GLOBAL GIVING PROJECT; RESCUING 9000 CHILDREN FROM THE STREETS
Over these 12 months, BOSCO has rescued 5975 vulnerable children, an average of 497 per month, 16 per day. Out of these 5975 children rescued, 2845 were reintegrated back to family.
Child lost and gained
Mahadeva, finds it very hard to recall his early childhood. His narration begins from the days he started working as a bonded labourer. He is unable to recall anything pleasant about his childhood. He does not remember the name of his school or even to describe it. He only remembers how he dropped out of school. It was a Monday. He wanted to see his brother Kush who was working in an estate for a landlord in a village about 4 km away, and then go for a movie. So, instead of going to school, that day, Mahadeva went to meet his brother. When he almost reached the estate, Nanjappa, his present landlord came in his car. He caught Mahadeva and threatened him. He asked Mahadeva if he would go to school or work. Out of fear he said that he would work. Nanjappa, then put him in his car and took him to his estate. That was the end of his schooling and childhood too! Before Mahadeva started working in an estate in Coorg District in Karnataka, he was with his father Soma and mother Maadi (belonging to Yerava Community among the Hindus who spoke the Yerava dialect of Kannada) who lived and worked in another estate. He has two elder brothers Luv (23) and Kush (21) who also worked in an estate. Luv is married and his wife is Kaveri. They have a two-year old daughter Meena who is also with them in the estate on which they work. When he was taken by Nanjappa to his estate for work Mahadeva was studying in Class V. But now, Mahadeva has to work in the fields from 7 in the morning till 5 in the evening. Rs. 100/- a week was his wages. He would do all farm work, including, digging, sowing seeds, weeding grass, plucking coffee and spraying pesticides. He had to live with other boys in a shed constructed by the owner in the field itself. The boys had to cook, by themselves, the rice given by the owner. Two off-days in a week- Monday and Tuesday, but only in name! No extra payment was made for this extra work. But then, there is incentive: a bottle of alcohol! Nanjappa, the landlord, would buy crates of liquor from a shop. These were given to all the workers in the fields. One and a half bottle would go to Mahadeva’s parents every day. Both his brothers were being given one bottle each. Their evenings were spent in taking alcohol, an excellent strategy by the landlords in the area to retain their workers! Mahadeva said that he would find the rainy season the most difficult as he had to manure the coffee plantations and chilly fields. All the work would be washed away in the rain. They had to do it again and again. Sometimes Mahadeva would feel very frustrated and angry; and then, he would throw the manure in the mud instead of the fields! They had to work quite late in the evening during this season; for this he would be given half a bottle of ‘Sarai’ (liquor), extra. Only, he and other boys were not allowed to meet parents! When the coffee would be ripe and ready the task would be to pluck the beans. In a day he would pluck 150 kilograms! Though the landlord promised one rupee per kilogram, he never paid it to them. In this season too he would be given only rupees 250 per week. During Puttajatre, the annual village festival, the male god is taken in procession through the entire village. The celebration goes on for a week. But Mahadeva would be working even during the festival; it made no difference to him! If the boys got fed up of the labour and ran away, they would be found and brought back by the landlord’s men after a heavy thrashing. The ‘interest money’ on them would increase! Mahadeva is not aware of anyone in his family having taken a loan; but against the name of his brother Kush who had left his estate and gone to another estate, the interest accumulated was Rs. 40,000! Mahadeva has no idea how the interest money was being calculated. This continued for 4 years till he turned 15. He had got sick of the work. He would not get help from parents. Because they were helpless themselves and, probably, knew no other work than the age-old form of labour- bonded labour. They would put him back on to the same work. So with his friend Chandra who was working with him in the estate, one day he ran away. Chandra told him that they could work in Bangalore as the wages would be better. There would also be more holidays. They came away directly from the field. Mahadeva did not inform any one. He had brought only his mobile phone with him. They had just a few rupees with them. They got in to some bus and came to the Kempe Gowda (Majestic) Bus Station in Bangalore. Once they reached the Bus Station Chandra warned him that if he was not careful about the mobile it would be stolen. So he kept it very close to his body even when he slept at night in the Station. All-the-same the mobile was stolen. Fortunately, the SIM Card was safe with Chandra as he had removed it before they lay down to sleep!
At about six in the morning, Maltesh Kiran, a BOSCO staff manning the Child Rescue Booth at the Kempe Gowda Bus Station, met him. Mahadeva had wounds on his legs which caused him severe pain as he walked. His dress was muddy and shabby. He told Maltesh that he came looking for work. Maltesh shared about other children at BOSCO and asked him if he too would like to stay with them. Mahadeva agreed and was brought to BOSCO Yuvodaya. Deepa Patel, the counsellor, took Mahadeva into confidence and got from him as much information as possible. A call was made to the landlord’s mobile, the only number Mahadeva knew, to get in touch with his parents. But, he responded saying that the family had gone somewhere, and that he had no idea where they were. Seeing that Mahadeva was interested in learning some skill and working, he was referred to BOSCO Summnhally.
