Early morning on 14th January 2020 our team found 4 children on Bhubaneswar Railway Station, Orissa waiting for the train. Our team decided to go talk to them as they seemed distressed and confused. Initially they were doubtful and weren’t sharing anything, they said “kahiki hayiran karucha amaku akela chadidiya”-“Why are you disturbing us? Please leave us alone.” After a while through continuous interaction with the children, it was found out that a 13-year-old child Biswanath along with his 3 friends had left their home. They further added that Biswanath was yelled at by his mother because he wasn’t studying and when he confronted his friends they too opened up and planned on leaving their homes.

How counselling unravelled details

These children were then taken to the Child Help Desk for further support and during the counselling session, he told us that he stays with his parents and there are 5 members in his family. His father is the only earning member and his mother is a housewife and they were facing a lot of trouble in managing their finances. The counsellor explained, that leaving their homes and lying to their families is was wrong decision and also have put them in trouble. The children after realizing their mistake were then willing to go home and were handed over to their families, after completing the formalities with Child Welfare Community. After which our team was in constant touch with the families and made sure Biswanath was safe and studying well.

The impact of lockdown

During the lockdown when our team reached out to Biswanath’s family just to make sure that everyone is safe and as Biswanath’s family was at a high risk of no income and livelihood, we found out that due to the lockdown his father had no work and they had exhausted their savings. Our team helped them through our family strengthening process and contacted the community organiser of BMC for further support.

One day our team decided to go visit them and found out that there was a shortage of food and supplies and they were facing difficulties in meeting their daily needs, so we provided them with the food supplies that would last for a few weeks’ time. We then found out that due to lockdown his father had lost his job and started working as a labour in a construction site. While working a brick fell on his leg and was undergoing a treatment. After consulting, the doctor said that he has to be operated. We suggested them to get the test and treatments done at Capital Hospital under the scheme NIDAN for free of cost. He then got operated at a private clinic and it was successful. We also found out that Biswanath’s elder brother had cleared his 10th board exams but due to financial issues he didn’t decide anything about further studies so we informed him about various vocational courses provided by the government and provided assistance regarding the same.

In talks with his parents

Biswanath’s mother said “Mu gote samayare bhabuthili je mo paribar e CORONA paristhisti re ujudijiba ebanga mora tinoti pila bhoka upasare hairana hebe,kintu Humara Bachpan – RCI mo paribara pain eka nutan suryadoya pari kama karichhanti tankara ehi nirswathapara sahajogaku ame kebebi bhuliparibuni.Ame pura paibara Bhabuchhu ame eka nohu ama saha RCI ra  pura paribar   achhanti. Tenu mu total RCI team ku Hrudayatatara sahakare Dhanyabad janauachhi” – “Initially we had no hope left as we couldn’t even provide food for our children due to the Corona Virus situation but the RCI team supported us and we’re very grateful to them and will always remember them for their selfless service. We now feel positive and strong because of Humara Bachpan- RCI Team as they were always there for us and thank them whole heartedly for supporting us substantially.” We are still in touch with Biswanath’s family, the follow up process is still going on and Biswanath is studying in standard 9th.

There are thousands of such families that need our help and we’re constantly working to help them during these unprecedented times. Along with providing the supplies our team is also spreading awareness about the COVID-19 situation and all the safety norms which has to be followed.