PalnaTM, (which means “cradle” as well as “nurture”) is our home for abandoned, homeless and destitute children. It is possibly our most well-known programme. Established in 1978, and located in Qudsia Bagh, Old Delhi, it is a haven of peace, security and stability for the children who come here.
A palna TM is placed just outside the gates to allow a child to be placed in it by anyone, without the need of identifying themselves. This is how we receive most of our children. Children also come to PalnaTM through the police and through hospitals and clinics. Occasionally, families may come to the home to relinquish their child. As soon as a child is placed in the cradle, a siren is immediately activated, and a nurse comes to take the child in.
Today, on an average, PalnaTM looks after 60 - 75 children, ranging in age from new-borns to 8 year olds. As soon as a child comes to PalnaTM, he or she is taken to our in-house medical crisis unit for a thorough medical check-up and is treated by our doctors as required. Efforts are initiated to trace the family of the child. Only after it is established that the child is abandoned, all efforts are made to place the child in adoption. Over the last three decades, we have placed over 2,800 children in loving families, selected after rigorous screening and evaluation procedures.
Infants often arrive in a precarious state of health – low birth weight, hypothermic, babies with trauma and congenital defects or mentally challenged. Survival is the immediate challenge for a newborn. We have a team of dedicated round-the-clock doctors, nurses and care-givers, and our medical crisis unit has all the necessary equipment to handle emergencies among infants and new-borns. Mortality in PalnaTM today is negligible.
PalnaTM has a team of qualified therapists, counsellors, caregivers and teachers who oversee the growth and development of each child. We are proud that our efforts have resulted in the children no longer having delayed milestones due to institutionalisation.
We have a playground equipped with swings, slides and cycles for the older children, and pre-school classes are held for them. Festivals and birthdays are celebrated, and the children go on outings. The USP of PalnaTM is that it has the atmosphere of a home. Along with medical care, proper nutrition, and education, the children are loved and there is much fun and laughter. PalnaTM children are happy children!
Case Study : Leena King
Leena Danielle King left Palna TM in 1991 and got in touch with us again in 2013, filling our hearts with joy! Here is her story …
Leena arrived in Palna TM as a new born infant in 1983. Though she was severely physically challenged, she was a happy child. Suddenly at the age of about five/six we began realizing that Leena's behaviour towards adoptive parents who came to take custody of their children had changed. Initially she would go to them and play and talk to them, but as time passed she did not like visitors or interact with adoptive parents. Leena had started feeling left out and had realised that people were affectionate towards her but finally would not adopt her but instead take some other child into their family. This was affecting Leena's personality. All of us at Palna TM began worrying about Leena's future. It was then that we met Mr. Dean Hale of Holt International, USA. Holt International specialized in finding homes for special needs children. They put Leena’s details in their newsletter, and it was through that that Leena's present family, the Kings, approached the adoption agency and took Leena to be their child.
Leena was about eight and a half years old when she finally joined her family. When Leena reached USA she did not know English and the family did not understand Hindi. The family sent us some video recording after three months of her stay in USA. Initially Leena was speaking in Hindi and she kept talking of Palna TM - the babies, the Indian food she had, and Matron Daniel. The Kings named her Leena Danielle after Matron Daniel of Palna TM. After three months the video showed Leena speaking in accented English and showing off her pink shoes on a slide. She had never worn shoes in Palna TM as her legs were deformed. Leena was a transformed child. The summer she turned nine, Leena had surgery to reverse the direction of her knees by one of the world's leading experts on Larson's Syndrome! After nearly a year of casts, she went from walking on the backs of her calves or crawling on her hands and feet with knees bent the wrong way, to using a wheelchair, then a walker and finally, Lofstrand crutches. After a few years, she didn't even need the crutches! Today she is able to walk independently. Leena graduated from school and took a job as a greeter in a military store where she is very popular!