Just when you think there is no hope for mankind, a beautiful story like this one comes along and helps restore one’s faith in Humanity.
Rajib Thomas, known better as Papa Reji, is a father of 24 children — 22 of which he adopted.
Each of the 22 orphans were abandoned by their parents. Each of them HIV-positive.
Image credit: Caters
“I was passing DY Patil hospital one day when I saw a girl sleeping outside — weak to the point that you could see her bones. I found out that she was HIV positive and had lost both her parents. I asked what she would like to eat and she said noodles, but I couldn’t find them anywhere so I promised her I would return the next day. She passed away that night and that incident kept haunting me, so I went inside the hospital and asked them to contact me if there were any such children in the future…”
This is what inspired Papa Reji to take this unlikely path. Soon after, the hospital contacted him about 2 little boys who were HIV-positive, and abandoned by their parents. Reji gladly took them in, despite having little financial means.
“At first it was difficult to make ends meet — we could afford one mattress on which my 4 children slept and my wife and I would make do without. Eventually, people started donating — beds, grains and money. My family of 4 slowly expanded to 24 as more and more children with HIV were sent to me.”
Image credit: Caters
Papa Reji says his wife has been instrumental throughout this challenging process, faithfully cooks for the entire family, and makes sure the boys all get their medical check ups and stay healthy.
Although it has certainly been difficult, Reiji says he has no regrets and has found both happiness and purpose in this remarkable new chapter of his life.
“An incident I’ll never forget is of a boy who was abandoned by his parents and brought to us in the last stage of tuberculosis and HIV. We took him in, gave him all the fresh juices and lentils he needed. We began to laugh around him, make him play with us and showered him with so much love that he had to recover! Within two weeks from not being able to get up, he was running around everywhere!
That’s the most fulfilling part about what I do — I can proudly say that my family of 24 is overflowing with love! Being HIV positive doesn’t mean that they have to cut their life short…they can live as long as any normal person and that’s what I’m here for…to save them and give them a long life. And with love and care, everything is possible.”
Image Credit: Human’s of Bombay
No One Can Do Everything But Everyone Can Do Something
Papa Reiji is an ordinary man, that made an extraordinary decision. He never had the financial means, but he had the heart to help. And so he decided to take that proverbial leap of faith, and bravely built his wings on the way down.
I firmly believe that central to our personal wellbeing — as a human species — is the desire to help create positive change. And the moment we neglect this great calling, it gives rise to internal conflict and unhappiness.
Of course, no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. So do what you can, where you are, with what you have, because one kind word, one sentence of Truth, one demonstration of courage, and one act of kindness, all hold within them the power to set off a chain of events that can change our world.
H/T: Human’s of Bombay
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