Vicky’s timely rescue at Ghaziabad railway station
On a warm afternoon in mid-February, our outreach team spotted 11-year-old Vicky (name changed) at Ghaziabad railway station. Our team figured that Vicky had lost his way and accordingly took him to the Child Assistance Booth. At the booth, Vicky was provided with refreshments and other basic needs to make him comfortable. Followed by his rescue, our team proceeded with understanding his story.
Counselling helps Vicky share his story with RCI
Vicky was well behaved and sensitive, but he was also scared and sad. Our team, adeptly, made him feel safe in their presence and eased him into sharing his background information. Upon asking for his basic details, which included his address and the contact numbers of his family members, he shared that he was from Nepal. His father and mother had both remarried. He lived with his father, brother and stepmother. His stepmother used to beat up his brother and him; hence, both of them ran away from home and reached Ghaziabad. Vicky also shared that he was forced to discontinue schooling due to a lack of basic amenities and his family’s pressure.
After getting his medical examination conducted, Vicky was moved to an open shelter for children for further restoration. At the open shelter, a counsellor counselled Vicky once more. At their first interaction, Vicky said, “Main Nepal ka rehne wala hu. Mere mummy aur papa ne dusri shadi karli hai. Meri dusri mummy mujhe bahut maarti hai islie main or mera bhai ghar se bhaag aae” – “I am from Nepal. Both my parents have remarried. My stepmother would beat me up a lot, which is why my brother and I ran away from home.”
He further stated,“Bhaagte time main aur mera bhai bicchad gae. Wo kho gaya, pata nahi kaha hoga wo, kaisa hoga. Mujhe usse dhundna hai or wapis Nepal jana hai” – “While running away, I got separated from my brother. He got lost; I keep thinking where he must be and how he must be. I want to find him and return to Nepal.”
It must be noted that while he was lost, Vicky stayed at multiple stations and managed to survive by begging.
During the counselling sessions, Vicky spoke about his ambition to become a doctor “Main padh likh kar doctor banna chahta hu” -“I want to become a doctor”.
His time at the shelter helped Vicky cognitively and emotionally
Vicky was stationed at Uday open shelter for nine months. During this time, he was kept engaged in various activities such as literacy sessions, counselling sessions and group sessions. He showed tremendous interest in counselling and art sessions, which was reflected in his 100% attendance in all the sessions. He displayed curiosity in learning new concepts, such as math tricks, and knowing more about the world. One could see him the happiest when pointing at different countries on the globe in his geography class.
Over a period of nine months, Vicky progressed steadily and showed improved cognitive and emotional levels. He developed a greater level of maturity, which was reflected in the way he took care of himself emotionally and physically. He also began to appreciate values such as obedience and respect for his peers and elders. Routine counselling sessions, along with several indoor and outdoor activities, helped Vicky overcome his insecurities, whereby now, he finds himself much happier. He shared that,”Mujhe yaha acha lagta hai. Maine yaha bahut kuch sikha hai. Main ye sab kabhi ni bhulunga aur yaha se jane ke baad bhi aap sab ke touch me rahunga” – “I like it here (open shelter) I learnt so many things here. I will never forget this experience and will stay in touch even after I leave from here”.
Towards the end of his stay at the open shelter, Vicky showed restraint over his anger issues, a deeper interest in education and improved behaviour with his peers. The highlight for our team, though, was his evolved and mature approach at dealing with emotions.
Vicky’s repatriation and reunion with his parents
Since Vicky couldn’t provide pertinent information regarding his parents’ contact details, our team contacted KIN Nepal, a national non-profit organisation based in Nepal. Their team along with our welfare officer secured the contact details of Vicky’s parents. Our team immediately contacted his family and informed them about their child’s whereabouts. Soon, an arrangement was planned by a Child Welfare Officer, with the invaluable help of KIN Nepal, for Vicky’s repatriation to Nepal.
On 20th October 2020, his parents came to receive him at the Nepal-India border along with investigating officers. Both Vicky and his parents were elated to have finally seen each other. His father went on to say, “It is a wonderful movement for us to get our child with help of RCI, KIN Nepal agency”
A follow-up was conducted soon after Vicky’s repatriation. The Child Welfare Officer found that he was adjusting well to the environment of his home.
In a recent follow-up, an officer from the CDO unit in Nepal confirmed that Vicky is being connected with Government welfare schemes and being enrolled in an institution to resume his formal education.