katrina's little darlings
THE TIMES OF INDIA.
At the break of dawn, Katrina Kaif takes a private charter from Mumbai to visit the Azhagusirai village in Tamil Nadu, 29-km from Madurai, with one goal in mind... the eradication of female infanticide.
TOI joined her in this remote village where the Bollywood actress went unrecognised. “Her work with underprivileged children here has won her a permanent place in our hearts,’’ said an office bearer of the Claretian Mercy Home, a project run to eradicate female infanticide and to shelter abandoned aged people.
How did Kat get involved in this cause? And, why did she choose a village so far flung from Mumbai to do her charity work in? It happens that the actress’ mother, Sussanne Turquotte, heads an organisation called Relief Projects India (RPI) in Chennai. She has been fighting female infanticide for years and Katrina, who empathises with the cause, is lending a hand. Poverty in Azhagusirai is so rife that families cannot afford to raise a girl child because of the evil social practise of dowry prevalent there.
The girl child is either killed at birth or abandoned soon after. And it is here that the Claretian Mercy Home steps in with medical care, food, clothes and, most importantly, love until the girl child is ready for adoption into Indian homes. Katrina and Sussanne have supervised the construction of a neo-natal and baby care centre in Azhagusurai that receives abandoned babies who are cared for by locals under the supervision of the RPI and a Rev Fr. Franz Xavier Dirberger from Germany who founded the Claretian Mercy Home in 1986.
Katrina is so involved that she just started a department dedicated to provide skill development facilities to children who are in the toddler age. She calls this wing ‘Little Darlings’. The actress intends to start a separate home for the care of children who are not likely to be adopted because of physical disabilities. Sources indicate that Kat is also keen to start a similar project closer to Mumbai where she can invest her time and energies into bringing a ray of hope into the lives of the less fortunate. And you thought she was just a diva on screen!