Vatsalya aims for ‘irreversibility’, so that the people they help will never be able to go back to how they lived before
Vatsalya is a highly ambitious NGO, whose work currently focuses around five programs. The flagship and biggest of these is Vatsalya Udayan which is the residential child care program for orphans and abandoned children.
As I chatted with co-founder Hitesh Gupta, I couldn’t help but notice the pride he took in his work. Hitesh candidly shared with me that when street children arrive at the campus, they are usually hostile and have a negative attitude towards society.
Vatsalya is a Sanskrit word which means ‘unconditional motherly love’; the organisation was registered as a charity in 1995. Mrs. Jaimala Gupta grew up in a well off family and it was a childhood dream of hers to work with street children and improve the quality of their lives. Her husband Hitesh also shared this passion, expressing a strong interest in public health. The pair have an impressive educational background. Hitesh completed his PhD from Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani, India after he earned a Masters in Public Health from University of North Carolina, USA. Jaimala has a Masters in Food and Nutrition and a Masters in Public Health, also from the University of North Carolina.
Vatsalya highly encourages volunteers to come and spend time at the organisation. Hitesh spoke very fondly of previous volunteers explaining how they bring positive energy and add a multicultural richness. Volunteers in the past have taught English at the school on the Vatsalya campus, taught yoga and decorated many of the campus buildings. A few years ago, one volunteer from Germany helped to install a solar power water heater to make cooking on campus more efficient. Over 700 volunteers and interns, from over 27 different countries, have experienced working at Vatsalya in the last 10 years. Vatsalya also remains in contact with some previous volunteers; others hold regular teaching sessions with the children over Skype over weekends.