Bombay Teen Challenge was born with a burden that God placed in the heart of a man, K.K. Devaraj, who felt God’s compassion for people in pain. He left his career overseas and responded in obedience to God’s call on his life to serve the destitute and those forgotten by society.
In 1990, accompanied by his wife and little son, K. K. Devaraj came to Mumbai with just a one-way ticket and a burning passion to reach the young generation caught up in drugs, gangs and prostitution. He was deeply stirred in his spirit by the wretched sight of poverty, disease, street children, prostitutes, drug addicts, the needy and the dying poor. From the first instance, his reaction to this depessing scene was a feeling of dire hopelessness. But he decided to light a candle instead of curse the darkness.
Since then, his vision has grown and has become one of the largest ministries to the marginalized groups. K.K. Devaraj founded Bombay Teen Challenge and under its auspices provides services such as shelters for children of women used in prostitution and street children, a home for AIDS orphans, homes for daughters of prostituted women, feeding programs, medical care, HIV/AIDS clinic, rescue for drug addicted “street boys”, and homes for women who have been rescued from a life of enslavement to prostitution in the brothels. At Ashagram (translated, the Village of Hope), the women have an opportunity to start new lives in a protected environment of love, and receive education and job training in the hope that they can become productive members of society. Those that cannot move on because of psychological or physical trauma have a permanent home at Ashagram. Another near term plan includes a hospice for women and girls whose victimization by traffickers is costing them their very lives.
Today, after all the years of tireless work, there is reason to celebrate the fact that hundreds of lives have been restored and saved from the evil effects of drugs, alcohol and prostitution.
Known variously as K.K., Devaraj, or Raji by his friends, and as “Uncle” by the many girls who love him as the only true father figure they have ever known, he is relentless in the effort to rescue his “daughters” and often says, “if they are my daughters, I am not going to wait for a law to be passed or the UN to do something…I’m going to go get them!” He is husband to Lathija and father to three children of his own, Justin, Dawn, and Deborah.