Ravichandran practicing welding during his course
International Childcare Trust has been working in partnership with Arunodhaya since 2009, supporting Empowerment of Street and Working Children, a project that protects and promotes the rights of street and working children in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu and prevents young children in remote rural areas leaving home to find exploitative work.
Ravichandran, aged 17, is from Murugabhavanam village in Dindigul district. On reaching Class 9, he dropped out of school when he was 15, wanting to earn money to support his family. When Arunodhaya field staff first came into contact with him, he was working on the streets carrying out menial tasks such as rag picking and street hawking. Having met with him a number of times, slowly building up trust, the team eventually persuaded Ravichandran to return to school, but only on the condition that it was a different school to the previous one.
He was enrolled into a Government Higher Secondary School but after just a few months he dropped out again as he found it extremely difficult to concentrate and stick to the routine. Arunodhaya’s field worker again talked to Ravichandran about what he would like to do and encouraged him to take up a skills training course, if schooling wasn’t for him. He attended the vocational training centre for three days but then left. After a week, he was re-enrolled in a welding course and the teacher worked closely with him to develop his confidence and self-esteem and ensure he continued the training.
Slowly his confidence and outlook started to change and he began showing interest in learning more about welding. He successfully completed the course in 2011 and received a certificate, which he is extremely proud of. He initially joined Sarathy Welding company as a daily wage worker earning Rs100 (£1.33) per day.
Being a quick learner, he soon built his knowledge and skills and was hired by a larger firm, Majura Steel Company, where he is now earning Rs10,000 (£133) per month. With his salary he is supporting his sister through school and has helped his family build a new house. When field staff recently visited his family, his parents were extremely proud of him and expressed their gratitude to Arunodhaya for helping turn his life around.