While the city is abuzz with its heavy flow of vehicles on its narrow streets, a bunch of tiny tots, flashing their neatly pressed red chequered uniforms and polished shoes, enter the gates of Providence Convent at Koramangala in Bengaluru, on a bright Friday morning. The Convent is an old school with a church and houses several old trees, making it a calm place, despite its existence on the busy Hosur road. A shelter home, within the campus, is on its way to get its final colours. The curious eyes of the tiny tots search for a familiar face in the playground. A young woman with soft curls and an infectious smile appears behind the trees and their hearts cheer up. There is warmth in her touch and a spark in her eye, enough to make the children feel safe and protected. For kids there, and in shelters across the country, Gloria Benny is the beacon of hope for a better tomorrow.
It did not take much time for her to spread her charm. As I enter with my travel bags, her first question immediately after a warm greeting was, “Can I help you with one of these?” I decline, but that gesture was enough to win my heart. To my question of how many children does she have, she beams with her smile saying, “Every child that I see is like my own.” The sprightly 30-year-old Benny, has built two strong organisations of value and strength, ‘Make A Difference’ and ‘Guardians of Dreams’, for underprivileged children across the country who live in shelter homes. She wants them to dream of an ambitious life, just like their well-off counterparts, by providing them education, infrastructure and psycho-social care.
Born into a middle-class family at Kochi in Kerala, Benny spent her early life in Saudi Arabia. She was 19-years-old when she visited her first shelter home in Kochi. “It showed me a part of the society that I didn’t know existed,” she says. The visit was a revealing experience of a part of society, which is unjust and unfair, which she then decided to stand against. Driven by this strong ideal, she started volunteering in one of those shelter homes along with her friends, who shared similar views towards social inequalities. She believes that her stay in Saudi Arabia p