Ten years ago when Drishti’s founder chairperson, Neeta Bahadur, spotted little Arun near his home in Koela village on the outskirts of Lucknow, he was virtually living the life of a vagabond—forsaken by parents and shunned by villagers as ‘insane’. But for Neeta, it was a challenge to rehabilitate this 9-year-old.
Arun, now 19, is a transformed young man. He may still be an introvert but lives a productive life—he is an assistant to his carpenter father and earns Rs 100 a day. Recalls Neeta: "After days of total inertia, one day when I gave him a paper, and pencil, Arun drew out a flower. That was the turning point. We tapped the budding artist in him, he created other wonders with paint and brush—three years later when we decided to produce our own greetings cards, Arun’s drawings and paintings were a big draw."