New NightCare Center Opens in India

Written By: Tanya Lasko (Program Coordinator)

As I travel through the streets of Kolkata in the comfort of a hired car with horns beeping and the air conditioning cranked, I am reminded of the blessing of peace, quiet, and order. I begin to understand that each honk communicates to the pedestrians, and other vehicles, “I am here”. 

The staff here in Kolkata greet us warmly and are eager to walk us to the new center that is being opened for the very first night. A single ribbon spans the doorway waiting for Sarah to cut it while a man in a second doorway grins from ear to ear. I learn later that he is the landlord of the building and has graciously rented the space to Saving Moses for a reasonable rent even though it is for “those” women. The brothel is just two blocks away and their kind is not welcome in this neighborhood by most. The landlord’s warm smile and kind eyes communicate that he is in it for these babies’ sake! 

We enter the new center to find four preschoolers eagerly, but patiently, waiting to open the brand-new toys sitting on the shelves. I would equate it to birds sitting on a wire. I can’t help thinking, “Is there a Moses sitting among these precious wide-eyed toddlers?” Among the toddlers was Suleme, a thirty-two-year-old mom who has an eleven-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. I try to engage with Tutal, the little two-year-old, but she quickly nestles into mom. As the night continues, Tutal and I shared some blocks and a few priceless smiles. 

A four-year-old girl, Diya, captures my heart as she is eager to play, and build, and tell me the letters that are on the puzzles in front of her. You can tell she feels safe as she inches closer as we continue to play together. Diya’s mother was a sex worker, but she passed away a year prior. Diya had been all alone until one of the Saving Moses nannies adopted her and that is how she ended up at the NightCare center. We finished the evening with snacks and cake to celebrate another center opening where love and consistency can be found for these babies and their moms.

The next evening, I find myself walking through the streets near the brothel, keeping my eyes focused on each next step, and making sure I offer a warm smile to the children and women I encounter along the way. Up the narrow stairway, I am greeted with the joyous sound of little ones playing and fully engaged with toys and their nannies. 

As I enter the playroom several toddlers come to play with me. I started to play with a boy who was figuring out how to place shapes through the correct holes in a bucket. As I patted him on the back, high fived him and rubbed his head, the boy grew in his confidence and delighted in the praise. This is a foreign concept for many of these toddlers as they’re more familiar with criticism or silence. 

The nannies work very hard to affirm their efforts in kindness and in learning. As I listened and watched my heart was filled to hear of Suvo, a boy who just aged out of the program whose grandmother, after hearing from the staff how smart her grandson was, enrolled him in a private school to continue his education. A vision has begun, a life has been altered and it began with Saving Moses’ willingness to help the invisible! 

I then played with Muscan, a thirteen-month-old girl who has been at the center since three months of age. Her infectious smile and bright curious eyes drew me to quickly fall in love with her and desire her to break into a different life as she grows older. Later in the evening I found myself struggling with anger as I heard how Muscan’s older sister, who also had a beautiful spirit, was sold for the equivalent of a month’s rent. I pray that Muscan has a better future and can remain in NightCare where she is loved and safe. This world does not make sense to me, but these babies and toddlers thrive and learn love in the safety of these centers which makes it worthwhile what NightCare is able to achieve!

– Tanya Lasko (Program Coordinator)

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