She was married at 13, and by the time she turned 15, she was already a mother. Just around her 17th birthday, she was deserted by her husband; dazed and troubled, she struggled with suicidal tendencies where life held no meaning for her except being an endless drag. Now, at 29, she takes care of men and women like her who are struggling alone and helps them find their way back to a normal, healthy existence.
Bindya Gurung’s Story
Meet Bindya Gurung, caretaker of Mayalmu Lee, a destitute home near the capital town of Gangtok, who says that it was working for Mayalmu that brought her back to life, literally and metaphorically. Located at Tadong in East Sikkim, the home presently houses 25 persons, out of which 18 are female and 7 male who have been abandoned by their families.
Additionally, Gurung takes care of 16 other inmates who are psychologically disturbed and helps them live their lives with dignity. ‘Life gave me many reasons to quit and feel depressed about; I spent considerable time in hospital struggling with chronic depression. It was then that my father introduced me to the organization to understand that I was not the only one with problems. I started working there as a volunteer and realised that if someone is abandoned by everyone and with no place to turn to, anyone can have a breakdown,’ reminisces Bindya.
She says that she had never had any plans to do social work, and could never imagine herself at Mayalmu, but fate, it seems, had other plans for her.
Mayalmu Lee – A Destitute Home near Gangtok
In 2010, when I had barely completed a year, I had to take charge of the home after the previous caretaker was involved in an unfortunate incident’.
The home was started in the year 2008 by Passangkit Lepcha; she had started the home with three people who were found wandering in the streets of Gangtok. Amongst the many challenges Bindya faced, she says that learning to take care of the inmates was the most difficult.
She further appeals to the younger generation especially to visit the NGO and spend time with its inmates; she assures that the experience would benefit the visitors more who would understand that there is life beyond social media. Also, as Sikkim has the second highest number of suicide deaths in the country, especially among the youth, it is important for the youth to know that there will be difficult days in your life, but they won’t linger forever.
Words by- Tamanna Tamang