Awakin Talks: Tejal Rajyagor

Posted by Sachi Maniar on Feb 17, 2014

Tejal Rajyagor spends most of her time in the Umerkhadi Children's Observation Home in Mumbai. A home for vulnerable children and children in conflict with law, it is often referred to as the "chiller room" or "Bachchon ka Jail". Here she started the Aashiyana project, a volunteer run initiative which has been instrumental in starting art projects, health initiatives and a children's library. Combining resources from private, public and voluntary sources, she has managed to speed up the repatriation of children, reduce violence inside the home and inculcate values in children. More than her work, she represents an unrelenting spirit of service as reflected by the radiant ever-present smile that embraces all things around her.

As the feature speaker at Awakin Talks, Sid introduced her: "A couple of years ago I came across Tejal in Sachi's home at an Awakin Circle. I met her a couple of times after that and I would just casually ask her how her day was.  Instantly, I could see this big bright smile and she replied with "GREAT".  But only later when I heard about her life, her story, her journey, I realized that the smile was a decision. It was an intention she held to be smiling through her journey.  Several years ago Tejal was actually a part of a corporate setup, and later found herself working with Give India which is one of India's largest online non profits. But two years ago she came across a children's home and observation center in Dongri which is locally known as the 'bachchon ka jail' (jail for the children). I remember going there last month and I was startled by how harsh some of these environments can be. These are kids who've been neglected by society, on the other side of law for majority of their life. There is violence, there is ill will, there is hatred, probably one of the harshest environments you could find but within all of that negativity, you see this one shining smile, and that's Tejal.  That's what I learn a lot from her. And that's the same smile you see in the Children's home, same smile you see in Sachi's Awakin when I ask her how her day went and I'm sure it's the same smile we will see on stage here."

Posted by Sachi Maniar on Feb 17, 2014 | permalink


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Previous Comments
  • Valli wrote ...

    I can see a GREAT VISIONARY in Tejal; a role model for the young Indians. I can't stop tears running down my eyes. Thanks to the team that initiated this. Wishing her a bright future....

  • Kaitlynn wrote ...

    Such a beautiful and articulate woman. So inspired by your passion, kindness and love Tejal. Thank you for creating space for all kinds of volunteers throughout your work. It's people like you who inspire the volunteerism and love in all of us.

  • Murtaza Bootwala wrote ...

    It was very inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Gopi Venkataraman wrote ...

    Tejal: I'm speechless. I see & hear a wise, old soul in a young body...from the confused girl I knew to this...wow what a journey. You inspire me...Love and hugs always

  • Veena Beleyur wrote ...

    Tejal, very proud of you !! A big salute to your passionate selfless soul !! Keep up the good work and all the best for everything !!

  • Vaibhavi wrote ...

    Thank you for sharing with us these wonderful experiences of your life..you have always been a motivation and an inspiration to us...we love you lot..sis..you have always made us proud of you...this has added a feather in cap...i want to also thank the Awakin community..Big hug to you sis...

  • nisha wrote ...

    I see a rainbow in you Tejal. Power to you.

  • Dhara wrote ...

    I was just there for 1 hour at the Dongri home for kids amd couldnt bear the scatteredness that it left in me, questions that i couldnt answer myself, there are very few who can bear this grey zone of what is this and why is it so? Tejal seems to have gone beyond it to find these answers. Much love and repect to this woman.

  • khushmita wrote ...

    Such a powerful sharing Tejal..Thank you for opening your heart and enriching us with this..I am so moved by your journey..love and more love to you..

  • ruby wrote ...

    "Merii woh need thii"! Bahut hii bhaarii. Great! Ismein woh typical "help the needy" bilkul hii nahii hain! Great! This is precisely what thrilled me! Mane tamne malawuu chhe Tejal! I feel a great urge to listen to you more and more and if possible, talk to you personally!

  • Ranganath Kulkarni wrote ...

    Tejal what a wonderful person u r? We never know the inner personality of u since associated with u for such a long period. Good going. People who always criticize such environment like Children's Home will definitely understand nothing there in the infrastructure and it is with human being living in the Home. Congratulations. Keep it up.......... all the best for your journey..... go with your goals definitely you would get what others are not getting.

  • Brinel wrote ...

    OMG Tejal,love you. You are awesome, a precious asset and a gem of a person. You are one of the most courageous, honest, positive and genuine person i have met. Proud of you.
    All the best and wish you the very best in all your endeavours.

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