Success Stories

Throughout the years Don Bosco Veedu has had numerous amounts of success stories in different cases relating to children and families.

Asvin and His Mother

Lakshmi (given name) has been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (ama vatham) for the past seven years. It takes her 10 painful minutes to walk 10 feet. Husband left her many years ago and she has a son named Asvin (given name) who is now studying in plus one. They do not have any other relatives to take care of them. Asvin is the cook at home after school. He is also the bread winner when he is off his school hours. Lakshmi is helped by a neighbor auto driver to travel for begging, the only job she is able to do, the money from which is insufficient to meet the daily needs and send Asvin to school. When Asvin stopped schooling and started accompanying his mother for begging some neighbours informed Don Bosco about the plight of the child.

After some search, we located some generous persons to help Asvin and now he is back to School and his mother is extremely happy that her son is back to school again.

We at Don Bosco Nivas identify children like Asvin and network with socially responsible people to provide them support to restructure their lives which otherwise would be nipped in the bud and end meaninglessly. Help for education is helping such children to stand on their feet and support their family for the future.

Trivandrum Rid Of An Evil

On the International anti child labour Day (12th June) Trivandrum District has been declared as a child labour-free district. Don Bosco Veedu Society had been networking with the Labour Department, District administration, the Police Department, Social Welfare Department and CHILDLINE to rid the Trivandrum district of the evil of child labour as early as 1993. Years of efforts have been rewarded on 12th June, 2013 when the Additional District Magistrate of Trivandrum District, Shri. V. R. Vinod proclaimed the District as child labour free district on behalf of the DC of the district Shri. K. N Satheesh.

The function was held at Government Upper Primary School Vellarada, Trivandrum. The function began at 3. 30 pm. The President of the function, the Panchyat President of Vellarada, Shri. C. Ashok Kumar, the Panchayat Standing Committee chairman, Shri. Mangal Das, Shri. P. Sugathan, the District Labor Officer, the District Coordinator of CHILDLINE, Shri. Maneesh, the School authorities, parents and children were present at the function.

The Director of Don Bosco Veedu Society, Fr. P. D Thomas welcomed the gathering and enumerated the efforts of the Society and other stake holders in eradicating child labour from the district of Trivandrum. He maintained that the declaration would not mean that there will be no more child labourers reaching in the district of Trivandrum but that there would be a system in place to care for the children who would otherwise lose their childhood and a better education and end up in the vicious circle of poverty-child-labour-poverty. It also means that each citizen of the district is bound to act in favour of the child, ready to rescue and protect children from child labour. He welcomed all the participants to the joyful occasion of the declaration.

In the presidential address the panchayat president promised that he will take necessary actions to see that his panchayat is made into a child friendly panchayat. The ADM of the district declared the district as a child labour free district. He also lit the lamp and inaugurated the function. In his speech he appreciated the efforts of the NGOs and Government machinery for the incessant work to make the district child labour free. He exhorted the children to stand up for themselves and be ready to take care of their friends who need assistance to a dignified life and good education.

The declaration was followed by a pledge to act in favour of child labourers. All other dignitaries also appreciated the efforts of CHILDLINE to create a child friendly district where the rights of children are respected. The function ended with words of gratitude by the District Labour Officer.

An exhibition on the work of Don Bosco in the past years to save children from child labour preceded the declaration function. As part of the Anti-child labour day we had also send an SMS on the anti child labour message across all the BSNL mobile users across Kerala with the help of the BSNL state level officials. A press conference on anti child labour day and talks on All India Radio were also done to spread knowledge on anti-child Labour Day.

Five Children and their Mother on the Street

On 25th April one concerned person called to our helpline and informed that there were four children wandering on the streets with a lady and that she had sold the smallest child. Our ever alert team immediately rushed to the spot but the effort was in vein because they had disappeared. One week later another informer tipped us off that he found some children with a lady. This time our team went prepared having informed the police. Four children and the lady were brought to CHILDLINE office. After inquiry we found that the lady taking the children around the streets was their grandmother. She informed us that her daughter Sindhu (Given Name) was a sex worker. She said that the fifth child was with Sindhu. She had given the child to a person to look after when she wandered the streets.

We arranged shelter for all four children in shelter homes for care and rehabilitation of the children through the Child Welfare Committee of the District. In the next week, Sindhu called to our helpline and sought permission to see her children, so our staff asked her to come over to CHILDLINE office with her youngest child. She brought her child and our staff talked to her for a length of time. She revealed that she was abused by a man at the age of 12 for the first time. Then she had a live in relation with different people and mothered all the children from different people. She was carrying the small child with her wherever she went.
We counseled Sindhu and she expressed willingness to surrender her small child and we arranged a home for the child. Sindhu also wanted to return from her deviant ways and we found a job for her and she wants now to live for her children.

