MISSING CHILDHOODS

“I Felt Like I Will Never Be Able To Go Home Again!” – Sumit’s Story

A Life Of Hardships

Sumit (Name Changed) a 14-year-old boy was found by the Railway Children India (RCI) team members at the Delhi Sarai Rohilla Railway Station at around 8 PM on March 21, 2020. The child appeared to be very weak and was untidily dressed. He also looked scared and was hesitant to speak to our team members at the platform. After much effort, our team members were able to connect with the child and were able to convince the child to come along with them to the Child Assistance Booth (CAB).

At the Child Assistance Booth (CAB), he was made to feel comfortable and all his immediate needs such as food and hygiene were taken care of. After the initial conversation, the team understood that  Sumit had left home 2 months ago and his home was back in Nawada District in Bihar. He had run away from home after having a fight with his father. He first went to Gaya and then to Delhi, where he spent some time working at a small hotel. Large crowds in the big city terrified him and made him reconsider his decision to go back home. Sumit continued to share with the team, that he had made several attempts to go back home, but he was still unable to do so. Later, he left the hotel and began working at Mangolpuri Railway station picking garbage to survive.

Lost Hope Restored

While narrating his story he broke down and confessed that he was in dire need of help, saying “I have not a eaten proper meals in the last two months, I have not even able to get proper shelter either. I feel like I will never be able to go home again”. During the last two months, he felt alone with no family and no help. After hearing his story, the team members initiated contact with the Panchayat members of Sumit’s village, as he was unable to recollect his father’s phone number.

Further, social workers at CHD contacted the PRI’s members of Nawada District with the help of Government database.  Within 2 hours the team was able to get in touch with the PRI members who lived in areas around his village, who recognised Sumit! After all the necessary documentation work, the child was handed over to the Child Welfare committee (CWC) to continue the process of reunifying Sumit with his family. With further help from CHILDLINE 1098, Sumit was taken to a child care institute for temporary shelter. Soon, his address was located and the news of him being found was shared with his family.

Long Overdue Reunion

After discovering that his son was safe, Sumit’s father sobbed bitterly and said to our team member “This is a miracle! We lodged a complaint about Sumit going missing several times at the local police station, and taken tried everything we could to find him. If it wasn’t for you, I would never have seen my child again. Thank you for keeping him safe.”

In a recent follow-up with the Child Care Institute, the team learnt that Sumit’s father had tried getting in touch with the institute and had also has multiple conversations with Sumit. With the lockdown being announced at the same time, Sumit remains safe at the Institute, unable to travel back home, until travel bans are lifted.

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