STORIES OF STREET CHILDREN
In Good Shepherd Homes we hear a lot of stories of how street children survive. Here are a few of those stories.
Pappu ran away from home to escape his drunken father. He travelled ticket-less in a train only to find himself thrown out by the ticket collector at the Mumbai station. Seeing the hordes of people pushing and pulling to fit into the trains, Pappu became scared. He had never seen so many people in his life. He spent the first few days at the railway platform, hungry and scared. Gradually he started begging to be able to survive. Soon he got in touch with other street kids, who taught him the art of street survival. It has been 7 years now that Pappu has been living on Mumbai’s streets. He has learnt a lot in a short time.
Hear the amazing true story of Anil. This story is very typical of how children end up on the road.
'One day there was a fight at home, and my mom picked up a knife and threatened my dad. In the end, he picked up an axe. The neighbours finally stopped the fight, and in the early morning, mom packed up her things and left the house.
We as kids joined mother in her new place. Then a stranger came in. She said: 'This is now your daddy' But I said: 'This man is not my father'. Because I would not call him dad, my mother beat me very much. One day, she gave me 50 rupees for an errand. and I ran back to my real father.
But when I came to his house, all the neighbours said ‘Your father is dead’. I cried and cried.
A few days later, I met my mother. I said 'mother, let me come back with you', but she said 'From today, you’re not my son. as far as I’m concerned you’re dead'. My step father warned the police and said: 'When you find that boy, teach him a lesson!'
On a train, the cops caught me and beat me with a stick. I fell backward out of the running train, and was taken to hospital with injuries. I kept thinking of my father. I went to his grave site to ask him for forgiveness. I said 'Please dad, forgive me for not being there for you!’
Then I started to sell water bottles. I would sleep at the train station. I started to use drugs. That’s how I still live now. In the future I want to leave all these things behind'.
Vidya is one of the girls in Good Shepherd Homes. Read her amazing story:
Vidya and her sister Komal come from a city in India called Pune. Their neighbourhood is famous for a local liquor which is brewed illegally in the homes of people, and sold in the slums. Many of the people in the neighbourhood drink far too much alcohol.
Vidya remembers: 'My dad taught my mother to drink. She was a great mom when she was sober. In the beginning, when life was not so bad, my sister and me attended school. But soon my mother started to drink heavily. We had to stop going to school. My mother stopped working or doing any house work. She even stopped cooking. She began to sell every piece of furniture and vessel in our small home'.
'Many nights she would be lying drunk somewhere in the neighbourhood, and we would have to carry her back home. Me and my sister were just 4 and 5 years old. Sometimes my grand mother would visit and bring us food'.
'Komal and myself would be away from home for days, begging for food, and sleeping in any place in the open we thought was safe. If we returned home, Mom would get very angry and beat me up. I was afraid to even come back'.
Vidya and her sister Komal would also board long distance trains and travel many hundreds of miles, singing to train passengers in their compartments. To keep the beat of the song, they would click two pebbles together. Sometimes they would get some food, and at other times people would give them small change.
Finally Vidya’s mother died from liver failure. 6 year old Vidya had to take care of her little sister and her small brother Vicky.
Soon after Vidya’s mother’s death, a staff member from Good Shepherd Homes heard about Vidya and her sister. A few weeks later, the girls joined one of the groups in the home. Vidya: 'Soon I made great friends and my house parent Gauri took such great care of me.'