Pearl Jasra is the mother of 104 children (the number keeps increasing!) and she is only 23 year-old. That could sound surprising but not for this young girl. At the tender age of 12, when Pearl lost her both parents, one would have expected the little girl to be shattered, lonely for life. But she rose again and instead of indulging in self-pity, she took on life, head-on. Today her house bustles with the laughter and shrieks of these children who are not her own but still she is "theirs".
Pearl persuades, coaxes and welcomes underprivileged children to her house, where she teaches them about numbers, alphabets and poetry. Together, they celebrate festivals, each other's birthdays and even life.
After her parents' death, Pearl decided that she would help such children study and make their lives worth living. As a result in 2004, with the help of her uncle, Pearl started an organisation called Initiative for Viable Education (IVE).
Pearl celebrating birthday of one of 'her children'
Her poor children comprise of orphans, child labourers, single parent siblings, autistics and mentally challenged. Most of them are malnourished, so eminent local doctors help her with free medical check-up and medicines for the children. Pearl raises funds to admit/readmit them in nearby private schools and for their stationary. Kind hearted souls help with winter/summer clothing for the children. She keeps looking for families, comprising widows and other underprivileged, who would like to send their children to schools.
Young children taking rest after a tiring game at their 'Didi's home'
Everyday "her children", as she fondly calls them, converge at her house in holy city of Amritsar in Punjab where she carefully monitors their homework adding special emphasis on improving their communication skills.
This young girl is all smiles seeing her birthday cake
Managing her time between her studies, professional work and responsibility of educating and managing 100 plus children, Pearl says, "I feel that there is so much to be done to bridge inequalities in this world and I have just one life".