In loving memory of Shravan...
27 June, 2014
It is with overwhelming sadness that GPM staff and volunteers share the tragic news that Shravan Shah, an 11-year-old boy with whom GPM has been working for the
past two years, has died suddenly.
Shravan was a beautiful boy, full of energy, humor, intelligence and affection. He loved drawing, he loved learning, and he had an endearing mischievous streak and a captivating smile. He developed quick and easy relationships with our volunteers, who he would readily chat with and hug.
The volunteers and staff of GPM miss him terribly, and are devastated by this news. His main teacher, Anju, has been inconsolable. Shravan has been with GPM in Anju’s class almost from the beginning and he was always excited to learn new things. He was a sweet, bright boy and an extremely gifted artist and many of us received presents from him in the form of beautiful drawings.
Ten days ago Shravan’s six year old sister, Swati, joined him full time in studying at Anju’s class; they were sitting next to each other during the last week which was also the first week of school after the Summer holidays…
Shravan was an inspiration to everyone at GPM and to his local teachers from REAP. Whenever his family made plans to return for a few days to their village, he would stay behind because he did not want to miss a day of studying. After one of the GPM “Career Day” visits from a local doctor, Shravandecided that he wanted to be a doctor. He talked about this and drew pictures about it, and did not let his current life situation in the slum interfere with his dream.
He was, in fact, our dream. To his teachers at REAP and our many volunteers, Shravan represented everything we were trying to accomplish – give kids the tools to believe in themselves, and see themselves as fully capable of achieving anything. He probably would have been a great doctor.
Shravan died of an undiagnosed and quick illness, the kind of illness that most Western children would have for 2 or 3 days, receive treatment and simply stay home from school. On Friday, the GPM staff noticed that he wasn’t his usual vivacious self, and he said that he wasn’t feeling well, that he had a headache and fever. By Friday night, he was no longer among the living. It is a tragedy of mind-numbing preventability. We are all left wondering if Shravan would have visited a doctor, received some medicine, maybe had a throat culture, would this of happened? We are left wondering if such basic practices are simply not available to the children in the slums. This reality is heartbreaking beyond description.
If Shravan left us with one message it’s this: We cannot be apathetic in the face of human suffering. The children in the slums – the beautiful, innocent children of the slums – deserve the same chances in life as do my children, our children, those of us privileged to live a more comfortable life.
GPM sends our most heartfelt condolences to Sharvan's parents and sister.
Our wish is that the families of the slums know no more pain and suffering like this. We pray that all the children will all grow up healthy, happy and full of bright futures.