by Elyas Hussain
A retired Glasgow police officer has recently raised £40,000 for a charity caring for abandoned girls in India.
For some years, popular community and race relations officer Tom Harrigan, MBE, has been working closely with managing trustee Bibi Prakash Kaur (Bibi Ji), the founder of Unique Home for Girls in the Punjab.
After raising the £40,000 in a series of events last year, he took the money to India where the charity had decided to use it to build a new, purpose-designed home for the girls and the staff.
On his return Tom said: ‘I have supported the home for years and have now set up a registered charity in the UK. This is called Friends of Unique Home for Girls and the aim is not only to raise money but also to raise the charity’s profile here.
He added: “From my first visit, I have been impressed and humbled by the hope offered to the most vulnerable people in society – new-born babies and young girls who had been abandoned. All the staff there really care and are committed. They do an amazing job bring up their charges. It was a great privilege for me to raise £40,000 and I’m very happy it will be used for a new building for the children and staff.”
Tom also assists with the charity, Glasgow the Caring City,
In India little girls are abandoned for cultural reasons or because many poverty-stricken parents see them as a burden. Unique Home for Girls provides shelter and support and raises the girls to be healthy, self -respecting citizens. As well as a roof over their head and the basic necessities, the charity gives the girls an education at recognised schools, colleges and higher education establishments.
Currently, there are 56 girls living at the home. An additional 65 infants have been left in the baby cradle at the door of the premises. The centre was set up in 1933 by the Bhai Ghanayya Ji charitable Trust. While some of the girls get married and leave, there are a few like ‘Susie’ who have chosen to stay on and give their services voluntarily to the Home in appreciation of their up bringing.
To make a donation or for more information about the Unique Homes for Girls visit their website –www.uniquehomesforgirls.co.uk