BISWANATH CHARIALI, June 14 - Raj (name changed), a two-and-a-half-year-old boy found a new lease of life when he came to the SOS Children�s Village at Hojai on June 4 last.
He was welcomed by SOS Mother Sumi Das along with a host of children living as brothers and sisters at �Rajashree�, family home at SOS Children�s Village, Hojai.
Among other children, Raj�s new elder sister Anju offered him a traditional Assamese phulam gamosa, while his new brother Lohit offered him a mouth-watering sweet. He was welcomed with Aarti by another sister named Pramila.
Raj adjusted well in the new environment of the SOS Village and become the cynosure of all eyes at the children�s home. He was very happy to receive a new pair of clothes, besides other articles for day-to-day use.
Just a few months ago, the story of Raj was not so rosy. On one frightful day, Raj lost his entire family. He was playing with his two siblings in the courtyard of their thatched home, while his mother was nursing his newly-born sister who was only 15 days old. His father just came back from the paddy field to have his meal.
As the family was preparing for their mid-day meal, all of a sudden a wild elephant appeared close to their home, which is located nearby Behali Reserve Forest in Biswanath district. Without any provocation, the wild elephant suddenly attacked Raj�s father, who died on the spot. As Raj�s mother tried to flee with the infant in her arms, she too was trampled along with the new-born. The other two siblings too met a similar fate. While the thatched hut too was destroyed by the slatey grey giant, it was only Raj who miraculously survived the depredation.
The Conservator of Forest, Northern Assam Division, Tezpur and DFO of Nagaon Sub-division, Hojai, took special initiative and dashed off a letter to the SOS Children�s Village at Hojai for adopting the orphaned child.
The SOS Village authority took up the matter as per the laid down formalities and officials subsequently rushed to the spot and placed the matter with a formal request before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of Sonitpur. On its part, the CWC of Sonitpur conducted a social investigation of the case and subsequently recommended the homeless orphaned child for care and upbringing by the SOS Children�s Village at Hojai.
For the record, the SOS Children�s Village is a child development organisation engaged in the permanent care and up-bringing of parentless and destitute children in a family-like environment. There are 34 SOS Children�s Villages in India, including two in Assam, at Hojai and Guwahati.
SOS children�s village is a world-wide movement established in 1949 by philanthropist Dr Hermann Gmeiner after the Second World War. As of today, SOS children�s villages; the secular, non-Government, non-profit organisation is spread over 133 countries. Presently, the SOS Children�s Village at Hojai is home to 287 children and young adults, who receive support from this programme.
The SOS Children�s Village at Hojai has completed 32 glorious years of its existence. According to sources, more than 600 children have found a new lease of life in this SOS Village since its inception.