It was in the winter of 2005, a Gynecologist from America Dr. Michelle Harrison gathered a group of concerned citizens in Kolkata to discuss formation of an NGO to establish a model of non-institutional care for orphaned children and Shishur Sevay is born. Twelve years after Dr Michelle Harrison is now popularly known as Mommy in the house and else were. Mommy means Mother. It is the title, she feels has been bestowed upon her by the children for her work over the years.
Not much is known about this Mother, as she is always away from limelight or media. The 75-year-old gynecologist and psychiatrist is engrossed in the activities of Shishur Sevay every since its foundation. In brief Shishur Sevay is a Home for orphan girls, those who have lost connection to family and community and who would otherwise live in an institution. The girls are thriving, learning, and beginning to see different futures for them. Children, abled and disabled share their lives with each other and with Dr. Michelle Harrison, as their Mother aka Mommy.
Though the organisation was founded in the year 2005, but she has been working and sponsoring children in schools in West Bengal since 2000 and her connect with the city dates back to 1984. While speaking to News Minute she said “As a single mother I adopted my second daughter in Kolkata then Calcutta in 1984. Though it was a difficult procedure, me being a single mother and the concern of the home about the fate of the child, but after much deliberation they finally gave me consent to adopt. But what bothered me was the plight of other kids who did not get a family“.
It was here the seed was sown for her to come back time-to-time as volunteer to work for non-profits in Kolkata. The former executive director of Johnson & Johnson’s Institute for Children developed an urge to do something for abandoned kids and finally she sold her house in New Jersey to fund Shishur Sevay, and to settle down in Kolkata. As she says “In 2006, fresh from winning my battle with cancer, I sold my house in the US and moved to Calcutta to build another one here“. Though it was not that easy, she has to face difficulties for carrying forward this good work, extortion call from local goons and the registration and the lengthy procedures of government offices and fighting six years with the disease, but her spirit was never broken and she survived everything.
Shishur Sevay now has 20 children, who lived together under the same roof, As Michelle is their mommy, and she sleeps and eats with these kids in the ground flour of the three-storey building at New Alipore. The kids here are mostly differently abled and are abandoned by the family and society and who gets shelter in the lap of their caring mother in their new home Shishur Sevay.
Shishur Sevay is for Dr Michelle is a Child life Preserve, a unique, non-institutional home for orphaned girls, where this mother adopted the life style, food habits, dress and culture dedicated to the care of the kids is a living embodiment of service. Service to those who are deprived and abandoned.
To support and to know more about Shishur Sevay, click: Shishur Sevay