Thirteen-year-old Dharmander Kumar ran away from his home in Bihar and arrived at the Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station at Thampanoor here on November 24 seeking, as he said, some sort of labour. He fell ill and had no familiar face to turn to. But fortunately for the boy, he was cared for by the Thiruvananthapuram unit of Childline, national round-the-clock free emergency telephone helpline.

Dharmander was to board the train home along with his father, who arrived here a few days ago, this Sunday, but a serious case of typhoid rendered him weak and incapable of travel.

Director of Thiruvananthapuram Don Bosco Veedu Society and Childline Thomas P.D. told The Hindu that although the boy had recovered, he needed to take rest at least for another week.

Childline first found the boy wandering about the railway station and he was given shelter at the Don Bosco Niwas at Thampanoor. After displaying symptoms of intermittent fever and stomach pain, he was first taken for treatment at the Women and Child Hospital at Thycaud and was then transferred to the Government Medical College here. He was given medicines, after which he was referred to General Hospital for injections. His condition continued to worsen and doctors struggled to identify his ailment even after many tests.

A press release issued by Childline said the boy was taken back to the medical college, where he was admitted to Ward 16, after being diagnosed with typhoid.

Dharmander’s medical expenses were borne by the government, under the Thalolam scheme. This programme was introduced by the Health Department a couple of years ago to offer medical treatment to children from poor families.

While the boy was undergoing treatment, Childline contacted the Majhaulia police station, located in the district of West Champaran, Bihar.

Dharmander’s whereabouts were traced and the news of having found the boy and details of his health condition were passed to his mother, Silkandi Devi. She contacted the boy’s father, Belas Mahatho, who was working in Punjab. Mr. Mahatho left for Thiruvananthapuram and reached the city on December 20.

The father is staying along with a friend here, waiting for Dharmander to recover so that they can go home at the earliest.