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Archive for the ‘child welfare’ Category

A Rendezvous with Reality

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Salim, a 7 year old boy, came to Bangalore from Kolkata by train all alone. Speaking in Bengali, with cuts on both of his hands,  injuries on his face, roaming around the railway station, was picked up by the Child helpline and brought to the Govt. homes. Talking to him we get to know that his parents had put him on a job as a servant. The master used to physically abuse him regularly. Somehow he got the chance to run away and landed up in Bangalore. And moreover he is not ready to go back to his parents as he thinks they might send him back to work.  He was fortunate enough that he was not caught into the wrong hands and was safely brought to the “Child Welfare Committee”.

Roopa, a 12 year old girl, with a deep cut on her face and an expression of shock and fear on her face. She is an eye witness of her parents committing suicide and a victim of sexual abuse by an uncle of hers after the death of her parents.  Somehow she was able to escape and brought to the Govt. Homes by a cop. She is still in the state of shock reluctant to speak to anyone.

A very small, lean 4-day old newborn girl kid, sleeping with a cute little smile on her face in the cradle. Unaware about her parents,  she was found in a dustbin near to a hospital by the localities. Sleeping beside her is a 1-year old girl, with a cut on her neck which seemed as if someone had tried to slit her throat with a knife, was found on the railway tracks.

Gausheela, a 4-year old very sweet girl, with a green strip of cloth wrapped around the upper part of her left hand.  While we tried to remove the piece of cloth, she doesn’t let us do that and replies very sweetly in hindi that it should not be removed as it is a protection from the evil. She was found alone on one of the trains from Chennai and was repeating continuously a name “Meebo”.

Preeti, a 13-year old girl, has very deep cuts all over her hands. It was very much unbelievable to hear that the cut was made by her mother. Daughter of a well-educated parents and father working as a software engineer, the girl was in such a pitiful state. Her mother cut Preeti’s hands just because she had not finished with some kitchen chores. The caretaker at the Govt. homes are not allowing her to get back to her home as they are not convinced whether the parents will take care of the child.

Neelima, a 14-year old girl, continuously raped by her own father somehow ran away from her home. But unluckily she fell into the wrong place. Again raped by an old man on the streets of Bangalore with no one to help her. She was found by the cop and the moment she was going to give the details of the accused, she went into a state of disassociation where she has started hallucinating things and people. You can see the pain in her eyes and on her face and can’t stop tears rolling down from your eyes.

Pooja, a 15-year old girl forced to sleep with her stepfather by her own mother is standing very boldly against both stepfather and mother just to protect her other eight sisters despite all the pains she has to go through. She didn’t have anyone else to go to for help, so to protect herself she ran away from her home with one of her younger sister.  Luckily she landed up in a safe place and also got the support and help to stand against the accused. There was a spark of happiness in her eyes to see that her sisters will be safe.

There were 120 boys like Salim in the Boys Home aged from 5years to 18years.  They all had a different story – victims of child labour, child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse and child trafficking. And there were around 200 girls like Roopa, Preeti,  Gausheela, Pooja, Neelima who were either victims of rape, sexual abuse, child trafficking, stranded by parents or physical abuse.  The Govt. Homes is a shelter to lots of kids who are victim to problems like child trafficking, child abuse, sexual abuse etc. A Child Welfare Committee has been set up by the Govt. which takes care of these kids and decides upon their future.

I got an opportunity to visit this place last Saturday. It was really a tough 4 hours for us to be there with them and knowing their heart-wrenching stories and to control our emotions in front of them. I really can’t express in words their experiences and what we were going through while we were there.   It was really depressing to know about the experiences these kids had to go through in such a small age but it was also very encouraging to know that there are few people in society who are helping them so that they forget their pasts and lead a good future.  Met people like Miss Vasanti who is a Superintendent and has fully dedicated her life  for these kids. You can see the love and affection she showers on them as if they are her own kids. Really hats off to them.

This blog is just an attempt to sensitize the others in the society with what all are happening in our society.  Everyday we read about these types of stories in newspapers but we have become so much used to it that we don’t think about these or we are so much into our own life that all these things seems to be unbelievable. Before this visit even I was one of those people. But after meeting these kids who really had gone through such pains,  I have become more aware of the ground realities and I think we need to be sensitive towards these issues and do something for this. A small step of yours can change the path of life of a child.

To start with, if you come across any child on the streets or in the trains or anywhere who you think is unprotected or you are suspicious of anything just call the Child Helpline at 1098 in Bangalore or report to any of the police station as it has become mandatory that a Child Welfare Officer is present in all the police stations of Bangalore. Doing this you may save a child from any unfortunate things happening to him/her. You can save a child from getting into the clutches of child trafficker, child abuser.  There must be other Helplines like this in other cities too.

Each child has the Right to lead a safe and protected life. These are the kids who will form the next generation of the society and if they are unprotected, we will have an unprotected society. Let more people know about the Child Helpline and help them in their good cause.


Written by Priyanka Varma

August 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm