Bharath walked confidently across the courtyard. Tall, athletic, and poised, he sat down and took a deep breath, ready to tell his story for the first time.

What a contrast to the shy, grieving orphan boy who entered one of DFN’s schools just a few years before. Bharath’s life to that point had been challenging and confusing. His mother and father were both HIV-positive. His father died when Bharath was quite young, leaving his ill mother alone and destitute. She placed him in an orphanage to provide for him but stay close by and involved in his life. She later passed away, too.

Bharath is a special young man. Despite these very difficult circumstances, his heart is kind and humble.

Bharath is a special young man. Despite these very difficult circumstances, his heart is kind and humble.

“Even though it was hard, I’m grateful for the orphanage because it allowed me to come to a Good Shepherd School,” Bharath said. “Without that, I would never have met Mr. Singh, and I would never have learned to play hockey. Mr. Singh inspired me and taught me many things.” Bharath was such a good athlete he qualified for and played in the state-level finals during his last years in high school!

Bharath shared that without a safe place to live and a good education, his life would be very different today. He speculates that he would likely have found himself as a street kid in a slum. This would have made him vulnerable to so many terrible things: drugs and alcohol abuse, forced labor in a brick or fireworks factory, trafficking, or begging in hopes of getting enough rupees to buy food for the day. Bharath would have had no opportunity and no way of improving his future. He says, “I can’t even imagine what my life would have been.”

“I can’t even imagine what my life would have been.”

Instead, today Bharath is a proud Good Shepherd graduate. He is in university studying to be an engineer, with dreams of working in civil service one day. His mind is clear, his path is sure, and he has the tools he needs to make a difference in the world. Bharath shares, “God brought me to a good place – this Good Shepherd School. He was always there with me in all struggles and circumstances, even in my sadness and darkness, he was there.”

Although Bharath is still technically an orphan, making his way in the world without his parents, he has a community, a family, that surrounds him with love. His DFN-supported Good Shepherd School taught him well and gave him a place to belong, his sports team headed by Mr. Singh taught him the value of teamwork and discipline, and God is walking by his side every step of the way. Bharath knows He was there in the past, and He will be there in the future.

That’s the kind of life transformation that happens when you support DFN. You give orphan boys (and girls) dreams, hopes, aspirations, goals. You show them compassion and care when they need it most. You point the way to a better future.

Bharath says, “Thank you.”


Maneesha is a student who has transformed her challenging circumstances and risen to the top of her class! Watch her story now.