Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vignettes - P. Prashanthi, K. Dhanalakshmi, M. Anusha and Mahesh

Note: the last name initial is given first, and the people are called by their given names.

P. Prashanthi is one of three daughters whose father, a wealthy man, was unhappy because he had only wanted sons. At the urging of his own mother, he sent his wife and daughters away, leaving them without support.

Prashanthi's mother came to the Institute to work as a cook and later left to work in a garment factory. Finding it difficult to care for the daughters alone, she allowed one to be adopted, kept the youngest, and brought Prashanthi to live at the Institute. Prashanthi has finished school now and is in her second year at the local Junior College.


K. Dhanalakshmi was 9 years old when she came to the Institute in May, 2010. After her mother had died, her father left with another woman. Abandoned, she roamed between the homes of her relatives in the village, sometimes sleeping in one of their thatched huts or in the church building. The preacher in the village, a graduate of the Institute, began to study with some of her relatives and also with her. When he discovered that no one was taking responsibility for her, he asked Dhanalakshmi if she would like to go to live at the orphanage. She said yes. He bought her a couple of dresses, since she was wearing rags. She is now in fourth grade and doing well.


M. Anusha, age 13, and her brother M. Mahesh, age 10, were two children of a drunken father who died, leaving his wife to care for three children, her sister, and her husband's sister. The mother's brother offered to go collect the insurance money for her, and then disappeared with it. This left her destitute and depressed to the point of sickness and death.

The two aunts, with the help of the children, began making liquor and selling it to support themselves. A minister who had heard of the Jack Nelle Institute brought two of the three children here and left the third at another orphanage. The aunts were able to close the business, entered nursing school, and became nurses.

Before Mahesh entered the institute he used to go out all day and no one knew whether he ate anything or not. Consequently, he was severely malnourished. He fell down often and had trouble breathing. His attacks sent him to the hospital on four or five occasions. Joyce, a medical doctor and wife of Titus, the school's principal, took charge of his diet, giving him eggs every day instead of 2 or 3 times a week like the other students and milk twice each day instead of only once. He has regained his health.

Mahesh and Anusha knew no English at all when they entered the Institute, but now read and write in English as well as their native Telugu.

- Laurel Sewell

Location:Vijayawada, India

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