Ratan Jha

Ratan is our miracle child because he was so weak and malnourished when he first came to us we were afraid he might not live.

In 2012, David and Pappu were told about some children in a local home being kept in terrible conditions.

After seeing some upsetting photographs of the children in this home, Pappu and David initially took the extremely difficult decision not to take anyone right away. The current shuktara family had only just moved into their new homes, and were adjusting to the change.

However David was haunted by the image of one of the boys who was suffering from shocking neglect. “Try as I might I just couldn’t shake him from my mind,” he said.

And so the wheels were put in motion, and Pappu (shuktara’s Chairman) arranged a transfer for Ratan with the Social Welfare Department immediately.

“Our main worry was that once we had Ratan he would be too weak and would die,” David said. “This would be a terrible situation for our children. But we took the risk. It was a very emotional moment when Ratan was brought through the door for the first time. He really did signal a new beginning here and everyone seemed to spring into action in their new roles as older brothers and sisters.”

After a few days the signs of malnutrition and scabies began to disappear. He stopped screaming and closing his eyes in fear every time someone went to touch his face, and soon adjusted from a life of complete isolation. Ratan has cerebral palsy, and is profoundly deaf and non-verbal. He has very little control of his body and can’t support his head. From being constantly alone he’s now always being held and touched, bathed, oiled, dressed, fed and toileted respectfully and lovingly.

Ratan brings something very special to the house. He gets excited, giggling and laughing loudly, which is infectious. He has a full-time carer as we were anxious that the others in the house did not feel forced into the task of looking after him. However exactly the opposite happened. Everyone wanted to take care of him and were delighted to push him around in his wheelchair, feed him and play with him. Bablu Lal spends a lot of time with him, and Ramesh happily takes over when his carer is not around.

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