Driver turns doting dad to abandoned children

Driver turns doting dad to abandoned children
Every morning, Shivaji Lazarus drives all the way from Jakkur to Hebbal to drop off 23 children at school and picks them back in a minivan. But Lazarus is not just a driver to these children. He is also their guardian father.

A passion to help children inspired Lazarus and his wife Prema to set up the Miracle Manna Children’s Home in 2010. Today, Miracle Manna is a loving home to 23 children who were orphaned by their biological parents because of various reasons. The youngest child is four years old while the eldest is aged 18.

The couple’s passion took shape when Prema desired to adopt a child after they had a daughter. A relative requested them to adopt his three children as he was unable to care for them. Lazarus agreed to adopt the children but was troubled by the thought of hundreds of kids who do not have a home to go to after being abandoned by their parents. The couple then decided to help as many children as they could despite their modest economic background and that’s how Miracle Manna took shape.

“I make a modest living as a cab driver, but that’s not enough for the educational expenses of the children. My wife left her job as a BPO employee to care for the children. My daughter, Gracy, also lends a helping hand in taking care of the children,” said Lazarus who lives in a small three-room house which he converted into Miracle Manna. One room is used as kitchen and dining room while another doubles up as a study and prayer room. The children sleep in the third room where bunk beds have been put up for them.

“I have enrolled the children at an English-medium school in Hebbal. I leave home at 8 am to drop them off at the school. I then drive the cab. I am back at the school at 3 pm to pick up the children,” Lazarus said.

He continued: “We get donations but do not have committed donors who donate regularly. We also get donations in kind like groceries. While that helps us feed the children, it runs out too soon.”  Prema said: “Despite the difficult times, the children have never gone hungry. We do our best to give them a good life.”

The eldest child at the home, 18-year-old Marina, is studying BBA and aspires to be a successful corporate professional. As a doting father, Lazarus toils hard to give each of the children a good life and a future. He is also crowdfunding to meet children’s educational expenses.

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