The bright yellow walls of the building, a bountiful vegetable garden and smiling girls bring cheer to your heart as soon as you step into the '' Baale Mane'' premises. A home among the lush green ragi fields, eucalyptus groves and farm lands serve as the ideal retreat for the girls to grow in a nurturing environment.

Baale Mane at Gopalapura. Pic: Suja Sukumaran.

'Baale Mane' meaning 'Girl's Home' is situated in the sylvan surroundings of Gopalapura, near Nelamangala, off Tumkur Road. It was founded in 2001 by Paraspara Trust, an NGO providing shelter and a home for girl children. The girls here are orphans, street kids, from single parent homes and also rescued from abusive places of work. Several of them were homeless and arrested by police.

Here they recover, grow and can be children again under the guidance and tutelage of Mary Chinnappan, their caretaker and mother; a lady who has dedicated her life to be with the children for 11 years and continues to do so. 60 girls between the ages of 5-18 years are here in various stages of education.

5,250 girls are out there on the streets and there may be more. Rescuing them and giving them a life is the motto of Paraspara Trust according to K.C. Venkatesh the President of Baale Trust.

Most of the girls go to government schools while some go to government aided schools. A few are doing their PUC at Triveni College. "Since we live so far they have to wake up early and take the bus to all these places and come back," says Mary who is the manager at 'Baale Mane'. "The teenage girls need counseling and guidance. It is not easy sometimes to manage the needs of so many. We can use some help. Some of the girls need psychiatric counseling. They vie for my attention all the time since I am the only one available as a mother figure," she further elaborated.

Happy stories of young women

Happy faces at Baale Mane. Pic: Suja Sukumaran.

"There is the happy story of Megha who joined the 'Baale Mane' seven years ago and is working now. She found a boy and will be marrying eventually," says Mary. There are stories of girls becoming accomplished in different forms of art and creativity. "It is important for me to make the girls learn folk arts and nurture their creativity," she adds.

The girls have performed Dollu-Kunitha (folk dance from Karnataka), street plays, dance and singing concerts at different venues and have been invited to perform on a regular basis. They have also won several awards and accolades for their performances. There are also throw-ball courts and it is heartening seeing the girls playing and laughing on the premises with joyous abandon.

16-year-old Kalayarshi is in 10th standard now. It's been eight years since she came to ''Baale Mane''. "I was forced to work at the home of a Diabetic patient by my stepfather. I had to clean the toilet and take care of the old man. When I didn't do my work, they abused me and also burnt my hand. I left the place and the police got me and sent me to Makkala Sahaya Vani, a remand home. After three months six of us were brought here. I am very happy here and want to study and become a doctor," she says with a big smile.

"I am from Andhra and my mother moved to Bangalore," said 16-year-old Vijayalakshmi who is studying in 1 PUC at the Triveni College. " My sister is also here. Kalayarshi and I are best friends. I am so happy here."

'Baale Trust' try and re-unite the girls with the family. But when that is not possible they are given shelter at 'Baale Mane'. They were able to raise funds for construction and for funds. A lot more funds need to be raised in terms of improving the infrastructure and comfort level of the residents here.

The Gopalapura building was made possible by the 'Friends for Baala Mane, Gopalapura,' a UK charity. They currently have dedicated trustees like Rajan Narayanan, K.C Venkatesh, Mary C, Indira Raghupathi and Rashmi Hegde.

Need for sustained effort

Vegetables are grown in their backyard making them self-sufficient to some degree. Solar heating takes care of their lighting and heating needs. Bore wells sunk around the premises takes care of the water needs of the residents. A computer room has been equipped although they are still in need of materials.

What 'Baale Mane' would like are good mentors to talk to the girls and guide them.Since the institution has grown they would also like to have clothes, sandals, books and accessories for the girls. Donations, sponsorships would help reduce their administration costs. Volunteers who can come by for health check-ups and psychiatric evaluation are also needed on a regular basis. What they need is caring and concerned citizens who can chip in their time and resources to help the abandoned children.

Tuscany, The Cream Lounge, is also contributing the entire proceeds of the sale of ice cream from its two outlets at Jayanagar 4th T Block and Garuda Swagath Mall on the last day of the Joy of Giving Week (October 8) to Baale Mane.

Fundraiser - Joy of Giving Week - Oct 2, 2011

A fundraising music concert and dinner is being organised as part of the Joy of Giving Week on Oct 2, at the Taj West End, Bangalore. Guests will be treated to musical melodies by M D Pallavi. The event was conceived by M K Mohan of Tuscany. Tuscany proposes to do many more such events over the next few years.

  • Event Sponsor: The Taj West End
  • Media Partner: Citizen Matters
  • Technology Partner: Indianstage.in
  • Donor Passes for 2000 are available at www.indianstage.in

Baale Mane. No 121, Gopalapura, Railway Gollahalli Post, Bangalore, Ph: +27737171 / 984503009. http://www.baalemane.org