Estranged from family after his mother got married to another man, Pappu, a 16 year old boy from Guwahati, fled his home and disembarked at New Delhi railway station last year. The frustrated boy found himself as a misfit in his family as nobody was there to take care of him. He was running away with a friend who was later found missing mysteriously. After one year of exile, he is now returning back to his father’s beside. He wants to continue his schooling. Moreover, he is very happy now. Pappu is one among eight minor children, all of them belonging to different districts of Assam, who set off their journey back home on December 20, 2015 under an initiative of My Home India—‘Sapno Se Apno Tak’.
My Home India is an NGO working to bridge the gap between the people from the north-east parts of the country and the rest of the country. The organisation, recently completed its 10 years of service, is working towards two major goals. One is the welfare of the people from the north-east parts of Bharat who are living in the rest of country. The other is Sapno Se Apno Tak Programme, a programme started in 2013, under which the Children Homes are working for minor children who are kept on account of being caught as child labours or runaways from homes. Out of total eight children, aged between 12 and 16, four children were missing from their home and the rest of the four were caught as child labours. They were given proper counseling according to the advice of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and now going to rejoin their families, said Vinay Pandey, General Secretary of My Home India.
Of all, the case was of Sukhali (12), the youngest in the batch who was found missing in 2014, was a tough raw to hoe, said a volunteer of My Home India to Organiser. Unlike others, he was unable to identify his village. All he knew was he was from Assam. So the boy was sent to Assam where the local volunteers of the Organisation had to trace his village in the light of very limited information.
The founder of My Home India Shri Sunil Deodhar was present at New Delhi Railway Station to send off the children. Speaking to Organiser, he said, “So far, we have reunited more than 650 children with their families. Some of these eight children were living in Children Home for the last 2 years. When Volunteers of My Home India got to know about them they started interacting with them and collected information to trace their families.”
“Majority of these children are either orphans or having single parent or with two parents—either of them poor or disabled or having extramarital affairs—or from criminal backgrounds,” he added. The story of Raju, another boy of 15 years, is a case in the point. On being asked why he left his home, he narrated his story very poignantly. He left his home after persistent tussle with his brother. He used to beat Raju brutally. Sometimes, his mother would also join with his brother. He recalled the excruciating torments which he underwent in those days; he was served with no food for many days. The incident alienated him from his family that ultimately ended up in his runaway. Deliberately or not, he got in a train which dropped him at New Delhi railway station. Finding him wandering at the station without a single penny in hands, someone took him to an orphanage. When his family was appraised with his whereabouts by My Home India, they wholeheartedly welcomed him back to home. They may have been regretting for their deeds. Now he too is remorseful, and says, he is eagerly waiting to join his family.
Six volunteers of My Home India and one representative of CWC were sent to escort the children up to Guwahati via Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express. Shri Sunil Deodhar expressed his gratitude to Railway Ministry, CWC and Women and Child Department of Delhi Government for the support and cooperation they extended to the initiative.
Ganesh Krishnan R