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All she did was to say 'yes' to herself. And it happens to only those who say yes to the soul. Poornima Biswas, a 35-year-old hawker, survives on the commodity trade in the local trains. She sells imitation jewellery to the passengers who travel in the Howrah-Bandel local trains. Up to this, she is a normal lady hawker like many of her type who sell several kinds of commodities, ranging from clothes to utensils to jewellery in the local trains.
But there is a certain characteristic which makes her different from others. She runs an orphanage with 15 children at a small village in Hooghly district, about 50 kilometres away from the city. Poornima,who earns around Rs 200 to 300 everyday by selling her products, manages her three children as well as the other 15. Her four-room small house has turned to an ashram now.
What led Poornima to rear these 15 children and start the orphanage? Poornima replied: "I have grown up as a hawker. I have been ferrying goods in the trains since childhood. I am married to a hawker who too sells goods in the trains. We are daily-wage earners. This is because we did not get the chance to be educated. But I don't want others to become daily-wage earners like us. I cannot change the world, but I can try to do something which is in my reach. As I am a hawker, I always see children crying on the stations. They were left by their parents for some or the other reason. I picked up one of those kids in 2007. I could not have left the baby boy who was sitting on the station and pulled on my dupatta. He was hardly three years old and there was nobody with him. I took him in my arms and brought him to my house. I told my husband that I would bring him up in my house and my husband supported me."
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