Pintu (Names changed), an 18 year old boy, from a village in Bihar, India lived with his parents, three brothers, uncle and grandmother. Like any other child, Pintu also wanted to be cared and loved, he had a deep desire to study. His poor, illiterate father pushed him to work for hours in the fields look after cattle. If he showed any reluctance, he was abused and beaten. He ended up getting into wrong company and undesirable pastimes like gambling. His father caught him and an ugly altercation ensued. Before he knew what happened, Pintu was pushed out of his home, when he was only ten. With no money or food, he ran for a long time and reached the nearest railway station and jumped into the first train he saw. After what seemed an eternity, the train reached Mumbai. A train companion took Pintu to one of his relatives. Scared and worried, Pintu sensed something fishy in the kindness showered on him. Sure enough, his instincts proved right: he discovered he was to be bonded into slavery! Pintu remembers that he ran again for more than an hour and reached the railway station. This time, he took another train to Old Delhi railway station. Luckily, he was spotted by a peer educator of a non Government Organisation, PCI next morning. He was taken to the PCI Drop-in-Centre, counselled and then moved to the shelter Home.
The Shelter Home is an important part of PCI India’s Orphaned & Vulnerable Children Program which has been able to address the needs of marginalized and disadvantaged 24,000 street children since 2000 with mobile health clinics, street outreach programs, economic empowerment, non-formal education and family re-integration services. The ICANCL group members volunteer in provision of social assistance and health care to these vulnerable children. The Shelter Home is located at Mewat, Haryana is a safe haven providing boys with shelter, nutrition, clothing, health care, psychological support, and access to formal and non-formal education in a supportive rural community. Located in five acres of sylvan land it can house 40 boys up to 18 years. Like a family, the older boys look after the younger ones and all take part in daily chores. The Home provides space for the boys to enjoy outdoor games and physical activities. Pintu was enrolled in local government school and has recently graduated his 12th school leaving board examinations with first division. He is now registered in bachelors in computer degree from a local University. Pintu is thankful for the support from Shri RC Mody, patron ICANCL group, but very few street children are so fortunate to live their dreams!