27 January, 2021

The Darling Buds Of Spring

A convent in Chennai becomes a good shepherd for girl-victims of all kinds

The Darling Buds Of Spring
Seventeen-year-old Rosy of Kashmir, 15-year-old Shanti from Aathur in Tamil Nadu (who can’t explain how she is fluent in Hindi and Telugu besides Tamil), 12-year-old Farzana from Hyderabad and 52 other girl children like them—if there’s one place they can all call home it is ‘Mottukal’ (‘buds’ in Tamil), a centre for street and working girls. Girl children between the ages 3-18 find shelter at the Good Shepherd Convent-run home in Chennai. In 1996, Sister Magdalene of the convent was moved by the plight of 16-year-old Lakshmi, a deaf and dumb girl from Andhra Pradesh abandoned at a railway station by her parents. She had been abused. Magdalene took Lakshmi to the convent and mooted a more sustainable effort to attend to the needs of such children. Mottukal was born. Lakshmi was given vocational training (in embroidery and tailoring) besides basic education, and is today on her own.

Soon word spread about Mottukal and the rpf, police and the state government’s Child-Line began referring ‘cases’ to the sisters. "Today, we can’t take care of more than 60...



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