K’s Progress

K is a serious learner

The big girls started K’s lessons on 26th December. Apparently they were willing to give her the day off for Christmas.  It is really funny to see these girls who fought education, now working so earnestly with K. ;Some are still not sure they deserve anything good in life, but they see only potential in her. 


Lunchtime at Shishur Sevay.  Ganga now joins the older girls for lunch.  Her new chair allows her to be at the table, where she is socially part of the group.  Now K is there too.  K is very quiet, probably afraid to say much. 

Lunch time at Shishur Sevay



K with Ganga on Computer.

But in lessons, especially with Ganga, she carries on conversations with the teacher, and tells Ganga what to do if she is being naughty.  But here K is distracted because someone just gave her a potato chip.  Ganga moves the pointer with her trackball, and then either she clicks her switch or K clicks mouse.  They like working together.
Meanwhile back at Aunty’s another child has been hospitalized.  Two more will go tomorrow.  But here is the problem.  The children are going into the government hospital.  The bed and saline injections, and meals are free.  Lab tests are Rs. 10 each for simple tests but other tests have to be done by an outside lab, so patients have to pay.  All medicines must be paid for in advance, or more usually the family runs out to a pharmacy and buys the medicine and brings it back to the hospital.  Children will only be admitted if there is someone to care for them.  Usually a relative stays.  As these are orphan children, Aunty doesn’t have people to stay, so she has engaged hospital attendants.  Their cost is Rs. 260 a day to care for two children (max allowed).    That’s about Rs. 4000 per month just for an attendant.  Theoretically the government gives her Rs. 2000 a month.  This is part of why children are abandoned in hospitals.  Hopefully the two who are scheduled for admission tomorrow will go to a hospital close to Shishur Sevay so I can follow them.  It’s still all  up in the air.
I have a particular interest in the costs for these particular children at Aunty’s Home.  Several of the most impaired are children from adoption orphanages.  The healthy infants and children bring a lot of funds to the organizations.  They claim to use those funds for the children who cannot be adopted, but they don’t.  So some of these are children kept around for a few years by the adoption orphanages and then “relinquished” to the government really too late for meaningful rehabilitation.  These are NOT cases of poverty.  Three of Aunty’s children, ones I scrubbed and shaved and de-loused last week were from agencies I know.  These are children maybe 4-7 years old who look like toddlers, who weigh around 10kg, who have contractures…..
When International Mission of Hope closed around 2003, the orphanage my daughter came from in 1984, the children with disabilities, those who could not be easily adopted, were sent to a newly established Charity, with promises that they would be supported by IMH.  Money was even raised from donations abroad, but the money did not reach the foundation in Kolkata.  I was in the middle of those battles over money.  None of what I say is second hand.  In January 2004 I visited an orphanage where two of Aunty’s children were.  That’s eight years ago, in January in the midst of a cold spell.  The director talked “economics” of adoption with me.  I most remember that the nursery was cold, that the babies were on bare plastic sheets, and that the “blankets” were too small to cover the babies.
Why is Aunty taking care of them?  Where did the money go?  At this end, no one cares.  I had a visit from a social worker with another agency.  She wanted to place their unadoptable children with me.  They were always looking for places.  They “sponsored” the children for about what the government paid.  The social worker was impressed with our facilities, especially what we do for our children with disabilities.  She said wistfully, “I wish we could have something like this!”  I asked why not, and she said they had no money.  Anyone knowing anything about international adoption knows that tens of thousands of dollars are involved, surely enough to take care of these children.  But it’s not about the money.  That would be easy to fix.  It’s about the lack of will.    

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lindsey R
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 23:08:04

    Dr. Harrison,

    Would it be possible to set up a sponsorship program for the children at Aunty’s orphanage? Many smaller organizations do this online with blogs and other small websites. Children with special needs could be shared first, and sponsored contribute monthly to help meet their needs. This might also allow Aunty to hire more people to help with this children. As the children with extreme special needs get their sponsors, sponsors for other children could be found to help send them to school and cover their needs, etc. I have a large contact group of people who are very interested in helping children through sponsorship so I may be able to tap into that group.

    I am actually very interested in helping with this. I wonder if you think it is viable if you could contact me at my email lindseyrieder@gmail.com.


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December 2011
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