As a son of a telephone linesman T. Raja never knew parental love and took to stealing, drinking and gambling early in life. He ran away from home and lived on the streets for two years. He slept on the streets near garbage bins and rabid dogs that constantly pined around him day and night. His life was meaningless and he was just another destitute wandering aimlessly on the streets of Bangalore.
Unable to bear the life of such anguish, Raja decided to start working to support his basic needs. “I drove autokishaws for sometime and then taxi’s and was struggling to make ends meet.” he said. “I also worked as a body guard and then as a hit man in the auto union.”During this phase of Raja’s life, he felt a constant struggle in his heart for answers about his life.
Then, a friend of Raja helped him realize that there was more to life. That life itself is a blessing to those who use it for the service of others.“I decided then that I would dedicate my life to helping the dying and destitute people on the streets. My decision was strongly supported by my religious principles and my family.” Mr. Raja told the Asian Age.
New Ark Mission of India (The beginning):
The New Ark Mission of India was started by T. Raja in the year 1997 and ever since Raja has committed his life to helping the destitute and dying from the streets. He is also privileged to have the help from his family. His wife and his three children also share his vision and offer him their full support.
“Whenever I approach the destitutes, passers–by and even the people I intend to rescue are surprised. Passers–by suspect me of luring these people into hospitals and stealing their organs. On the other hand, the destitutes themselves are taken aback at me holding them because they have never been approached by anyone before. In fact, they are only used to people stoning them or abusing them. Some of them are so weak that they can barely move their limbs, while others who just manage to move need to battle with the street dogs to feed themselves from the leftover in thrash bins. Most of them rejected by their families are living the most inhuman lives and with their bodies covered with sores. When I come across such people, I bring them to our Home of Hope.”
All that Raja could do then (in 1997 when NAMI was first started) was to pick them from the street in his auto and bring them to his home. With minimal help from others, he would bathe and shave them and clean up their wounds. They would then be dressed afresh and fed. Thus, the New Ark Mission in the year 1997 was started in a 5’ by 6 feet passage outside Raja’s tiny single room house. Since then, the New Ark Mission of India has been remarkably dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating the deserted and the dying people from the streets. The Home of Hope is where the future of the homeless lies. Raja started this home with compassion and faith as his only investment.