Udayan Care spreads its “sunshine” to Australia


Udayan in Sanskrit means “eternal sunrise” and it was with the objective of bringing hope and joy into the lives of the less advantaged that Udayan Care was set up in 1994 in New Delhi, India, by the dynamic Dr Kiran Modi.

Her vision to ensure the rights of the most vulnerable sections of society — children and women — led to Udayan Care’s innovative programmes. Born out of Dr. Modi’s personal tragedy and her deep compassion for the underprivileged, the multiple award-winning NGO now has a presence in America and Australia.

Powered by the unique concept of mentorship, about 300 orphaned and abandoned children are nurtured, in the warmth of a family at the 13 Udayan Ghars (homes), in North India; 3000 young girls are ensured higher education through the Udayan Shalini Fellowships across 8 cities and about 8000 under-served communities are enabled to improve their employability skills in 7 information technology and vocational training centers across Delhi and nearby areas.

Appalled by the stark situation of India’s 31 million orphaned and abandoned children (Source: UNICEF) and the lack of even the very basic facilities available to them, Dr. Modi set up Udayan Care’s very first Udayan Ghar (Sunshine Home) in 1996. The Udayan Ghar concept was based on a unique, indigenously developed, group foster care model, following the philosophy of L.I.F.E – Living in Family Environment.

From the very beginning itself, the Udayan Ghar initiative enlisted the support of a dedicated team of volunteers. The first volunteers came in the form of Mentor Parents – lifetime volunteers, who having parented their own children, were willing to dedicate their lives to parenting all over again and give children the love and care they needed. The beginning, with one home and 3 children, has now resulted in 13 homes and 3 aftercare centres for children and young adults.

Individuals came from all over the world and Udayan Care had its first set of international volunteers right since its inception. In 2003, Udayan Care received its very first volunteer from Australia, Kristen Benson, and thus began the tryst between Udayan Care and Australia!

Kristen of Melbourne, a social worker working with out-of-home adolescents, truly believes that “all children in the world deserve unconditional love and support with the opportunity to experience a life in which they can develop their own goals and make their own choices”. “I spent five years in India volunteering with Udayan Care, and I have remained connected both in a work capacity and as a committed part of the Udayan family and am now eagerly awaiting the visit of four of these children along with Dr. Modi to Australia,” says Kirsten.
She invited two Udayan girls –Shivani and Marjeena –to Melbourne in 2011. It was a life-time experience for these two little girls, to travel by air, see dolphins, kangaroos and koalas, live in an Australian family home, work with children in an international school and forge lasting friendships!

The initial success has led to another trip, this time in June with two boys and two girls, from two Udayan homes.

Kristen and scores of other Australian volunteers to Udayan Care are “spending the next few days in a think tank,” in the words of volunteer Julia Landrey, “calling people who we feel would like to join the joyful opportunity for selfless service – particularly schools, parent communities, like minded groups. We are also trying to organise small fundraising events.”

Dr. Kiran Modi will be in Melbourne from 2 to 10 June, and will spend a couple of days in Sydney in between. She can be contacted on kiranmodi@udayancare.org; or kiranmodi@hotmail.com

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