When Udita Kapoor found five-year-old Daya wandering the streets of Biratnagar, Nepal, she reacted in a very unusual way: she actually took him into her own home. Why? Because what she has learned through Viva is engaging her heart as well as her head.
A caregiver in a small children’s home in Nepal, Udita had always felt that it was her duty to respond to the needs of the many struggling children she saw in her country. She was a very hard worker with an amazing determination to make a difference, yet she had very little experience of caring for children as emotionally and physically traumatised as those she was expected to help every day.
Then, through the local Viva network, she was able to meet with more experienced caregivers, take part in an accredited childcare course and receive guidance and support from expert trainers and others working alongside her with children in the community.
Over several months she began to understand the importance of valuing each child individually, discovering how to really listen to them and learning more specific ways to help them in the context of their particular experiences, family and background. The addition of this knowledge and skill to her passionate, hardworking nature transformed the way she interacted with the children she met.
So when she came across Daya during a community visit, and discovered that he had no family to care for him, she didn’t just see yet another hungry child whose needs could be met with a bed in an orphanage. She spent time getting to know him, and discovered that the thing he felt most starved of in his young life was love. Abandoned as a very young child he had spent several years surviving only on the charity of neighbours, which never extended past scraps of food and a bit of cardboard to sleep on, and what he wanted most in the world was simply someone to hold his hand.
Knowing this, she felt strongly that she wanted to respond in a much more personal way than she would ever have considered before. She and her husband chose to take him into their own home, giving him good food, new clothes, his own bed and, most importantly, offering him the chance to be a part of their family.
Now Daya is one more child who doesn’t have to ask ‘Who cares?’ He knows that Udita does.