Sangeeta shows her way for many to follow

Sangeeta Gala and her husband Rajesh Gala with a baby they foster
Sangeeta Gala and her husband Rajesh Gala with a baby they foster

India Post News Servce

CHICAGO: Sangeeta and Rajesh, a Guajarati Indian couple, had everything here in Michigan, USA that one can aspire for a good life – a lucrative job, a house and very comfortable life. But one fine day they decided after ruminating a lot to give that up to go back to India to look after their aging parents , to have their kids raised in THE right type of cultural environment and give back to the community through immersing in socially beneficial projects

That was way back in 1992 after twelve years of being here and they do not regret that decision even now. Rajesh was a qualified engineer and also held an MBA degree from an American University. Sangeeta was a housewife with an avid desire to help others She is busy now forging a link between new born babies and the families worldwide looking for adopting a child Both have conducted medical camps, science fairs, helping needy women or disabled- orphan kids. The family had a charitable trust, Shri Tokershi Velji Gala Manav Rahat Nidhi Trust. And that proved a good vehicle to start with.

Over a period of time, Sangeeta realized that the area that needs more attention relates to the new-born babies. Speaking to India Post, she observed: “Foster parents form an integral part of the adoption process and they are the first family for the child that is awaiting adoption. The little one needs lots of love, care and affection. Studies suggest this is quintessential for the child’s holistic development. It also provides an easy transition for the child from the foster family into the adoptive family.”

That was the field that she got attracted to and has been working for the past many years. It amounts essentially to fostering newborns for a while till they get the right type of family for adoption. There are a large number of couples in India and abroad who for one or the other reason, are looking for babes for adoption and it is not easy for them to get the right ones. Activists like Sangeeta are a useful link acting as short-term parents for new-borns before they get the right home for their life long journey

Sangeeta says there are only a few centers in Mumbai which get new-born babies – either from single women, or economically stressed out families or abandoned ones or babies with nobody to look after them. These centers look out for socially conscious persons like Sangeeta who take charge of the babies and then find really deserving families who could adopt them.

This link is a foster home, and as Sangeeta says, there may be only a few in cities like Mumbai but very far and few across the country Those like Sangeeta who devote their time energy and money to look after new-borns can be counted on finger tips. There is a crying need for foster homes in major cities and Sangeeta feels that the government could do well to encourage setting them up.

Sangeeta Gala and her husband Rajesh Gala with a baby they foster
Sangeeta Gala and her husband Rajesh Gala with a baby they foster

“My husband and I have been blessed to have fostered 10 babies at home in the past three years. Based on our own experience, fostering is truly amazing and hugely satisfying. If every family fosters just one child in their entire life time, there will be no children in the orphanages,” Sangeeta said

Sangeeta also has been doing donation drives for the babies of the Colaba Mumbai center. “I collect used items from all around Mumbai like walkers, rockers, strollers, clothes etc. clean and send theese to the center as needed. I also collect monetary donations for milk, diapers, accessories for the babies ,” she said

Besides that, she makes a lot of efforts to create awareness on adoption and fostering. “I am happy to share that close to 125 families have registered with my help from all around the world in the past three years to adopt a child. Some have and others soon will have their bundle of joy in their arms,” she beamed

There are special needs-children who are often totally neglected and are in need for much more to cope up with their everyday lives. There are Hiv+/Aids affected, physically and mentally challenged, deaf, blind and other unique cases. With a number of donation drives, Sangeeta has successfully distributed hearing aids, wheel chairs, computers, adult diapers, and sanitary napkins among others. She has also organized medical camps, picnics, birthdays and other parties with the help of the sponsors for the Colaba slums’ children.

“Lately my husband and I had arranged a ‘Mumbai Darshan’ trip for the 60-plus mentally challenged orphan children for three days from three orphanages of Satara district, Maharashtra,” she said.

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