Raju is the youngest of six siblings. Raju’s eldest brother, Rajesh, was just 14 years old when he started working over 70 hours a week in a Motor Repair Shop near his home in a Delhi slum. It wasn’t enough. The six siblings- Rajesh, Rajeev, Sarvan, Radha, Raja and Raju—were malnourished and missing school.
The children’s father abandoned the family years ago. Their mother recently died of a prolonged illness. Raju was only two years old, longing for a mother’s love. It was now up to Rajesh to care for his siblings and pay the bills. He spent most of his time working and the rest in housework.
Then things got worse. Not liking the risk of child tenants, their landlord threw them out of their home. They were alone in the slum without a roof over their heads. Raju was becoming skin and bones.
By the grace of God they were rescued and sent to a shelter home where OLTL founder Courtney was volunteering (2012). However, this shelter was overrun with street children. They could barely provide healthy meals and decent clothing for the siblings. Raja, the second youngest boy, was suffering from Tuberculosis, and the shelter chose not to pay for the treatment. Rather they sent the boys back to their home village in Bihar, 700 miles away. Within a few weeks, Raja died.
Again, the siblings’ lives were at risk, as they did not have enough food to eat. Rajesh returned to Delhi to work as a laborer so he could send some money back to support his siblings.