Paalna : a Cot of Life

Paalna : a Cot of Life

Devendra Agarwal, a Yoga Teacher and saviour of many parentless children turned his house, Maheshahram into an orphanage where many female girls have been gifted a new and better life than what their biological parents could not even expect.

 
Paalna : a Cot of Life

It was nearly 5 years ago when a heartbreaking news headline shocked everyone in Udaipur on finding female foetus in dried up Ayar River.

This one incident upset a man so much that he set a baby cot outside his own house and placed advertisements in newspapers for those who kill or throw away the unwanted babies instead of bringing them up, urging them to leave such babies in that Paalna (cot).

“beti ho to use paalo, maaro mat or agar aapse na ho sake to usse humare palne me rakh jaye,” says Devendra Agarwal.

Devendra Agarwal, a Yoga Teacher and saviour of many parentless children turned his house, Maheshahram into an orphanage where many female girls have been gifted a new and better life than what their biological parents could not even expect.

“People used to laugh at me, but I said even if I get one female child, my life will be fulfilled,” says Devendra. I never started this as a social work but it was more a personal interest, as I am father of two boys, I strongly believe that having a daughter completes the definition of moral values,” added Devendra.

Sharing his first experience, Devendra said, “Call it a miracle; I got three babies in the first month itself since I set the cot. Out of three, one baby girl was HIV positive so I have to send her to Delhi for medical treatment and the other two were taken by government due to legal norms.”

But luckily, after a few months government officials approached me and insisted to continue with it and Paalna started again.

Recent member of Paalna is a baby girl named “Laxmi” because she came on the auspicious occasion of Diwali at 4:15 am.

All the children of Paalna, first go through a proper medical check up. Till date Paalna has taken care of 50 children, mostly girls. At present there are 14 kids at this orphanage and 31 are already living happily with their adopted parents.

Paalna : a Cot of Life

Mr and Mrs. Chanklani ( in phopto above), who adopted a boy named Saaransh 3 months back, were on a visit to the orphanage today to thank Devendra for giving them such a beautiful gift.

“Saaransh has given a meaning to our life. We will do everything to keep him happy,” said Mrs. Chanklani

Paalna has a trained staff of nurses to take care of the kids 24 hours a day. Regular medical checkups of children are done by a team of doctors trained at neonatal intensive care unit.

“At present we are able to save kids who are born with at least 1 kg of weight, but soon after the expansion of facilities at our centre we will be able save a child of 700gms as well.”

When inquired about the financial sources to manage Paalna, Devendra Agarwal said, “I have never gone nor will I ask any individual and media for help or donation. I try and manage all the needs of the Paalna by my earnings made through teaching Yoga which is a grant by the state govt. and some help we receive from the silent donors.”

Paalna : a Cot of Life

“Most of the orphanage shows as if they are doing an obligation on parents adopting such kids. But indeed it is parents who are doing an obligation on us.” He uttered, “I have given nothing to these kids, I could not give them a family name, community, a secure future or the life that they deserve, I am grateful to those who came here and adopted these children.”

People from all over India come here to adopt a child. Unlike other orphanages all they have to do is fill up some basic formalities and rest of the paperwork and charges are met by Paalna itself.

Before handing over the kid to the parents Paalna authorities make it a point to visit their home. Explaining the way of adoption, Agarwal explained, “The basic things we look for in a family are; culture, nature/character, awareness, education and the financial status of the family to see whether it is strong enough to at least feed the kid properly.”

After adoption they keep a fixed deposit for the kid with a thought that just in case if anything happens to the parents, education and basic requirements of the kid should not be hampered.

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