On 13th March 2020 our team spotted Yaseen (name changed) a 12-year-old wandering at the Ghaziabad railway station, around 5:00 in the evening. Our team approached him and found out that he was searching for his relative. Our team took him to the Child Assistance Desk and was provided with food and water. He was scared and depressed, asking to go home. After providing assistance our team asked him for further details and he gave us his house address along with the contact number of his family. Yaseen told us that he lives in Dasna Masoori, Ghaziabad with his parents and siblings.

The medical proceedings

After getting to know the basic details of Yaseen we decided that he must be taken to the GRP police station and complete his GD and medical checks. The police denied to take GD as it was late and not possible on that day. We took him to the open shelter for a short night stay and was taken to the police station the very next day. After the completion of GD, Yaseen was sent to the MMG government home for further medical formalities. Once all the formal procedures were completed Yaseen was taken to the CWC Ghaziabad for further assistance and was then referred to the open shelter.

During the counselling session at the open shelter, Yaseen told us that he came to the Ghaziabad railway station to get solvent to use it as a substance abuse. He said, “Didi, main yaha nasha lene aaya tha.” – “Didi, I came here to get substance.” He told the counsellor that he is very close to his mother and his father, an alcoholic and hits him and his mother. He used to come to the railway station to beg so that he can earn and consume the solvent as well. He told us that he came to the railway station so that he can support his family as his father being an alcoholic doesn’t help much. Also told us that he was once suspected of theft but after the police enquiry was found not guilty. He added that his brother was in jail in the case of molestation and eve-teasing.

How life changed at the centre

The child was staying at the Uday open shelter and it had been approximately 5 months. The team had identified Yaseen’s interest in learning computer skills. He didn’t have any basic education so the NFE teacher started teaching him from a scratch. Initially, he was a bit ignorant about learning but with time he developed interest in mathematics and creative skills such as drawing. He then started learning along with other children which helped him develop his social skills as well. He was majorly interested in computer and had developed a good level of computer skills such as Microsoft excel, PowerPoint, Word and also focused on increasing his typing skills in his leisure time. He was provided with regular counselling session during his stay at the open shelter which helped him focus on himself and shape a better future.

Leaving the shelter

In July 2020, he told us that he wants to go back home and so we decided to send him back to his family. When Yaseen’s father came at the open shelter to pick him up he said, “Dhanywad Sir, hum aapki sanstha ke bade abhari hai humare dono bache mill gaye aap ki sanstha bahut acha kaam kr rahe hai.” – “Thank you sir, we are very grateful to you, both our kids are back with us and your team is doing a great work.”

During the family counselling session, the counsellor mentioned that Yaseen has a good potential in learning things and should be put in school for regular studies. His father replied, “haanji madamiji hum bache ka dakhla karenge agar ye padhna chahta hai toh” – “Yes Ma’am, we’ll put him in a school if he is interested to studies.” His father was extremely happy to see Yaseen develop interest in mathematics and computer. The counselLor suggested that if putting him in a regular schooling is not possible then there is an option of open schooling. Yaseen too was happy to see his father, was excited to go back home and he promised us that he won’t run away again.

The Child Welfare Officer conducted the first follow up and learned that Yaseen was staying at home and kept himself engaged with drawing books. The counselLor spoke to Yaseen as well, he said, “sir hum ghar bhaut khush hai, or home ko bhi yaad karte hai” – “Sir, I’m very happy at my place and miss the shelter too.”