A Nepali youth is reunited with family after memory loss and living on the streets

As Suraj Dangal stands next to his elder brother Sanjeeb (27), from Nepal, there is a sense of homecoming after nine years of compounded fears. It is hard to believe that the clean shaven, healthy Sanjeeb was found one and a half years ago by the side of a road as a sordid wanderer with shaggy hair and overgrown beard.

His nine-year journey remains a haze. After attending the first day of hotel management training in Delhi, he ran away on the second day. “I just didn’t it like there,” he says nervously.

From there, he remembers boarding a train, but is unclear if he made his way to city directly or landed here after numerous stops. He doesn’t even know how he survived nearly seven years out on the roads. “I visited the fish market (near Bunder),” is the only thing he says with some certainty.

During this time, his family – father Om Prasad who runs a tea business, mother Devi and two siblings who stay in Sundarpura, Morang District, Nepal – searched for him frantically. “We even filed a police complaint to trace him. Every time someone left for Delhi from our town, we would inform him to keep an eye out for Sanjeeb,” said Mr. Suraj, who helps his father run the business.

Eventually, volunteers from the Snehalaya Charitable Trust found him collapsed by the side of the road at Talapady. Joseph Crasta, founder of the Trust, attributes Mr. Sanjeeb’s nebulous memory to “shock” arising from, perhaps, mistreatment by those who either beat him or those who tried to shoo him away from their property.

After treatment, he was taken to the Old Age Home run by the Trust at Thumminadu, Manjeshwar. However, it was only after a year that he regained bits and pieces of his memory to inform Mr. Crasta where his family resided.

On Tuesday, his brother and uncle arrived at the Home, and the family left for Nepal on Wednesday.

Sheltering destitutes

Over 25 persons, from across the country, are provided shelter by the Trust. Most of them, like Sunatu from Jharkhand, were found in deplorable conditions by the road. After suffering fits, Sunatu fell off a moving train. He was found without clothes and with deep festering gashes on his body.

Scraping donations, Mr. Crasta, who was an autorickshaw driver in the city, founded the home for those found in destitute conditions. After treatment, the family of the person is traced.

Apart from seeking donors to meet the monthly expenditures of over Rs. 1 lakh, the Trust is also looking for funds to construct a bigger 4,000-square-feet complex in Manjeshwar nearby.

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