Father, Dad, Papa, Abba, Appan- they’re all different ways to address that one person who is our shield, our supporter, our pillar. Our fathers are those heroes who always assume their roles in the backdrop. This Father’s day, we take a moment to thank them, honour them, but most of all, acknowledge them- for being there, always. Below, we capture some ordinary stories of extraordinary dads!

Pratima studies in Grade 2 at SERVE, our Mission Education centre in Faraki Danga, West Bengal.

She looked up at me, and I knew I was going to be her everything- her father, her mother, her world’, says Budhi. His wife (Lakhi) passed away, when his only daughter, Pratima, was a few months old. With Pratima in his dear arms, Budhi knew he had to stay strong- for his daughter’s sake. ‘I have never been to school, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand how powerful education is. I work hard every day to give my daughter a worthy life. I promised Lakhi that Pratima would not suffer because of poverty.’ Budhi smiles and says, ‘I think she’s happy. She goes to school, she learns- teaches me also! I think I’ll be able to do well by her”.

Farhan is studies in Grade 4 at MAKZ School, our Mission Education centre in Mumbai- located in the slum cluster of Dharavi. We hope he fulfils his father’s dream one day!

As Abdul looks at his ruffled hands, he thinks of all the jobs he’s had over the years- from washing cars to making hand-bags, he’s been through it all. He shrugs, ‘It was all worth it’, he says. ‘Fathers often say that they want their son to be like them, but I want him to be better- I want him to be great.’ Abdul did every kind of job he could get his hands on, every job that got his hands dirty, just so that he could feed his family. ‘If I get a chance- I would do it all over again. If it means my son can go to school and get the education that every child deserves, it’s worth it!.

Ganesh studies in Grade 2 at Lepakshi, our Mission Education centre in Visakhapatnam.

He is the best son one could ever ask for. I mean, he has made a construction site his home! In today’s time and age, what kid would do that willingly and happily?’ asks Ganesh’s father. Chandu is a construction worker- living without a place he could call home. But Ganesh never lets him feel that way. His mother is a domestic maid, and their overall family income is just about enough to feed the entire family once in a day. ‘I and my wife work hard every day so that Ganesh never has a crease on his forehead. His happiness means the world to us. Every day, when we come tired from work, he always lights us up with his stories. Usually, it’s the father who puts his son to sleep with bedtime stories, but in our case, Ganesh always lulls me to sleep with his. I know he’s going to turn out to be a great man.

Rajkumar and Ravi study at Maxvision, Mission Education centre in Gurgaon.

I don’t know what is more important than family. I am very thankful to God. At least we have a home to sleep, food to eat, and children to love’, says Ram Kumar. He works in a garbage dump, cleans drains and carries wastes from houses. ‘My parents always taught me that no job is small if it is fulfilling your needs, and putting a smile on your family’s faces’. At times, ‘my children get insulted by strangers because their father works in a dumpster. But I raised them with the same values as I was raised. They are my strong champions’. His wife adds that while sometimes their children cry because they feel upset, they still never forget to ‘count their blessings.

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