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Monday, August 18, 2008

Guest column -Bharati Das Gupta

In today's guest column, Indi(AA)doption is featuring Ms. Bharati Das Gupta of Pune who promotes the message of adoption in India unselfishly. It will be featured in two days. She works for an organization called "Catalysts for Social Action (CSA).

Bharati, tell our readers a little about who Bharati Das Gupta is?

I am a Founder Member of CSA and, its Managing Trustee. I am also, the grandmother of 2 wonderful children aged 8 and 6, whom my daughter adopted. I was born and brought up in Mumbai, where I specialized (PG) in English Literature and then, in Organisation & Methods. I have been a professional having been attached to the Banking industry for more than a decade; I headed ‘Management Services’ in the Indian Banks’ Association. I moved out of a job and started my Consulting practice in Systems with focus on Human Resources. . I always thought that post-retirement, I would work on a social cause( I thought it would be animal welfare). However, 5 years ago, quite by accident, when the opportunity to start something on adoption came my way, I grabbed it. I now, spend most of my time with CSA. At home I read, look after 150 potted plants and spend time with my 2 wonderful cocker-spaniels. And of course, I watch a lot of NDTV/CNN-IBN and, Animal Planet. It’s a great life!

How and why did you personally became so passionate about adoption?

My daughter adopted in 2000. I was completely awed by the difference it made to their lives and, mine too! Over the years, I realized what a difference the adoption had made, to the lives of my grand children too. Uppermost in my mind was the thought, that so many more people could experience the same joys and in the process, so many children would grow into self-sufficient and complete individuals. My work with CSA also, exposed me to some orphanages and Destitute homes and it took me little to realize the tremendous gap in the quality of childcare between-adoption and institutionalized care. So, Adoption it is!

Tell us little about Latur project?

When we began work on adoption, we thought that all we had to do was to promote adoption i.e. tell people how wonderful it was! Soon we realized that in reality things were very different; there were just no children in the agencies and several parents were waiting -some for more than 2 years!! It amazed us to find that in a country with 12 million orphans, there were only about 3000 adoptions and yet there were no children! We just had to explore further. So we looked for other agencies- those on the outskirts of Pune and found this cluster of 7 agencies. A field study revealed that cumulatively, there were 121 children- girls, older children and siblings, in the cluster. And so Latur started.

How did you start getting involved in it?

Actually, Latur was not too difficult. The agencies had probably never received any attention and were happy to participate. They willingly gave us the child data. One of our first realizations was that 15 of the children in those agencies, were older children and could, as per the CARA guidelines and with the permission of the State Government, be transferred to the city agencies and placed abroad (those days Indian parents generally did not adopt older children). Equipped with statistics, we called on the then Commissioner, WCD, Government of Maharashtra- Mr. Ashwani Kumar (Bless him) who, issued transfer instructions for all the identified children. That was our first success.

For the remaining children, we approached the agencies and ACAs in Mumbai and Pune, for leads to waiting parents and drew a blank. Realising that we had to figure out a solution ourselves, we started our own promotional efforts-through outdoor hoardings, advertisements and media presence. The results were heart-warming! 34 adoptions (14 in the pipeline). We have now, moved to Orissa to replicate the experience. In Orissa we work with 9 agencies and have facilitated 18 placements (13 in the pipeline) already.

To be continued tomorrow.....

2 comments:

ling said...

Hi

We want to adopt a girl child less than 1 yr, we are trying it for the past 1 yr but in vain. Could you plz help us in this, we are in Bangalore.

Ruby Nakka - Admin. said...

Write to Bharati Das Gupta at Bharati@kaleconsultants.com. She is the managing trustee of CSA and she'll guide you.

Ruby