Andhra Pradesh

Man from Yenadi community is a ray of hope for children living in distress

Israel with a group of children at an orphanage at Vetapalem in Prakasam district.

Israel with a group of children at an orphanage at Vetapalem in Prakasam district.  

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Forty-year-old tribal man runs a home for orphans and children of estranged couples at Vetapalem

Forty-year-old M. Israel, fed up with life, went to the Vetapalem railway station to end his life. A little boy, thinking that he was taking the extreme step due to hunger, offers a piece of bread.

The heart-rending incident was a turning point in the life of the person from the tribal Yenadi community who now runs a home for children in distress in the remote village, near Chirala, in Prakasam district and uses all means possible to keep them comfortable. Most of the inmates in the orphanage are children of separated parents. “I try my best to bring about an understanding between estranged couples. When it becomes inevitable, I take care of their children,” says Mr. Israel, whose fortunes have improved after attending Light Motor Vehicle training offered by the Centrally-sponsored Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institute (RUDSETI) here.

Reluctant to go back

“I have to use all my persuasion skills to reunite both parents when they realise their mistake,” he explains as the children, who feel comfortable in the children’s home, are reluctant to go back.

Another set of children, who take refuge, is the wards of parents who succumb to HIV/AIDS leaving their children in the lurch. This is a major problem among the community members as relatives shy away from taking care of these children as social stigma still continues, he observes while talking to The Hindu. “I try to get placement for as many as children as possible in the State-run residential schools so that I can accommodate a new set of children,” he says.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 8:33:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/man-from-yenadi-community-is-a-ray-of-hope-for-children-living-in-distress/article29608847.ece

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