MISSING CHILDHOODS

“We Are Barely Managing Daily Food During The Crisis.” – The Story Of Chand & His Family

Help Found By A Coincidence

Chand (name changed), a-10-year-old child was rescued at the Ghaziabad railway station on 6th November, 2019 by our outreach team. Out of sheer curiosity, he and his cousins had come down to the station to observe and understand how trains work. Noticing them roaming without any adult supervision, our Child Assistance Booth team invited them over, and asked them for food and water.

In the initial interaction, Chand was unable to provide any details of his whereabouts, but claimed to roughly know his way home. He continued to narrate him home address to the Outreach Workers. With consent of the Government Railway Police (GRP), fortunately, one of our outreach workers was able to trace his house and his family. It was uncovered that Chand lived with his Bua (Paternal Aunt) approximately 10 km away from the Ghaziabad railway station. In conversation with Chand’s aunt, the team discovered that Chand had been living with her ever since his mother passed away.

Struggle For 3 Meals/Day  

Born in 2009, Chand’s family was going through a severe financial crunch at the time. When he turned 6, his parents enrolled him into the local government school, in the neighbourhood. Despite hardships, the family continued to grow, and Chand soon had a sister and two brothers. With 4 children to feed, the income of his father, a daily wage worker and temporary support from Chand’s mother meant that they barely managed to eat 2 meals everyday, worsening their financial standing. The family began to survive of what earnings the parents could bring in each day. Coincidently, Chand’s grandmother and aunt lived in the same home, but maintained their distance from the family.

Paternal Aunt To The Rescue

Narrating how Chand and his siblings came under her care, Chand’s aunt shared that his mother had died during child birth, losing her 5th child too. Being the oldest child, Chand dropped out of school once his mother died. It is then that their aunt came to live with them, as she had lost her husband too, and had no children of her own. After the death of his wife, Chand’s father was completely broken. He stopped working and could no longer take care of his children. He spent most of his time outside his home, while the Grandmother and the Aunt raised his children. To bring in a larger income, Chand’s aunt opened a shop in her home, that provided daily items, taking on the financial burden for the entire family.

Momentary Joy

 On expressing his willingness to go home, Chand was handed over to his aunt on the very same day with the consent of Government Railway Police (GRP). Taking into account the vulnerability of the family, they were included under our family strengthening programme.  After a week, one of the team members made a visit to Chand’s home. With regular family visits and meetings, they convinced them to re-enrol Chand to school. Soon Chand was back to class – 5th grade. Further help by our team member, ensured that Chand’s grandmother was enrolled under the old age pension scheme and his aunt under the widow pension scheme, so that they were better equipped to take care of themselves and the children.

Lockdown & Lost Income

The lockdown in Ghaziabad meant that Chand had to stop going to school, and his aunt’s shop shut down temporarily. Chand’s father lost what little he was earning through his daily wages too. Daily food became an everyday struggle, again. However, our team was quick on their feet and began providing daily groceries and essentials for the family, for 15 days.

Our team is in constant touch with the family, to ensure their needs are met and the children remain protected despite the current crisis.

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