Written by: Marissa Montalvo
Life is one of the most precious things in the world and it takes tremendous courage to save one. Sparsh Founder, Timothy Hirwale, shares what motivated him to rescue and raise dozens of India’s children as his own and how his organization is making an impact.
“There was a time in my dad’s life he was left alone to die on the street of Marathwada, a rural place in Maharashtra, India. An American missionary named Elizabeth Walton picked him up as a malnourished child and cared for him and gave him the name Daniel. Looking at the beautiful lifestyle of my orphan mom and dad I was inspired and thought I would love to care and love these precious children.”
Dedicated to offering that same love and care that Walton gave his father, Timothy decided to create Sparsh, an organization that offers protection and a family to children and orphans.
“For me the thought of a child being left alone without care and protection and without love makes me move in my inner spirit. You can call it a call of God or inner urge to do something for children, but from the age of 18 there was only one aim and goal or ambition and that was to serve the children.”
When he was 18-years-old, he was called “bachelor dad” because he had already taken in two 3-year-old children.
“The first time when we picked up Payal and Sunny from the red light area to Sparsh, there was this tremendous joyful satisfaction in my heart but it took 10 days for Payal to accept me as a father because she had horrific time with her father.”
His mission isn’t easy. Timothy says some of his greatest challenges are overcoming the helplessness he feels when he can’t accept more children because his home is full, caring for the education and development of so many children, and finding the time between fundraising, administration and running the home to offer individualize love and support to all 17 children. Not to mention the logistics of transporting 22 people using one small six-passenger van. Placing his challenges into perspective, he says stories like Nandini’s are worth it.
“We brought Nandini from the street. She was full of mud and carbon all over her body. When we started giving her a bath, all the black water flowed from the bathroom. Seeing that, all rest of the children screamed and ran away saying that she is very unclean. But as the days pass by, when I look back, I thank God for this little life, full of joy and smiles every day.”
Timothy says being a good father means being a good role model, building comfortable communication so children feel free and open to be themselves, finding creative and resourceful ways to provide for the family, and by taking the time to instill values in the children.
“In my opinion, a good father introduces his children to the future and does not try to keep them from world. I feel [parent should] let them see everything, have experiences of their own and when the time comes for them to make the right decision of following any religion or career, it is their own choice. I will rest assured because the values, the love I have showed to them, is genuine and you will get a genuine result. Your love and values will always guide them to be a successful human being.”
The time and energy Timothy invested in being the best father he can is paying off. He says he has seen an increase in the children’s level of trust and sense of security since coming to the home. They are sharing their feelings, hugging and showing intentional acts of kindness-actions that indicate the children are developing healthy patterns of affection and relationship skills which can be more difficult for children with traumatic backgrounds to develop.
Timothy is a man of prayer, passion and purpose. He says men must step forward with courage and boldness to fight against injustice.
“I feel God has blessed America with everything, what other nations covet. The God given freedom is being taken away by human traffickers all over. Our negligence is bringing the HIV rates high on rampage. Our negligence is seeing our own daughters and sisters being taken away in front of our eyes…Feeling sorry for the horrific act is not just enough. It is the time to act. Many think it won’t happen to me or my family, but greed and pleasure does not know any relation and color. I pray and plead, let’s make human trafficking a history.”
In 2011, Shared Hope International expanded its impact in India by welcoming a new partner in Pune. Sparsh, which means “touch” is a restoration refuge providing a family environment to women on a journey of restoration after sex trafficking, their children, and children whose mothers are still enslaved in Pune’s red light district.