We all know how precious a life can be, and how beautiful
newborn life is. At JanPragati, we kept hearing cases of women
aborting their children because they saw no hopeful solution to their
problems, to their desperate circumstances. Thus a vision to start
Mekhi’s Home began, because we saw the need for a crisis
pregnancy centre. There are crisis pregnancy centers down in the
south of India, but it is a novel idea in the North. We knew that the
state Uttar Pradesh has one of the highest rate of abortions.
An estimated 3.2 million abortions occurred in Uttar Pradesh in
2015. These included safe and unsafe abortions, and those taking place both in health facilities and in other settings. The state’s abortion rate was 61 terminations per 1,000 women of reproductive age. So we were led to start a center here. To describe Mekhi’s Home is to say it is a safe haven that primarily aims to save children from foeticide by providing a safe place to women and girls in crisis-pregnancy and ensures safe delivery of babies.
We deal with:
Women prone to forced abortion
Pregnancy out of wedlock
Pregnancy from rape
Making it simple here are four essentials we do at Mekhi’s:
We help women in crisis-pregnancy to deal with Psycho-Social
trauma through the intervention of professional counselling
ensuring emotional well being throughout their stay.
We provide them a healthy environment to live, nutritious food
for the woman, and other necessary supplies to help them
during their period of expectation.
We ensure medical care of the pregnant woman and safe
delivery of the babies by providing prenatal and postnatal care
under the supervision of a trained nurse.
We also equip them through literacy classes and give them skills
like sewing, macramé craft, artwork, etc. for their future usage.
Overall, Mekhi's Home aims to be a channel for those underprivileged women who need help to restore their lives emotionally, physically and mentally. We wish to see them have a better personal and family life, and to be empowered enough to acknowledge their worth.
But to start Mekhi's Home, it was not an easy task. On the one hand neither the local authorities nor the local people understood what we had in mind. So there were inquisitive looks from district authorities and suspicions from locals about the project. They simply did not get it. When we approached people for a house for lease, we were met with cold stares. No one would lease their property for such a work. Finally, it took around two years, when we finally met a man who was willing to give us his land and house. He did not live there, as he and his wife were employees at a Government Medical College in Lucknow. They lived on the Hospital campus and did not have plans to live in this house until their retirement in 2020.
For around a year, it was very difficult for us. But there were wonderful people encouraging us not to stop, but press on. We were so discouraged that we thought we would have to leave the project. But by the end of 2018, we received the first expectant mother to our home. Ever since, we’ve had the joy of seeing five babies born here with the next two babies now due this January 2021. Although we’ve only seen six babies born, we’ve been able to work with eleven ladies so far. In a few cases the women had to return home before giving birth. Most of the women have come from tough situations of their families disowning the pregnancy and lacking the support they need.
To our wonderful surprise, about a year ago we were connected to and recognized by the Child’s Welfare Committee. This committee specialized in helping young children in trouble. Our partnership with them means that if they discover a case of a pregnancy in trouble due to the young mother’s circumstances, they’ll refer the young girl to come to Mekhi’s Home. From there, we’ve been able to enroll them into our program. We think the partnership has been a mutual blessing.
Three Years Later...
The beauty of this home is that we’ve seen the women grow. Babies born
are wonderful, but it gets even better. Through counseling and learning,
these women are using their pregnancy time to learn and grow themselves.
Some of these activities include learning parlor skills, developing our self
esteem, and learning different crafting skills. We are honored to be a part of
their journey, taking the next step in developing these young mothers. There
have even been wonderful stories of redemption that have happened
through this place.
Towards the end of 2020, we learned that the house where we were
currently staying needed be vacated. With three pregnant women in
the house we began searching for a new place to call our own. We
would rent if we had to, but to buy our very own place would be the
best case scenario. After searching for a couple of months a friend
told us about a man with a property. After we first met with him and
told him our story, he informed us he wasn't actually interested in
selling this property. He had in his mind to create a home for elderly
people. About a week later, we felt the urge to ask him again if he was interested in selling. To our great surprise, he said YES! We were shocked! We are still in the process of getting financial ownership of the house, but it is ours. We have a place of our very own with five girls currently (Jan. 2021). What provision we have seen in our time of need! Now we are ready for the arrival of five babies and more women who will come our way.