YOUNG WORLD

There is a Home of hope

REDISCOVERING HAPPINESS: Children at play in the home.   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: K.R. DEEPAK

NIVEDITA GANGULY

The Government Children Home for Boys instils in these children the confidence and resilience to face life.

Eleven-year-old Tarun is still dazed, he is one of the boys who were picked up from the railway station by the police and brought to the Government Children Home for Boys. His is not the story of a countryside boy who ran away from home to experience city life's glamour. He fled from his home in Rajahmundry to escape a life of drudgery and extreme poverty. Raja (name changed) had run away from home after he lost his mother and was repeatedly beaten up by his father. Pushed to the limits by domestic circumstances, the children flee to the nearest railway station to head to an unknown destination. The "runaway children", as they are called, are today queuing up in large numbers in government homes and voluntary organisations.

Seeking shelter

The Government Children Home houses more than 200 boys in the 8-18 age group coming from the districts of East Godavari, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram. Street children and those who are abandoned, orphaned, neglected or abused in their families find home at this place. Being deprived of parental care and protection at an early age has its own consequences. According to D. Surindernath, superintendent of Government Children Home for Boys, violent conditions at home between the parents deprive these children of proper attention at the most impressionable age. "It often results in broken relationships and the lives of the children get destroyed in this crossfire," he added. Once the boys are brought here, they go through a counselling session to build enough confidence among the children to prevent them from running away again. "We do case studies and group studies to judge the aptitude of each child and also try to establish contact with boys' family," said Surindernath.The boys are produced before the Child Welfare Committee, which takes up their responsibilities until they turn 18. After that they are sent to the After Care Home in Hyderabad where they can take shelter as long as they want while earning their own livelihood.The inmates are sent to Trinity Public School for studies while vocational courses like carpentry, tailoring, handicrafts and candle making are taught at the Home, so that the boys can be self-sufficient and work for a living once they are out of the place.Medical facilities are made available within the campus to attend to the health problems of the children. "But for surgeries and other emergency cases, the boys are referred to the Government hospitals in the city," said medical officer, G.V. Narasimha Rao.