Ebenezer Children’s Nest, Burari, India
Sarala Shetty is the Founder of a Christian orphanage called Ebenezer Children’s Nest that she manages with her two brothers, Jos and Philip.
This 50 year old woman was once from a prominent Hindu family. Her life-changing story began on a trip to Sri Lanka many years before where she was mistakenly arrested, convicted for drug possession, and sentenced to death. She was alone and hopeless in the prison, unable to communicate because she spoke only English and Hindi. One day a new Christian cellmate approached and gave her a bible to read. While it was far different from her belief system, reading it provided comfort during the many long days and nights in the prison.
On the day prior to her execution, a Christian pastor visited and told her to have faith in the Lord. As she tells it, her execution was postponed and ultimately she was released through a series of unexplainable events within the prison and courts. Sarala was convinced that Christ had intervened on her behalf, and she converted to Christianity.
Upon returning to India there was a Christian persecution in Orissa where many children lost their parents and became homeless. Sarala truly believed that this was her calling and opened an orphanage for the children. At the time, she took in 17 children (5-8 years of age) from Orissa to her new orphanage. She has had as many as 40 youth living in her house and is currently supporting 28 children.
The orphanage is located in a poor and dangerous area so the children must stay in their courtyard to play. Not surprisingly, there is very little funding from this predominantly non-Christian culture, but she gets enough to feed and educate the children and they make most of their own clothes. She shared that she has found great purpose in taking care of abandoned children and is grateful for the gift of the life that she has been given.