Odisha: Labourer sets example; houses and feeds 98 homeless children

Odisha: Labourer sets example; houses and feeds 98 homeless children

A labourer from the district has set an exemplary example of selfless-service by setting up an ashram to nurture and feed homeless children.

Shyamsundar Jal, in his sixties, has been working towards this cause since the last 35 years. His dedication and hard work have now taken the shape of an Ashram which, as of now, houses 98 children, including 76 girls and 22 boys.

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He also gets the support of his wife Kasturi Jal in this initiative and one of his first adopted children has also started sharing the load of the daily chores in the Ashram.

Speaking to ANI, Shyamsundar said, “I have made this ashram 35 years ago in the name of my mother. I started than even when I was unmarried. I was initially working as a house help and then as a tailor to feed these children. As of now, we have 98 children who are all of different ages and are studying in different schools and colleges.”

Shyamsundar Jal

“Now I work as a labourer as I could not continue as a tailor due to poor eyesight,” he added.

He has also made a small room at the main road near his Ashram, where parents who do not wish to keep their children can leave them to be taken to his ashram.

“Previously people would leave kids at different places on sides of roads and temples and they also get injured. Hence we decided to make this room where anyone can leave their children,” he said.

As many as 14 girls and seven boys from the Ashram have also got married after attaining the right age. However one of the first adopted girls, Ranjeeta Jal has decided to devote her life to this cause.

She says, “I was very small when I came here. I have been living here since my childhood. I am now 36 years old and we all live here very happily. I have also decided to devote my life for this cause. A lot of children who grew up here have also gotten married. There are no issues with anyone here and we are all happy.”

With time, the cause adopted by Shyamasundar has also garnered support from locals, administration, and the government and he aspires to leave the legacy of a well functional Ashram which continues catering to such children.

“I am already in my 60s and working to make this Ashram better in terms of facilities so that my children do not have to face any problem after I leave the world. People from all walks of life are helping us here now,” he said.

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