One Child's Perspective On Growing Up At An Orphanage

 Written by: Catherine Lal Photography by: Clifton Shipway

Written by: Catherine Lal
Photography by: Clifton Shipway

My name is Catherine Lal, I am 23 years old and I grew up and still live at a group home/orphanage called Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission in Eastern India.

I live here, at the farm, because this is my home. This is where I want to be. This place gives me peace and I love it here. If the farm didn’t exist, I don’t know where I would be living. Honestly, I don’t want to live anywhere else.

If the farm closed down tomorrow, it would be the worst day ever… Because our big family would fall apart. Especially the kids that don’t have parents because they truly don’t have any other home. And the kids that have parents might have a physical place to go but it might not be safe. But all we kids would miss the true love we get from our family here.

The farm is a good place because love comes first. We are orphans but at the farm we don’t feel like we are orphans. Because we have a great family looking after us. The Shipway family treats us like their own. Everybody here looks out for each other. We all come from different places but here we all feel related to each other. I think we have everything. My farm is the best place in the world.

Growing up in the farm I want the world to know that if the world is looking for love and peace, come here and see how we live. I want the world to know that family is not only blood relation but that love makes a family. Love is what keeps this family, my family, going. I want the world to know that no matter who we farm kids are, where we are, what we have, we are all going to shoot for the moon because we have been given the love and support to believe in ourselves and our futures. 

If it was not for Clifton, Priscilla, Grandpa, Eugene and Uncle John’s love and sacrifice, I won’t be able to say this. They help light up our world. They are not our blood, but they are our own. They choose us. We have future, a home and such a good life because of them. We have Grandpa (Rick Shipway), we have bhaiya (Clifton), Maami (Priscilla) and Uncle John who is a fatherly Uncle to us all. They make this home so beautiful and safe for us all. And we love them all so dearly and they’re very close to our heart. I love my big family. There’s nothing else I ever wanted.