Woman raising orphaned children with secular values in Sikkim’s Uttarey

Woman raising orphaned children with secular values in Sikkim’s Uttarey

Agency News

Gangtok, Dec 23: A woman embraced orphaned children in the West Sikkim district's picturesque Uttarey, when there was none to look after them.

Zangmu Sherpa was already leading an NGO named Sikkim Sisters. She established Pawan Drishti to look after the helpless children who had been left to fend for themselves at an altitude of 6,600 ft.

The home started with 22 children in February, 2017.

"I cook for them and wash and clean for them as most of them are too small," says Zangmu.

"Children in the age group of 4-18 are sent to school. There are children who left school for various reasons. Some have single parents, and couldn't continue education. We bring them to our center and educate them," says Zangmu.

One of the girls in her home was rescued through Child Helpline in Siliguri, she adds.

"The rescued children are trained and educated at our center, but we look for their parents to send them back to their homes," she says.

Zangmu is trying to instill family values in the children through an innovative initiative. She is trying to connect the children of Pawan Drishti with the inmates of old age homes.

"If old people are close by, it is likely that the children will get affection and in turn the elderly will feel some happiness, it will be like the company of their own grandchildren had they been living in their homes," she explains.

Zangmu is careful that the children do not learn to discriminate against caste, colour, creed and religion. She takes all the inmates of Pawan Drishti from time to time to various religious places, including Kagyhu Gumpa, to clean the premises. Her aim is to inculcate secular values in the children, she says.

"The children do Yoga for half an hour in the morning and then meditate and chant Gayatri Mantra," she says while explaining the daily routine of the children.

Zangmu is aware of the declining child sex ratio.

"At Pawan Drishti, we encourage women with girl child in line with ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao," she says. "We have felicitated mothers with girl child," she adds.

"The happiness of daughters is the happiness of mothers and generates happiness in the society," points out Zangmu.

"Living in the last village of West Sikkim along the India-Nepal border, where educational facilities are few and far, being a rural area, education of children is essential," she feels.

Uttarey has a Government Senior Secondary School and one Primary School also, which serves the children of the locality and nearby.

Zangmu runs Pawan Drishti through contribution by way of subscription from Sikkim Sisters.Her son, who has been a Physiotherapist for the last one year, also donates money to Pawan Drishti.

Pawan Drishti receives little funding due to its remote location. "Had it been in Gangtok or any other city, Pawan Drishti would have received many good things and even separate funding for children, but in a rural area one can not expect," says Zangmu.

On Mothers’ Day, Pawan Drishti felicitated 12 widows for striving to bring up children single handedly and 12 mothers of girl children. And, in the same way, 12 fathers were also felicitated on Father's Day. (UNI)