A shining example of willpower

P. Sujatha Varma
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Ch. Prabhakar was abandoned when just three days old at Renigunta railway station

Chitikireddy Prabhakar
Chitikireddy Prabhakar

Chitikireddy Prabhakar is richer after his return from Phnom Penh in Cambodia where he was invited to throw light on the plight of torture survivors in India.

As Project Director, Children Leadership Development Association, an extended arm of the city-based NGO Vasavya Mahila Mandali (VMM), the 26-year-old was part of a four-day global meet on torture survivors, put together by the International Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Survivors. It was a platform where delegates from 21 countries spoke of ways to reduce trauma-filled physical and psychological consequences of torture and politically-motivated violence. In his presentation, he illustrated a picture of Indian law enforcing agencies dealing with custodian torture and the plight of orphans and vulnerable children and the political interference that hampered rehabilitation. Recalling his traumatic past, he says he was just three-days-old when he was abandoned at Renigunta railway station and picked up by a Good Samaritan from the railway protection force, who handed him over to a local NGO.

At four, he was shifted to Don Bosco, Secunderabad, from where he ran away and landed in Vijayawada. Living on the platform at the railway station in Vijayawada for a year, he was picked up again by a local NGO, but unable to focus on studies, he dropped out after Class VI and worked in an ice-cream factory before he became a lorry cleaner.

He was spotted by a VMM outreach worker. “They would educate us on health and hygiene and importance of education. I was gradually drawn towards it and soon became a volunteer helping other street children of my age.” Bigger responsibilities came his way and he became the head of a working group identifying migrant youth on city roads and educating and counselling them. Soon he was promoted as Advocacy Officer, working for welfare of sexual health rights of women living with HIV/AIDS, sex workers’ community, MSMs, transgenders and hijras. “The Cambodia meet was an eye-opener. We are lagging behind in implementation of important laws,” he rues.

  • At the global meet, 21 countries speak of ways to reduce trauma filled physical and psychological consequences of torture and politically-motivated violence

  • Prabhakar illustrates a picture of Indian law enforcing agencies dealing with custodian torture and political interference that hampers rehabilitation

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