"The Daddy" - A Humble Enabler

Sarath Babu, known as “Daddy” to more than 120 children, runs an organization. When he was working with the Railways as clerk, he used to see dirty urchins from different backgrounds daily on the railway platform. He first started out with providing these children with a place to eat and rest and sleep. Next, Sarath Babu approached the elders of Gollapallem village of Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh, requesting them to spare a piece of land for the experiment that he was keen to conduct to rehabilitate children from the platforms. The villagers gave the land and their consent on a temporary basis so he could go ahead with this challenging task.

The process of rehabilitation was so challenging as to be almost impossible. Battered and bitter, the only life many of them knew was of stealing and begging; anything different felt alien to them, hence they were suspicious of the change Sarath was trying to bring about by starting his ashram home. There were instances of Sarath being tied up to his cot and being left there by one of the children, or being constantly pick pocketed by another child. Stealing and violence were all that the children knew as a way of survival.

But on seeing the efforts of Sarath and his team, the villagers supported him and encouraged him to continue working in the village. They donated 4.5 acres of land to develop the school and living space for the children, which came to be known as the CHILD ashram. The children from the village and the children from the railway platforms are treated with equal love and warmth by the residents of the area.

He has been rescuing children who beg and steal on railway platforms for a long time. Today, one of his children works at a national research institute as a scientist, another is a circle inspector, and yet another is a professor. He has rehabilitated children who could not read and write until they were 12 years old, yet they work as teachers today. To make such a difference to one child is an incredible task, but to do so for 120+ children is nothing short of Herculean. Ask him how he has done it and he says, “They are so intelligent already, I am nothing but a humble enabler.”