Meet Manan Chaturvedi – A Mother of 109 Children
- JWB Post
- August 21, 2014
Not every one of us has heard about Manan Chaturvedi. She is a mother of 109 children, and still counting! No kidding. She is a resident of Jaipur who was a Fashion Designer till the destiny showed her the ultimate humanitarian path.
On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day (August 19, 2014), we spoke to Ms. Manan, the Founder and Head of ‘Surman Sansthan’. It is an NGO that gives home to homeless kids and women. This year on June 12, the world celebrated International Child Labor Day, and hence we decided to retell her heavenly story to you. In an exclusive interview, Manan is here to speak about the work that has shaped her entire life.
JWB – How Surman, your organization, was born?
Manan – Many years back when I saw a naked 7 year old girl sitting near a municipality dustbin, I was terrified. Terrified, thinking for whom am I making designer clothes. I dropped my career the next day after giving her a shelter.
JWB – So how big is your family today?
JWB – We wonder, how much support your get from the husband.
Manan – He is my biggest supporter. All of us live under one roof, in our flat in Vaishali Nagar.
JWB – And the neighbors, are they okay with this idea?
Manan – Earlier they used to opposed and hated these ‘street kids’ playing in the gardens of the society meant for their children. The time has changed now, thankfully. I guess it is the compassion these little ones have for everyone that has melted everyone’s heart.
JWB – Do all your children go to school?
Manan – Yes! Some are good at academies, while others are born artists. They paint and make handmade greeting cards which are sold under our organization’s name. All the funds go towards their welfare.
JWB – But that much isn’t sufficient, right?
Manan – We don’t take government aid. We accept donations from people willing to help because it is impossible to handle all these lives on my husband’s salary. We even do theater with these little artists to raise funds.
JWB – Apart from abandoned kids, you also give home to women in distress, as you mentioned earlier. Generally what kind of crisis these women are facing?
Manan – Most of them are thrown out of home because the husband is dead or they bear a girl child. Also cases like domestic abuse and poverty force them to live such lives.
Manan – Many. I cannot even count.
JWB – One story that touched you the most.
Manan – Once a case of 4 sisters came to me. Their mother recently died and the father was a drunkard. They were thrown out of the home and that’s how I met them. One of them, seeing the bangles in my wrist, said – “Maa bhi aisi hi chudiyaan pehenti thi.” (Our mother used to wear similar bangles). I had tears in my eyes listening to that.
JWB – Interestingly, you don’t allow adoption of your children. Why?
Manan – The kids are my children once they come here. Until I manage to find their original parents or guardians who are willing to take them back, they stay with ‘Surman’. I am not biased, but I believe they get all the love they need at Surman. I invite all of you to become their mother under this one roof.
JWB – You know how kids are. Aren’t there fights for ‘who will use the bathroom first’?
Manan (laughs) – Yes, sometimes. When we were less in number, we lived in our flat. As we grew, my husband and I decided to take 2 more flats in the same building. Each room has comfortable bunk beds where the kids sleep with enough sanitary conditions. We have provided each one of them the best we can.
JWB – What has changed in you after all these years?
Manan – I am determined like never before.
JWB – What is next for Surman?
Manan – We have finally managed to buy a small piece of land where thousands of kids can live a happy life. Our home is now getting smaller for all of us. This big home project is under construction.
Manan – How can a mother’s love be divided? If it ever did, ‘Surman’ would have never reached this stage. Today my youngest child is 10 days old and oldest is 24 years old. I feel amazing and beautiful as a woman.
You can help Manan support these kids. If you find any child in need or abandoned in the streets, call her at 09828031708.
If you want to make any donations, click here
More about ‘Surman’ Sansthan here