Darkness consumed Veena’s life. She grew up without the presence of her father in the home. She lived with her mother, sister, and grandmother. They farmed a small plot of land, growing ragi, a grain crop. Veena eventually got married, had a child, and left the small farm. She really loved her husband and cherished the life they were beginning to build together. Then her husband began to get mistreated at work. This was challenging for him and it really began to take a toll on him. He turned to alcohol to cope with the challenges at work and developed cancer from his alcohol consumption. He died shortly after their son, Rameet, was born. Veena became very depressed after the passing of her husband. His death was a tragedy for her. Then, shortly after her husband’s death, her mother also passed away. The two deaths at the same time were unbearable for Veena. She felt alone and hopeless. She started wandering the streets. She was so depressed she didn’t even want to live in a house because that would mean having to come home to it each day – empty – because her family members were no longer living there. So Veena was content with living on the streets because it meant she could avoid some of the memories of what home once was.
She spent four years on the streets with her son. Veena and Rameet were covered in lice and flies. There was no bathing. They had no food. Veena did not care for herself or her son, leaving many health issues untreated. All the deaths in her family that she had experienced were painful for her, but she didn’t want to dwell on the pain. Instead, she would numb herself from feeling anything at all by blacking out, using alcohol and other substances to mask the pain she was feeling.
Veena didn’t have any hope of her circumstances getting better. She was stuck in a cycle of darkness and depression and didn’t want to do anything to get out of it. Meanwhile, her life and her son’s life were in danger and not in a healthy state.
People in the city recognized this danger, and the police intervened for Veena and Rameet. They called the Home of Hope and they came to pick up Veena and Rameet. The Home of Hope is one of The Hope Venture’s partner organizations that provides shelter and care for over 750 people who have been cast out and neglected in Bangaluru, India.
Things started to turn around for Veena and Rameet after being brought to the Home of Hope. It took a while for Veena to realize where she was and what was happening, but each day she made some improvements in all aspects of her physical and mental health. She began to enjoy her time in the Home of Hope. Medicine was provided for her and she was able to actually sleep through the night and truly rest for the first time in seven years. Her health and hygiene began to improve. She began to learn to eat, interact with others, and work again.
As she grew more comfortable there, opportunities for work around the home started to open up. She worked in healthcare for a few years before she was married, and because of her time at the Home of Hope, she was able to revisit, remember, and relearn her work as a nurse. Now Veena loves working at the Home of Hope and is proud to work there and take care of others. She serves the people there so well and gets excited to see them improve in their condition, just as she did when she was first brought to the Home of Hope.
Now Veena has only one dream – to have her son educated. Rameet was never in school previously – all he knew was living on the streets. But the Home of Hope has helped get Rameet into school. Veena’s dream is now a reality. Rameet went to school for the first time ever in fifth grade. He was able to start getting caught up in his schooling through the support of the Home of Hope, and now Rameet is heading into sixth grade.
Veena’s life has been radically changed because of the Home of Hope. The darkness that once completely consumed her life does not have a hold on her anymore. No longer is Veena on the streets. She is working a job that she sees value in, her health is in good standing, and her son is getting an education. These are all things that bring joy and light into Veena’s life, and she is sharing that light with others.