Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Drop Box

Photo: MD Hasibul Haque
Have you ever looked at someone and felt so small that you could bury yourself underground?! Something like that happened to me today when I watched a documentary about "The Drop Box". It tells the story of South Korean pastor Lee Jong-rak and his efforts to save lives of abandoned children - specifically ones with disability. 

I did expect the film to be a little grim considering the theme but what I didn't expect was under what circumstances this shelter was opened by the couple. Their second child Eun-man was born with extreme deformity, physical and mental. He is around 27 yrs old, still bed ridden and only blinks. For 14 years after Eun-man was born Mr.Lee and his wife Chun-ja spent most of their time in hospital and met other children who were abandoned because of their disability. So guess what, along with their son they brought home 4 more kids! How could anyone do that? I mean, I understand that a parents love (which on such occasions often falters), but to take care of another 4 kids?! And that was just the thing led to another and as the word spread they found newborn babies dumped outside their door! Eventually they had to make a functional unit called "drop box" where person (usually teenage girls) can keep the baby and a bell would alert them. 

As the video progressed and they showed all the babies they are looking after, you can't help but wonder where do they get the courage to carry on something like this. And mind you it is not supported by all. There are lot of people who feel that such a place encourages people to abandon their babies easily and run away from responsibility. Because drop box ensures total anonymity as opposed to other institutes. But Mr.Lee believes that people who come to him are coming as their last resort and most of them would have been dead if not for "drop box".

I don't know whether this concept works for good or bad in long run but I know some of these kids are alive and happy because someone decided they deserve a chance. One of the kids who has his right hand missing and barely any fingers was narrating his experience at school. Apparently other kids used to make fun of him, even abuse him initially. But slowly once he stood his ground, they came around and now he has lot of friends and enjoys going to school! It may not seem like a big story right now but truth is our childhood always effects the kind of person we choose to become. And he could find that support and love at right age.

I have often heard people complain that they are not rich enough to help less fortunate. But funnily, those whom I find helping are not rich -at least financially. Money is so alluring, you never realize how much is enough. But why stop at money? Those who have the will always find a way to extend that helping hands to others. 

So imagine my predicament when I spent the whole day cribbing about my knee pain only to see a child with Down's syndrome smiling gleefully at camera- just because he got the big scoop of ice cream! 

What Mr. Lee said at the end really made an impression on me. He said, "People say that those babies were abandoned by their parents, they'll probably live miserably. Why not leave them to die? But I don't believe that's true. Through them I learnt about the dignity of valuable life. Also, just because these children were abandoned doesn't mean they will be miserable. They can be happy."

I was left speechless, I felt like a person who just realized he had a billion rupees deposited in his safe deposit and had completely forgotten about it! Life throws at us so many challenges which at times feels downright unfair but what we forget is there is always someone in worse situation and smiling at you warm-heartedly. Life is precious and so much bigger than me and you. But we never know whose life we touch and how it changes their course of journey. So the least you can do is smile and force yourself to look at the brighter side of the situation. 


  1. True... Very true "But we never know whose life we touch and how it changes their course of journey"...