Nisha (name changed), a 14-year old girl is an inhabitant of a small village named Dehrigown of Moradabad district in UP. Her mother left the family because she wanted to live in a separate house with her husband, but Nisha’s father was unable to fulfil this wish. In her absence, the care of Nisha and her elder brother became the responsibility of her aunt, who gave basic facilities to the children.
Both Nisha and her brother studied in a school, but she was less interested in studies. She wanted to join a beautician course with her cousin (her aunt’s daughter). One day, her cousin stole some money from the wallet of her uncle and put the blame on Nisha. At that time, Nisha get scared and she thought that if her father came to know about it, he would surely beat her. With this fear, Nisha decided to leave home and came at Moradabad railway junction. She boarded a train that was stationed there and reached Lucknow railway station. At Lucknow, she was rescued by Childline and referred to Govt. Children Home (Girls), Lucknow. From there, she was transferred to Kanpur Govt. Children Home in February 2014.
Nisha was a sweet girl and with her soft behaviour, she had won everybody’s hearts. SATHI staff first contacted her in May 2016. In the initial counselling sessions, she said that she did not want to go back home because she still feared that her father will beat her. After repeated interactions with the child, the counsellor was successful in removing this fear from the child’s mind. She also realized that she was not at fault and the only mistake she made was to take the decision to leave home in a hurry. Eventually Nisha showed willingness to go home and her adress tracing process was started.
She did not remember the contact number of any family member. She only mentioned about a “Hanuman Murti” situated near her house in Moradabad. With the help of staff of Police Headquarters of Moradabad, it was found that the description matched a location which came under Katghar Police station limits. Katghar Police then made efforts to search the family of the child and were able to make contact with the elder uncle of Nisha. He became very emotional after coming to know about Nisha, and in spite of his bad health, he was ready to come to Kanpur. SATHI staff explained to him the procedure of restoration and advised him to send the father of the child.
Nisha’s father continuously made calls to the staff to talk to his daughter. On the day they met each other, her father embraced her and love and tears flowed. He did not know the actual reasons behind his daughter’s leaving home. He had only assumed that Nisha got angry on some issues and left home. After she went missing, her father tried to find out about her in local places, relatives but was not successful. He was very happy to get back his daughter and even Nisha promised never to repeat the incident again. She had studied up to 4th standard in the GCH and wants to continue her study after going back home. During telephonic follow-up, it was found that she was living with her father and was waiting for the new academic year to get admitted to school.
13-year old Mohit Kumar (name changed) is the son of an auto driver. His mother works a domestic help in the locality. Mohit has 3 brothers. His eldest brother, aged 22 years is also an auto driver, but has never been to school; the two others go to school. Mohit was also admitted in a school near their home, but he was not interested and did not go to school regularly. Instead, he used to collect left over water bottles from the Patna Railway Station and sell it. With the money he earned, he used to purchase solution (dendrite) and was quite addicted to it.
When our outreach staff contacted him at Patna Railway Station he was actually inhaling the solution. Initially, he denied it but later admitted that he got into this habit from his friends with whom he was collecting bottles. With the order of the Child Welfare Committee, he was referred to DISHA de-addiction centre.
In the first evaluation during his detoxification process, Mohit was not showing interest in anything taught there. He took his time and slowly developed interest in learning dance, reading & writing alphabets and drawing. Within 3 weeks later, he had learnt writing and counting numbers and draing flowers. At the end of the first month, he was able to read and write his own name, dance, and draw fruits.
On completion of his 3 months stay a final evaluation was done and it was found that Mohit was living an addiction free life. He was studying regularly, bathing and eating timely. Other improvements in his behaviour, especially towards staff and other children were also noted. He even started liking the company of the other children.
During this period, his mother visited the shelter 6 times with a request to send Mohit with her. Every time, she was made to understand that he is there for his own good only and was politely asked to return back. But when the time came for her to receive her son, she was extremely happy to see how much her son had changed. He looked neat and clean and was well behaved. More importantly, he started taking interest in studies and promised to never use solution again. A telephonic follow-up with the family in a few weeks confirmed that he is now regularly going to school and he is no more involved in any substance abuse.
14 year old Maniram was found alone and trembling at a railway station by SATHI. After a brief conversation, he revealed that his parents passed away when he was little and that he now stayed with his grandparents.
“They are poor and I am not able to go to school. They force me to do household chores and field work. So I ran away,” he said.
We brought him to the shelter and through counselling came to know that he was from Mankapur, U.P. But it was only after repeated interactions, that Maniram started telling the truth. “My parents are alive. I don’t like to study. I got angry and left home,” he said.
He said that he went to Lucknow and worked in a hotel. When he did not get paid for his work for a long time, he ran away from there and was found by SATHI.
During counselling, he was explained the importance of education and was told that only his parents could give him that. It took some time for Maniram to change his mind but after numerous sessions, he agreed to go home and continue studies. He started crying and expressed his desire to meet his mother. He gave his father’s contact number who was elated to hear about his son!
Maniram had left from home a month earlier to visit his uncle in Jalandhar, Punjab but had run away mid-way. His parents were guided on how they could take care of Maniram and support him if he wanted to learn anything apart from studies too. Maniram then returned back home with his father by the order of CWC.