerbated his early childhood trauma, but in July of 2017 he finally found a stable home in the Udayan Ghar in Gurugram. The Ghar team studied his past and interviewed Hassan in an attempt to trace his parents and family—a project led by the child welfare officer of the Ghar. A bus trip to an amusement park in Sonepat, Haryana, proved to be a turning point in the search. Somehow the park opened up a flood of childhood memories for Hassan, and the information he shared eventually enabled Udayan Care to locate his parents. He was reunited with them on September 17, 2018. Hassan remained in his Ghar home until he could complete his final exams in school, but in March of 2019, at the age of 16, he finally returned to his family for good. His story was covered by the international press and captured many hearts around the world. Hassan’s journey highlights the tenacity and dedication of Udayan Care to give the best possible life to each of its children, no matter what path that life takes.
Amulya was rescued at six years old from the streets of Delhi, coming under the aegis the Udayan Ghar program in 2006. Nothing was known about her past or her family, and as a child with a below-average IQ, Amulya was particularly vulnerable.
With her entrance into the Udayan Ghar program, Amulya acquired a new family and benefited from having every possible resource at her disposal. She was diagnosed with and given a treatment regimen for epilepsy, and she was enrolled in a school for children with special needs. She also received the full support of Udayan Care’s social work and mental health professionals, as well as the love and nurturing of her mentor parents, caregivers, and Udayan siblings. In time, Amulya began to blossom into a more outgoing and confident young lady.
With the encouragement of her Udayan family, she found her true passion in sports–where she excelled beyond anything they could have imagined. In March of this year Amulya participated in the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi, where she won a bronze medal in the 100 meter dash and placed 4th in the 200 meter dash.
Now a young woman, she is being supported through the Udayan Aftercare Program. She is training for the next Special Olympics, hoping to bring home gold next time around. Amulya is a shining example of how Udayan Care’s commitment to giving the best life possible to each and every child under its care is changing our world for the better. Coming to the Udayan Ghar program with every disadvantage, Amulya has proven that she’s now ready to conquer the world; her future is so bright, it looks golden.
Badal had a very difficult start in life. After losing both of his parents at a young age, he and his three sisters came under the care of their 89-year-old grandmother. Elderly and impoverished, she struggled to care for the four young children; Badal broke into tears when he recounted the story of spending freezing nights with his family at the Kalkaji Temple in New Delhi.
With their grandmother unable to properly care for them, Badal and his sisters were eventually brought to Udayan Care and Badal settled at the Gurugram Ghar. At only four years old, he found the transition difficult. He arrived very scared and found it difficult to be away from his grandmother, but the love and care of his caregivers and mentor parents helped him find a new sense of belonging at his Udayan home. In time he began to blossom mentally, physically, and academically. Yet it was the discovery of a new passion that really brought Badal out of his shell.
It seems that Badal was born to rise and shine and a Taekwondo star. His mentor parents encouraged his interest in the sport, and Badal has gone on to dazzle at state, national, and international competitions, earning a 4th grade blue belt from the International Taekwondo Federation. He also won a gold medal at the 26th Delhi State ITF Taekwondo Championship and two gold medals at the 20th North East India Taekwondo Championships. Badal aspires to become a professional Taekwondo Instructor, and he credits the sport with teaching him that with grit and determination, he can achieve anything he sets his mind to.