According to Sr. Pauline when he arrived she found in his behaviour clear signs of having been oppressed for years and having accepted a subservient life style. For instance, he would stand in front of the staff with folded hands, bowing to all! He was very submissive. The first responsibility the staff felt towards Mahadeva was to work on his crushed self-esteem. She said that even small gestures like offering a chair for him to sit and talk, as soon as he arrived, made a lot of difference to him. During this time several in-depth counseling sessions given to bring him back to the life. Counselor spent lots of hours in different sessions until he is copied with the day to day life. Gradually his slavish behaviours gave way to gaining confidence. He began to smile as he began to discover a world beyond working in those gloomy estates. It was to Sr. Pauline, the Counsellor at BOSCO Sumanahalli, that he shared that he was addicted to alcohol and how he came to be an addict. He did not share it with anybody else even while in other Centres of BOSCO, feeling that it would be embarrassing. He shared that even now he experienced craving and withdrawal symptoms in the evenings after 5. There is pain in his chest. But at this time the children have other programmes so it is managed as he too would be kept busy. And now, Sr. Pauline realized that it was probably because of the taking of alcohol and the four years of hard labour, that Mahadeva was taking more time to react and respond. He also looked both physically and mentally exhausted. Appropriate interventions are being made to help him to come out of it. After coming to Summanhalli he has started playing football and he says that he enjoys it a lot. He is very happy experiencing and enjoying freedom for the first time in life. He feels that no one deserves the kind of childhood that he has lived. At BOSCO Sumanahalli, Mahadeva, initially, started learning carpentry, but did not find it interesting. Soon he switched over to learning welding. He wants to go back home only when he has completed his training and worked from BOSCO Yuvakendra. If needed he is even ready to stay on for few months extra in order to sharpen his skills. He wants to bring his entire family out of their misery, one day, when he starts earning about Rs. 5000 per month or more!
Over these 9 months BOSCO has rescued a total of 4425 vulnerable children, an average of 490 per month, 15 per day. Out of these 4425 children rescued, 64 %( 2845) of those children were home placed.
CASE STORY OF RAJ
I am Raj ; from Koppal, Karnataka, India. My parents died long back, so it’s just me and my younger brother at home. Since the time I was a young boy, the only desire I had was to study, to gain more knowledge. I saw, the only people who were successful were the ones who had tremendous amount of knowledge. So it was evident, that is the only thing that would get me and my brother out of the clutches of poverty. Back then it was tough, to provide for my brother and myself. I could hardly imagine myself doing what I wanted to. I had no money and no time to live that dream. I was aware that working in Bangalore would definitely pay more. I came to Bangalore with the aim to work in some shop, save up some money and join school. I was on the streets for almost a week. I started working on the Majestic bus stand at a small tea stall. I worked there for almost a month before I met some people on the bus stand. They asked me a lot of questions. They offered me some food and told me they could help me out. I went with them expecting I’d get a better, a high paying job. It turned out to be a shelter home for children like me. There were many more boys of my age and even younger than me. I was provided with all the basic necessities of life. After I got comfortable there, after few days, I was made to talk to a lady every evening, she asked me more questions. Like, where was I from? Why did I come to Bangalore? About my family members, and many more. After keeping me with them for 2 weeks I was transferred to another place where I would study. It was a completely new environment. I felt very uncomfortable there. I decided I wanted quit and to go to Bangalore again. In a few days in Bangalore, and I was once again rescued by the same people. This time I told them I don’t want to be sent to the organization again, and I would rather work in Bangalore. I started working; I worked in Bangalore for a month. After a month I was sent to a school near my village so that I could continue with my studies. Before leaving for school, I was told by the lady there, that if I ever had any problem, I could come to them. She told me, if I ever wanted to continue with higher studies after that school I was always welcome at BOSCO. With full dedication I studied there and returned to BOSCO with the hope that I would be able to study further. I completed my SSC with second class. In March of 2013 I found out that I was suffering from tuberculosis. I told my younger brother, but I made him promise me that he would never tell anyone about it. I was scared but I didn’t want anyone to know about it. Sister Susan took me for a health check up and got to know that I was suffering from TB. I was not treated differently. All the people behaved as they did before. Nothing changed except that I was questioned more. I was asked since when I was aware that I had TB? Why was I reluctant about telling them? I was immediately hospitalized after they got to know from my reports.
“A proactive approach for the creation of a ‘Child Safety Net’ at Bangalore city”
Amount delivered so far$ 6,193
Major activities conducted against what was proposed
After the death of father Thankaraj and mother Vimala , Bharat of only 14 years old had no place to go and no place to call home. Travelling like a vagabond in search of a job to fill his belly, he worked in a bakery for 7 months in hazardous and unfriendly conditions. Unfortunately, orphan Bharat was a victim of a gas cylinder blast. He still did not give up hope and travelled to Bangalore in train in his miserable condition; He continued circling around the hub of the city and was finally contacted by BOSCO staff from the city bus station. Looking untidy, tired and unkempt wearing a white lungi /panche (i.e a lose cloth tied around the waist) and a checked shirt with grime and dust all over, His attire and physical appearance screamed for help. His face had an innocent look but he looked well aware about the big bad world and thus a certain sharpness and nervousness prevailed in his attitude, His eyes however twinkling with hope, big and bright.