We find that after over 23 years of our efforts there is a great awareness among the general public to the issues facing children. The very fact that people immediately call up to our helpline when they find children in distress is a positive impact of our incessant efforts to restore child rights.

Guiding light

Behavioral Issues in children are fairly common and are rectified as they grow older and more sensible. But a very important step in this process is identifying and addressing these undesirable traits, which the adults have to be on the lookout for. One such incident, duly identified by a reputed school in the district was reported to Childline Thiruvananthapuram. A 7 year old girl, was exhibiting questionable behavior, and was seen having talks unsuitable for her young age. Acting upon the same, when the Childline team reached the school, they were greeted with the familiar face of Saaya. About two years before the reported incident, Saaya’s grandmother had reached out to Childline reporting the girl’s mother’s death, which was believed to have been committed by her father. Although, she stated how that wasn’t the case and explained how she wished to take responsibility of the child’s custody but relatives from her mother’s side were demanding for the same. The grandmother was deemed fit for the child’s safe upbringing by Childline and the child was handed over to the grandmother after the completion of the legal proceedings with the Child Welfare Committee. Subsequent counseling sessions with the girl proved otherwise, the girl was subject to abuse by the grandmother’s second husband and his friends who often used to come over to their house and get drunk. The grandmother’s house invariably was seen unsafe for the child, she was shifted with to Hindu Mahila Mandiram at Panchavadi after she was rescued by the Childline team right from the school. There, she were to be greeted by good education, a safe social environment but most importantly a life free of abuse. But what found her was something more wholesome. Chirag and his wife were waiting with open hands and hearts since 15 years, for a child that never came along. They were trying in all ways they could for a child they could call their own and had kept aside a part of them, laden with love. Adoption seemed to be the last resort but they were continually let down by it as years had passed after they had registered but nothing was coming along. That is when they met Saaya. Talk about meant to be’s, through the provision for foster care, they brought home Saaya to light, love and a safe and nurturing environment.

Aman ki aasha

Bloating the country’s map with big black stains even today, are the evils of Child Labor. More often than not, it’s the child’s own family or family members that push them into the vicious cycle of vulnerability, exploitation and abuse. Asha too had one such family. Orphaned at a young age, Asha from Orissa, soon turned into a liability for her two elder brothers. She was sent to a household where she had to do domestic chores in return for money. The money though, was not handed to her; it was paid to her brothers. Disappointing enough in itself, Asha’s story becomes more surprising as she was later trafficked to Kerala by her employer through an agent catering human workforce. Known or unknown to her insensitive brothers, Ashawas now working at a certain someone’s household in Thiruvananthapuram from where she was further sent to his son’s house, where his daughter in law had just delivered a baby and Asha was to help her with household chores and in taking care of the newborn baby. Away from home and family, Ashafound it difficult working in this unknown land for unknown people and requested the family to send her back home. Instead, fearing getting called out by the girl and getting arrested for illegally employing the minor, they locked her up in one of the rooms. Asha escaped from the house and was spotted dazed and lost on the streets by a Samaritan who went on to inform the same to Childline. Informed of the same by Childline, the girl was brought to the local police station following which her statement was taken. The Childline team produced Asha before the Child Welfare Committee and immediate measures were taken to shift her to Hindu Mahila Mandiram at Poojappura. The case was further transferred to the Child Welfare Committee in Orissa and Asha was transported to her home state with police escort.The girl was safely handed over to them who went on to house her at an after care home there.

Ray of Hope

Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950 provides that, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” It also includes right to live with human dignity, right to livelihood, right to health, right to pollution free air, etc. Right to life is fundamental to our very existence without which we cannot live as human beings and includes all those aspects of life, which go to make a man’s life meaningful, complete, and worth living. But there are many families in Kerala who are trapped in the never-ending viscous of poverty and vulnerability. They are the most down-trodden vulnerable sections of the society. It is very important to identify and bring them up from the pit of penury. One such family is the family of a five year old girl named Parvathy*. The family, consisting of Parvathy and her parents, were living in an Auto Drivers rickshaw after they were thrown out of their relatives’ house. The family was under the vicious cycle of poverty. The father sold lotteries for living. The mother was unemployed. Parvathy couldn’t attend schooling due to financial restrictions.  The family was struggling to make their ends meet. The plight of this family was brought into the attention of media by the Childline. A Childline staff presented the child and her mother to CWC from where they were shifted to SNEHITHA for providing them a temporary shelter home. Various contributors came forward for providing the family with a stable house. Red F.M, a radio station in Trivandrum, helped the family in securing a rented house in Trivandrum. After receiving the receipt of the rent from her father, Parvathy* and her mother was restored to her father.  Holy Angels Convent School, Trivandrum took responsibility for providing free education to Parvathy*. Her parents were given a job in a nearby restaurant. Now, they lead a healthy and content life. The family came to the regional Childline office to extend their gratitude.

