By Winter Johnson  

Fresh in his new role as a manager at Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance, 21-year-old Denish Immanuel has come a long way from his early days at the Divya Orphanage in 2017, after the tragic death of his mother at age 12 and his father at age 15. He remembers that first week at the Orphanage well, saying that he cried from ‘morning until night’ as he had to adjust to a new home, new children, and a new environment.

But he adapted quickly, made friends and focused on his studies, dreaming of studying computer science at university.  His hard work paid off — he received high marks in the 10th, 11th and 12th standards and completed his three-year course in computer science in July.  

We met Denish to speak about his recent successes and his life at Divya Orphanage.  

HWW: How did you end up at the Divya Orphanage after the death of your father? 

Denish: I was attending St. Antony’s Matriculation High School in Trichy and someone told my teacher about this orphanage.  At that time, I was on summer vacation and staying at my friend’s relative’s house. My teacher and I went to the Child Welfare Committee to get the order to join the orphanage, and once we had it, I joined the orphanage. 

HWW: How was your adjustment to living in the Orphanage?  

Denish: I remember having to adjust to several things. For example, my father used to give me pocket money, at the orphanage, I no longer had anyone to give me money. I learned to adjust to what I have; I learned to live without money. 

I remember having to stay at the orphanage during festival times, but my school friends got to share all their special moments with their families. I did not have that privilege. I also had to get used to sleeping in the dormitory with several boys.  

HWW: What are you the most grateful for when you think about the Divya Orphanage?  

Denish: They gave me everything I needed to continue my studies.  When I was sick and admitted in hospital for three weeks, the staff in the orphanage stayed with me and took care of me well.  They helped me to study in college and paid all my college fees and my exam fees. They helped me to learn how to drive as well.

And, per government order, you are not allowed to stay in the orphanage after 18 years old.  So, the staff at the Orphanage told the District Child Protection Unit about my situation, and got permission to keep me in the orphanage until I finished my studies in college.  

HWW: When did you leave the Divya Orphanage?  

Denish: I left the Orphanage in July of this year. Leaving my friends was very challenging. I didn’t have a heart to leave. I remember crying.  

HWW: What are your goals for the future, both personally and professionally?  

Denish: Professionally, I want to be at a top level at the company within five years. I also want to become a branch manager. On a personal level, I would like to meet my financial needs, buy a nice home, stay faithful to God, and give my life partner everything I would have wanted to give my mother, had she lived.  

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