How do you console an elderly person spending their last years in loneliness without any family?
How do you console an orphan child who doesn’t know the blessings of being raised by a mother and father?
Recently, Zakat Foundation’s Orphan Sponsorship Program (OSP) in India organized a unique event. The sponsored orphans spent the day visiting the elderly so young and old alike could share stories, food, and care for one another.
There were about 30 seniors at St. Vincent De Paul’s nursing home located in the south Indian state of Karnataka. As soon as the Zakat Foundation children were seen, they were instantly welcomed by the senior citizens, who showered the children with smiles and hugs.
Many of the elderly at the home are estranged from their children and grandchildren. “We could see some tears rolling down from their eyes,” said a Zakat Foundation volunteer. “We noticed joy with tears.”
“The purpose of taking the orphan children to the home was to make them know the value of parents and the elderly,” said Hannah Asha, a Zakat Foundation volunteer. “How important it is to care for them and have their blessings in [our] lives.”
Although the nursing home provides necessities like food and clothing, it cannot fully replicate the affection of a loving family.
“If we keep our elderly people well and cheerful, they will always feel young and happy in their old years,” said Mr. Raju, President of the St. Vincent De Paul home.
The nursing home staff testified that this was the happiest the elderly had been all year. For the orphan children, it was about receiving the attention and love that other children experience from parents and grandparents.
Later in the afternoon, the children distributed fruits and sweets to the elderly. Before they left, the elderly prayed for each child, advising them to study well, and to love, care, and respect one another.
“If a youth honors an elderly on account of their old age, God appoints someone to honor him in his old age.” — Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him)