Catalysts for Social Action

We work towards holistic care and optimum rehabilitation outcomes for every orphaned child. We promote, support, advocate and act as Catalysts to achieve these objectives. We are an unstoppable force inspiring and channelizing action to bring about sustainable social change.
Sep 7, 2012

Who am I ?

Shivaji Dalavi, the Engineer!!!
Shivaji Dalavi, the Engineer!!!

In the 16 years of my life, I have often faced questions about my identity. Who are you? your parents….? where have you come from? Questions to which I had no answers. I simply did not know. I remember that at age 5, I was on a railway platform when a cop confronted me with the same set of questions. I told him my name-I am Shivaji; he asked me where I came from? ‘Amaravati in Maharashtra’, I said. That was all I knew.  

Since then I have remained enrolled in an institution for care and protection. No one ever visited me, I don’t know who has given me my surname.

Initially the questions would disturb me-even make me angry. When I was 13 yrs old I moved into the Boys observation Home in Pune, Maharashtra. This was a nice place; importantly, there were many others like me-with no identity. We lived together as one, big family; I mingled with my classmates, made friends, found supervisors who could guide me. It was here that I came across CSA. I was in the 8th standard and CSA had  arranged coaching classes for us. CSA also organized several education, and fun events that got all of us together. Sometimes, even boys from other institutions joined us.

With help available, I found myself doing better in school. My performance had improved; I was more attentive; above all I was now interested in my life.

Last year I completed high school and I did well scoring  first-class grades. More importantly, I took the semi-English option i.e. clearing all the papers in 2 languages-my mother tongue (Marathi) and, English.  In the Home, I was the first one to do so and suddenly, I was  a hero!  I began to be called ‘Shivaji the Topper’!!!

Now, it seems like I have an identity-my very own. My achievements will, I realize, speak for me. I have enrolled for first year Diploma course of Mechanical Engineering and yesterday, I received my first engineering-instruments’ kit    from CSA. Soon I will be ‘Shivaji the Engineer! And that will be my identity!!!

Sep 6, 2012

From Banglore to Maharashtra.............

CSA helped to complete the family..........
CSA helped to complete the family..........

Rajat spoke about his desire to adopt ever since we were dating. His reasoning was simple - "If educated, financially stable people like us from the society do not adopt, who else will?" Though it took a while for me to understand the depth in his thoughts, I eventually did. And with that, our hearts and mind stood united on our decision to adopt.

As a first step, we spoke to parents who adopted among our family and friends. The biggest hurdle (read most time consuming part) in the adoption process, we were told, was the wait for a healthy child, especially in the most sought after < 1 year infant category (which was our preference). It so turned out that in big cities, the queue of parents wanting to adopt was long (waiting list ran in hundreds!) whereas orphanages in these cities had few to no children to offer for adoption, probably due to increased awareness levels about aborting unwanted children. So the demand supply ratio was quite skewed indeed! We were given to understand that we would need to wait anywhere between 2 to 5 years - an information we gathered by making calls/visiting orphanages in the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Kolkata where our family and friends were located.

Aggressive net surfing made us stumble across 'Catalysts for Social Action'. Through the CSA website, we were amazed to know that there are lots of children waiting to be adopted - all that adoptive parents need to do is be open to the idea of adopting from orphanages in smaller towns and rural areas, that's about it! With renewed hope in our hearts, we made a call to Ms. Lucy Mathews, the Program Coordinator in CSA. Within a day, Lucy promptly gave us the lead to Vihaan, a 7 month baby boy who met our preferences. And within a week of our call to Lucy, we met Vihaan for the first time! It sounds unbelievable but it is true - it took less than 4 months to bring Vihaan home from the time we initiated our paperwork to adopt! And this was only possible because of CSA bridging the vital gap between us in Bangalore (Karnataka) and Vihaan in Nanded (Maharashtra) over a simple STD call! 

Vihaan has been with us for 5 months now. He is an extremely active, cheerful and friendly child with absolutely no stranger anxiety whatsoever. We are learning a lot of things from him these days, like living in the moment, making do with whatever is available, the joy one spreads by staying cheerful all the time and so much more. We are truly blessed to have Vihaan in our lives.

Team CSA, yours is the hand of God! Thank you is too small a word to be used in this context. I sincerely hope and pray you continue the amazing work and bring joy to many many more families.

Jun 6, 2012

"A family for every child"

Rammohan with his wife and daughter
Rammohan with his wife and daughter

Yes we feel that adoption is the most complete form of rehabilitation as all the needs of the child are taken care in the way it should be. We get immense pleasure when our efforts unite children with their parents and they make a family. Here is what one of the adoptive parents Mr. Rammohan Thyagrajan has to say………

"It was with a sense of cautious optimism, that I sent a mail to CSA in January 2012. Over the previous week, I had actually cold-called close to 100+ agencies throughout India requesting to be enrolled and I had faced a closed door every single time. Every agency was interpreting CARA guidelines in their own ways (some support inter-state adoption and some didn't). Overall I was reaching a sign of desperation when I came across CSA through a facebook group. I immediately cold-called and received a pretty warm response. I was asked to send out an email to CSA following which things started moving quickly. A couple of days later, I got a call from CSA's Orissa Project officer, Pritikanta who told us about  a 6 month old girl who has been declared legally adoptable. We were overjoyed & gladly expressed our interest and were immediately put in touch with Nehru Sevak Sangh at Bhawanipatna. Within a month from then, we had taken our angel Anwesha into foster care and exactly a month later, we got summons from the court in Bhawanipatna to complete our legal processes. Last week, we received our birth certificate and our registered adoption deed. The agency followed the CARA guidelines to a T and we were completed amazed by their honest/earnestness. In addition, the journey for us, (thorough city breds) into the interiors of Orissa was fascinating, to say the least. We also became aware of the terrific job that Nehru Sevak Sangh has been doing in this area, not to mention their association with CSA. Overall the experience was incredible and our lives have been enriched with the arrival of our little angel. We look forward to talking to CSA again in the next couple of years as we get ready to adopt our second child. I have already referred CSA to dozens of people. It is not a exaggeration when I say that CSA offers a lone hope amidst the gloom that hangs over the adoption scene in India."

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