MUMBAI, INDIA – Caroline Boudreaux had all the material things she wanted in Austin, TX, but still wasn’t satisfied with her life.
“My life before the sabbatical on the outside looked like what everybody wanted, but on the inside it was actually pretty empty,” said Boudreaux, a former television account executive.
She took a year off work to travel the world. She didn’t go looking for inspiration, but a higher purpose found her.
She and a friend visited an orphanage in rural India. Boudreaux was stunned by what she saw: not enough food for more than 100 children, wooden beds, and dirty living quarters.
The children, including a 1-year-old girl named Sheebani Das, seemed starved for love, according to Boudreaux. She picked the girl up and sang her a lullaby. “She was the inspiration behind the whole now wonderfully successful organization,” she said.
Boudreaux’s moment with Das was the catalyst that caused her to create The Miracle Foundation, an NGO that provides funding for food, clean water, and other resources for rural orphanages. It provides educational opportunities for children, and trains women to better support kids in the children’s homes. In 16 years, the organization has helped more than 1,700 orphans while supporting 16 orphanages across India.
Boudreaux says if it hadn’t been for a chance encounter with Das, now a 17-year-old continuing her education, none of this could have happened.
“Sheebani Das to me is a little hero,” Boudreaux said. “She doesn’t even know what a hero she is.”