*names changed

Ray of Sunshine

Medical expenses have sky-rocketed in recent times. A person belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) is not able to afford his medical expenses. He ends up foregoing his medical treatment. One such incident is the case of Suresh*, a 5-year-old boy, suffering from chronic tumour in his brain and frequent seizures. Due to his frequent seizures, he had lots of bruises all over his body. He lives with his grandparents in West Bengal. His mother had passed away. His father is working in Thrissur district of Kerala. Whenever there is adequate amount of money, his father will take him to Sree Chitra Hospitals, Trivandrum for his treatment. During one such visit, the doctor instructed the father to take an MRI scan of Suresh*’s head. But his father was unable to do so due to lack of money. So he asked an acquaintance for some money. Till the money reaches him after two days, he had to stay somewhere. But since he didn’t have money for staying in a hotel or a lodge, he and Suresh* slept in and around bus stops. The Police noticed Suresh*’s condition and informed CHILDLINE. CHILDLINE rescued Suresh* and was given shelter at Child Welfare Council (CWC) for treatment and rehabilitation. He was provided with free check-ups and treatment in Sree Chitra Hospitals, Trivandrum. After for further treatment and medication, Suresh* was sent to Agape, a shelter home in Kollam. Suresh has shown considerable improvement ever since. Suresh*’s father was provided with a better employment opportunity.

Transforming Future

There are many harmful and disturbing effects of Smartphone dependence. Cell phone addiction, sometimes referred to as problematic mobile phone use, is a behavioural addiction thought to be similar to that of an InternetgamblingShop Ownersping, or video game addiction and leads to severe impairment or distress in one’s life. One such incident is the case of Ramesh*, a 14-year-old boy, whose body and mind was possessed by an evil called smartphone addiction. The family consists of Ramesh*, his mother, his elder brother and his younger sister. His father had passed away. The family’s sole bread-earners were Ramesh*’s mother and brother. But due to some mental illness, his mother had to stop working. For 1½ months, Ramesh* didn’t attend his school. Suspicious, his teacher notified Childline about his absence. Childline rescued him and brought him to the temporary shelter home in Don Bosco Nivas, Trivandrum. Ramesh had violent behavioural tendencies and couldn’t stay away from his smart phone even for a second. He was immediately admitted to Mental Health Centre, Trivandrum and he was administered proper medications. Now, his mental condition is gradually becoming stable. His mother was also admitted to the Mental Health Centre, Trivandrum for the treatment her mental illness. Mental Health Centre, Trivandrum is providing the treatment of Ramesh* and his mother free of cost.

*names changed

Helping Hand

Children are the future of the nation. They are, in fact, the foundation on which a strong, vibrant and dynamic India shall be built. Article 21(A) of the Constitution of India states that “the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such a manner as the state may, by law determine.” But in many states like Bihar and Jharkhand, children are deprived of their right to education due to poverty and illiteracy. There are instances where children from these states migrate to other states in pursuit of education &;or work. One such incident happened in Trivandrum. Three boys from Bihar and six boys from Jharkhand were brought to a “Madrasa” (an Islamic educational institution) in Trivandrum by an “Usthad” (Islamic religious preacher) who claimed to be their relative. They were brought here for giving them formal education, but instead they were given Madrasa education and also the institution providing the Madrasa education was not registered under JJ Act. The institution violated the Childrenright to free education. Moreover, the institution forced the boys to follow strict and outdated rules and regulation, thus violating their right to freedom. One of the boys (Sulaiman*) escaped from the Madrasa due to stringent and overpowering rules of the institution. He was caught by Vattapara Police and the boy was brought to the Don Bosco Nivas Open shelter home where he was given temporary shelter. On counselling the boy revealed the details of the Madrasa and how he ended up there. On further investigation, it was understood that there were nine other boys in the Madrasa. On enquiry, it was found that they were not provided formal schooling and the institution has no provision to keep immigrant children from other states of India. CHILDLINE and the Police submitted the rescue reports and counselling reports to CWC, as per which CWC ordered DCPO to rescue the nine boys in the Madrasa. DCPO and Childline rescued the nine boys and were given temporary residence in the shelter home in Don Bosco Nivas, Trivandrum. Sulaiman* was restored to his father via CWC and CWC Trivandrum gave orders to transfer the rest of the nine boys to concerned CWCs from Trivandrum CHILDLINE. The nine boys were accompanied by the Trivandrum CHILDLINE   staff to their concerned CWCs and on the same day restored them with parents.

*names changed

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