The American author, Harriet Beecher Stowe once quoted, “Women are the real architects of society,” and Mrs. Lalitha Varma, the Director of Sunrise Children’s Home is the embodiment of this quote. On this International Women’s Day, we want to share with you the admirable story of the woman who is an architect of the society of Bobbili, Andhra Pradesh.
Lalitha has tirelessly loved child after child, year after year, for 30 years. She built a home for the children. She did not construct the house, the sponsors paid for it, the construction workers put cement and brick together, but Lalitha is responsible – for creating a home filled with love and care.
Born in Vijayawada in the year 1963, Lalitha grew up in a house that was always ready to welcome the little children in their neighborhood. With her mother being a nurturing person, and her father always ready to make the kids laugh, Lalitha believes the nurturing spirit in her was a blessing from God and also, implanted in her under the influence of her parents. As she grew older, she knew her calling was to be with children. After completing her high school, Lalitha obtained a degree in Bachelor of Arts in 2001 from Osmania University, Hyderabad and worked for a few years as a teacher and then went on to complete a B. Ed. course in Nababharat Shiksha Parishad, Rourkela in the year 2006. Thereafter, she joined the workforce as a teacher at the SDA School in Machilipatnam where she worked for four years and met her husband, Mr. Raj Varma. In 1991, she joined Elim Adventist Home in Hyderabad where she took up various roles including Dean, Cashier, Accountant and Associate Director for Asian Aid.
Lalitha worked in Elim Adventist Home till 2000. In the year 2001, she and her husband were requested to start a home for the many destitute and homeless children in Bobbili. They answered the call and started Sunrise Home with humble beginnings and four children in their one-bedroom house. Today, they have moved to a bigger space and are parents to 120 children.
Lalitha’s love for the children doesn’t need to be explained much, it is evident in the warm smiles of the children who feel right at home with her. Often, these children even dread to visit their relatives’ homes during the holidays. “Mommy has given us everything, we are so lucky, we don’t know what would happen to us if she was not there,” said one of the elder children.
When asked how she manages to love children in numbers over 100 and care for them for 365 days, she says, “I am blessed because God has given me so much love in my heart, there is room enough for all of them.”
Today, in a 12.5 acre land a few minutes away from the town of Bobbili, Lalitha plays her role of being the architect of the society by waking up every new day with one goal – to make sure 120 orphans and destitue children feel at home.