His identification mark on the yellow sheets mentioned a gruesome scar on his chest which looked like a painful burn, neglected with lack of attention and care. Initially shy, Bharat eventually opened up to the staff at BOSCO Yuvodaya and showed them his other affected areas i.e. His stomach, his back and his thigh. His thigh had skin which was burnt out to the extent that it had passed the blue and grey stage and was white with numbness. When Bharat got comfortable with the atmosphere he was brought to, and sensed positive vibes, he smiled, laughed and joked around a little.
Bharat was then taken to BOSCO Mane after counseling. For his bad luck, he met with another accident at BOSCO Mane while climbing the stairs. Already in a physically bad condition, the tragic fall made Bharat shiver and he was immediately rushed to Kims Hospital, it was only then the staff at BOSCO discovered about the cylinder blast in the bakery. Bharath continuing his treatment from Kims hospital. BOSCO wishes the best for him, and hopes that he may have a better and brighter future ahead through BOSCO.
Children always crave for love and attention by their parents and when parents fail to match up to these expectations children naturally tend to get misguided. Parental negligence nevertheless hinders a child’s overall development and causes an insecure environment for them at home.
SS, aged 17, was found on the railway station in a tattered and miserable condition, hails from Tamil Nadu but has been in Bangalore most of his life was brought to BOSCO Yuvodaya. At the initial counseling sessions, he refused to speak much about his family background, but as time passed by he slowly started sharing his experiences.
During the counselling sessions, it was found that, at a very young age his mother ran away leaving him behind with his father to care of everything. When he was twelve years old, his father got married again, to a woman with two children. His step mother soon began causing him a lot of problems which in turn made his father to stop caring about him that created an unhappy environment for him at home.
Due to lack of love and care, SS often began to leave home and roam around the streets with his friends. Influenced and motivated by his peers led him into taking drugs and that caused many behavioural problems, which got him into trouble with the police. Although he received formal education till seventh standard, he preferred to drop out from school, because of the problems that began to rise. Later when he was forced to do his tenth standard he was unable to cope up because of those missing years of education due to which he was not entitled to do his exams and this provoked him to run away from home.
Every often he would go home and demand for money from his father, if he didn’t receive any he would then beat his father up. He occasionally used to visit his mother, who lives in Tamil Nadu with her new husband and would often move around between mother’s and his father’s house. While the rest of the time he spent traveling around with friends, visiting different cities and working with gangs to help him survive. He had recently been in Kolkata and it was when he arrived back in Bangalore that he met BOSCO staff.
After explaining about his background to the BOSCO counselor, SS gave his father’s contact details. The counselor called up SS’s father to tell him that his son was in and asked him to come and collect him. Unfortunately his father was not interested and said BOSCO should do what they want with him because of the problems he has caused at home. SS’s father has given up on him but BOSCO has provided him with a chance to do something positive in his life by extending their acceptance and support.
All children have the right to grow up in a safe and secure environment and be cared for but when this is not provided they often feel insecure and are forced to run away. Once they leave home they are extremely vulnerable and very easily become victims of various substance abuses and are usually held for illegal activities through no fault of their own.
SS has suffered a lot of hurt and rejection from his parents. Although he has the capacity to physically look after himself, he requires constant support and guidance to help him to move on in his life. He is now referred to BOSCO Yuvakendra, the rehabilitation centre for boys over 14 years and an environment where people care and support him.
STORY OF HAVARI:
Havari was found in Bangalore railway station at the beginning of December. When brought to BOSCO Yuvodaya he spoke with a counsellor and said that his step mother had been beating him and his own mother was not taking care of him. He said that his father and step mother are always arguing and that she doesn’t give them proper food. His father had left the home a few days ago and Havari said he left to look for his father.
Two days later his father and a relative came to collect Havari and the staff spoke to them about him being neglected. His father explained that Havari had not been going to school for the past year and during the day he was roaming around outside. It then emerged that his step mother is actually his mother (for some reason he had hidden this) and on hearing more details about the family situation the counsellor suggested that his mother might have a psychological illness and needs to be taken to the hospital. As it takes time to help resolve these issues, the father and BOSCO staff agreed that it was best for Havari to stay in BOSCO Mane until the situation at home had improved.
Havari received a number of further counselling sessions whilst staying at BOSCO Mane and after a few days had settled in very happily, getting along well with the staff and other boys. He also started to show some interest in studying.
He enjoyed talking to his father on the phone but unfortunately sometimes there were problems with the connection and he got very upset. After a few days of not being able to get through to his father, Havari expressed a keen desire to go home. BOSCO staff then arranged to accompany him home and find his family. He agreed that he would go back to school and BOSCO arranged with the school to accept him. He had dropped out of school over a year ago but the rehabilitation programme at BOSCO motivated him to have an interest in education and encouraged him to do so.
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