The institutions of the world are filled with children.
Sometimes, we only know these children by their sad or happy faces. Usually, they are just part of some huge statistic—as in: There are currently 8 million children living in orphanages worldwide. Or: There are 440,000 children in the US Foster Care System.
The truth is, every one of these children has a name and a story. Today, we’d like to introduce you to one of them who means a lot to us here at Miracle Foundation. Her name is Mayuri and she spoke openly to us recently about her background and her future.
The Girl in The Window
At just eight years old, Mayuri was placed in the first of two orphanages she would call home. Her mother died when she was only two, and her father was unable to care for her on his own. Her new life was not an easy one.
“I have many memories,” Mayuri says, “like beatings and unhygienic conditions, discrimination, terrible food. We stayed with mentally ill patients, girls in sex work, criminals. No one cared or loved me in that place. Sometimes they would send me to my cousin’s home for holidays where I was sexually abused by several people. But I could not speak up.”
Though she made friends and life wasn’t always bad, she felt the pain of separation from her home. “I had big emotional gaps because I didn’t have a family,” Mayuri says. “I remember there was a large window where I used to stand for hours and hours, waiting for my people to come and meet me…but no one ever turned up. Or I would stand in a long line with the other children to use the phone. They were calling their parents or relatives, but when my turn finally came, no one received my call to talk to me.”
Better Days Ahead
Eventually, she was transferred to a second orphanage where she bonded with her supervisor. “She used to love and care for me a lot,” Mayuri remembers. “She taught me lessons of life and how to solve problems. She encouraged me to continue my education and stand on my own. She was my inspiration so I could complete my graduation in psychology and get my masters in social work.”
One day, as fate would have it, Mayuri found an ad for a job she felt qualified and excited for. The position was working with childcare institutions like the ones she grew up in, mentoring them on standards of care and the family-based alternative care process. The employer was Miracle Foundation, and it’s been a perfect fit ever since.
“I think I see all the situations a bit differently due to my lived experience,” Mayuri says. “I can handle situations sensitively, empathizing with children and care providers. Whatever wrong practices are in the care system, I will work to correct them for the future generations if I can.”
Despite the trauma of her youth, Mayuri knows she’s been lucky. Of the 15 girls she grew up with, she was the only one to attend university. Because of this, she avoided an early marriage that so often awaits young women without support or skill. Today, she and her husband—a “love match” has given birth to a beautiful baby girl.
With so much to look forward to, Mayuri is optimistic about the future. “One day, I hope to see the orphanages all empty,” she says, “and every child in a family.”
We hope you’ll join us and help make Mayuri’s dream a reality. Together we can bring more children back into safe, stable and permanent homes. “A family for every child” is getting closer every day.