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Nele Narendra

Outside Nele NarendraPhoto byTejas Bharadwaj

Rag pickers, beggars, and orphans living on the streets with nothing but broken families and broken hearts. It's a heartbreaking sight to see children with ripped clothes carrying their entire lives on their shoulders. Without the fundamentals of education and their parents' love, they are left in shambles with no hope in the world. On the streets of Bengaluru, the Nele Foundation serves as a rehabilitation center for underprivileged children who come from troubled homes or have nowhere else to go. The vision that Nele hopes to achieve for these children is a well-cultured society that upholds the highest human values.

Meeting Prasad Sir

We had the pleasure of speaking with Prasad during our visit. Born in Sagar, he attended high school in Chitradurga before moving to Bangalore to work for the Nele Foundation. He was raised in a Sangh/RSS household, with his entire family volunteering across Karnataka. He is currently employed as the head of Nele Narendra. He began working for Nele in 2014 as a computer teacher after previously working at Nele Narendra.
Meeting With Prasad SirPhoto byTejas Bharadwaj

What is Nele Foundation?

Hindu Seva Pratishthana, based in Bangalore, was founded in 1980 by the late Sri Ajit Kumar ji. He was famous for winning gold medals in both mechanical and electrical engineering. His heart was touched by the many destitute children on the streets of Bengaluru and wanted to provide them with necessities and good culture, particularly those with a Sangh background. In the year 2000, Ajit Kumar ji's vision became a reality. The first Nele Foundation building was in Bangalore, with only 13 children. Other branches sprouted up all over Karnataka, with 5 in Bangalore alone. The first is Nele Narendra holding 73 children. Later, two more branches for girls, Nele Nivedita and Nele Asha Kirana opened. As well as another branch called Nele Chandana for boys. This year saw the opening of a new branch called Nele Namma Mane, which translates to "My House." Although Nele does not have permission to accept children aged 0 to 6, Amrutha Shishu Nivasa is another orphanage that accepts children aged 1-6 months. These children feed into the Nele foundation branches once they reach the age of six.
Computer Lab at Nele NarendraPhoto byTejas Bharadwaj

The majority of children who enter Nele are orphans and those living in poverty, including rat pickers, as well as those who develop bad habits at a young age, such as drinking, smoking, and using drugs. Prasad also mentions that they mostly get their children from concerned citizens. Nele members go down to these areas and determine if they meet the standards of a safe household; if not, they pick them up. Every year, Neles in Karnataka were featured in leading newspapers, allowing many inquiries and phone calls, as well as local police also assisted in locating missing children.

Nele's Challenges Over The Years

According to Women and Child Development Department instructions during lockdowns in recent years with Covid 19 regulations, many were sent back to their homes by single parents or guardians. Those who are orphans stay at Nele Narendra. Many of these orphans kept themselves entertained by using the computer labs, indoor sports room, and library, all within Nele itself. Due to many families losing their jobs and having to provide for their families, a large number of children joined Nele Narendra only this year. 55 of the 73 children here are new. However, in places like Nele, most children lack proper birth dates due to a lack of birth certificates or related documents. These organizations assign them a date of birth, which means that many 18-year-olds are studying in lower grades because they began school later. Though this is a major problem for many students, they continue to persevere regardless of their situation.

The fact that the Nele Foundation adheres to RSS beliefs distinguishes it from other orphanages. Cleaning, discipline, and Hindu culture are given more weight. While we were there, we noticed how each child began each room with "namaste" and how meticulously each room was cleaned. However, it is common for children to be opposed to RSS beliefs and activities such as Bhajans and Yoga held at Nele Narendra. According to Prasad, it takes a few months for many people to adjust to their new surroundings.
Tidy Beds of Nele Narendra ChildrenPhoto byTejas Bharadwaj

Final Statement

In conclusion, the Nele Foundation has been a haven for many children across Karnataka for many years, giving many children a second chance. Nele gives hope to destitute children such as rag pickers, beggars, orphans, and other needy and neglected children. This foundation has enriched the lives of children as well as the staff and volunteers who have devoted their time and energy to serving children. Coming from a developed country with a strong cultural background, this experience not only delighted me and my family but also astounded us with the extent of the children's dedication and discipline. The volunteers and staff of the Nele Foundation not only did an exceptional job, but they continue to share their work with the rest of the world and continue to inspire many more around the nation.
Nele Narendra ChildrenPhoto byTejas Bharadwaj

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