What This Australian Couple Did To This Homeless Girl In Vadodara Will Melt Your Heart
Famous Australian businessman, entrepreneur and aviator Dick Smith when passing through Vadodara on a train noticed an eight-year old girl from a homeless family playing near the railway tracks under the Shashtri Bridge wearing nothing but a pink bracelet. He immediately took a picture of the scene in front of him and also noted down the GPS position.
(The picture that Dick Smith took of the girl wearing her pink bracelet)
After he left India, Smith handed over the photograph to an Australian couple Chris Bray and Jess Bray and asked if they would be interested in flying all the way to India, locating the girl and ensuring that they have a better accommodation and a bank account wherein Smith could regularly deposit money.
(Dick Smith showing the picture to Chris Bray)
The couple not only took up the challenge but managed to complete it in just three days and uploaded a photo essay documenting their journey on Facebook.
The couple flew into Vadodara on December 15 and started their quest to find one girl out of a country of 1.25 billion. Their only aid in this quest was that one photograph
(Chris Bray at the spot where the picture was taken)
After reaching their hotel, the couple made their way to Shashtri bridge to the exact location as in Smith’s photo. But, it wasn’t as easy as they thought due to the language barrier and the fact that they couldn’t recognize any families present under the bridge at the time.
Fortunately for them, they got in touch with Dr Dilip Chellani from M S University’s Department of Banking and Insurance who drove down all the way to the railway tracks to help the couple locate the girl.
(Chris Bray finally met the girl and showed her the photograph)
After a lot of searching, they finally managed to locate the girl, who was still wearing her pink bracelet and met her family and learned that the girl’s name was Divya and she had two younger brothers, one was 7 years old and the other just 2 years old.
As it turns out, the family has been living under the bridge for 12 years and it was there that Divya was born too. Her father was a plasterer who would earn $4-6 a day, which was not enough to afford even a slum house and hence they made the tracks their home.
(Divya with her family)
Dr Chellani asked the whole family to come to the bank that afternoon and when they did, the couple learnt more about the father, Naresh. Shy at first, he opened up in the course of the conversation and seemed like a genuine hardworking man who loved his family but wasn’t able to give them a life reeking of luxury.
(Chris showed them the picture of Dick Smith and his wife)
Chris and Jess then showed the family a photograph of Dick Smith and his wife and told them how he had seen the girl while passing through and sent them to find out if there was any way he could help the family.
“It was a pretty special moment to be sitting there, as the messengers of such a generous, life-changing gift, and watching realisation dawn on this family that we wanted to pay rent for them to move into a house, help Divya get a good education, help the father earn a better wage to help them start to help themselves,” wrote Chris in his Facebook post.
The next morning, they opened a bank account for the girl which could be accessed by Divya and her mother and where Smith could deposit money. The couple on their post deposited Rs 20,000 which could be used as rent money for three months.
(Dr Chellani inked up a contract for the family with Chris)
Then they inked up a formal contract with the help of Dr Chellani whre it was stated that the funding would be for a period of two years after which it would be reviewed and would be used for rent and furthering the girl’s education. A clause was also put in that the funding could be stopped if Divya wasn’t attending school regularly. Dr Chellani had the responsibility of overseeing whether the funds were being utilised correctly and if Divya was going to school everyday.
(Chris and Jess took the family shopping!)
After the formalities were done, Jess and Chris took the family out for shopping and bought several sets of clothes for the family, school supplies for Divya and work tools for her father, Naresh.
(Divya holding the photographj of Dick Smith and his wife as a gesture of gratitude with her mother Krishna and father Naresh and are flanked by Jess and Chris Bray on either side)
(This is the school that Divya will be going to)
Dick has said that he will make a significant donation to the whole school.
May God shower all His Blessings on Dick Smith, Chris & Jess and Divya and her family this Christmas!
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