Movies such as “Slumdog Millionaire” have raised awareness of the plight of street children in India. Some have estimated that as many as 18 million children are living on India’s streets, according to NPR.
These children are vulnerable to exploitation and often become victims of human trafficking, child labor, drug addiction and crime. CFCA’s Hyderabad project has served 350 sponsored children who formerly lived on the streets and now reside in special housing. Here are a few of their stories.
I donít know anything about my father. He died when I was a child. My mother died of cancer when I was in first grade.
My neighbors took me to their home. I studied till fourth grade with their help, but they made me do domestic chores like sweeping, cleaning dishes, washing clothes, etc.
One day the house owner took me to a home for street children. I studied there up to 10th grade. For some reason, the home closed down and I was shifted to another home.
After I completed 10th grade, my education almost came to an end. I was asked to take care of the homeís kitchen instead of continuing my studies. It became difficult for me to continue school.
That was when I got CFCA sponsorship. CFCA supported me till I completed my graduation in nursing in March 2011.
As my mother died of cancer and lacked proper medical attention, I chose the medical profession.
I was selected as a nurse in Care Hospitals, Hyderabad, under a contract for two years. After that I plan to do a master’s in nursing sciences and a Ph.D. as well.
Whenever I get time, I help children in the home write good letters and motivate them to achieve their ambitions.
Though I faced many obstacles while pursuing my studies, I completed my graduation with distinction, thanks to CFCA.
Though homes take care of orphaned children, organizations such as CFCA help us realize our dreams. They give importance to education, which is necessary for every growing child.
I have one younger brother and two younger sisters. My father was an alcoholic. He used to beat us and my mother every day.
One day my mother fought with my father and left us, going to her motherís home for good.
Our father then sent us to a construction site to work. With our earnings he used to drink and beat us.
I took my siblings, left home and reached Hyderabad in 2003. I did not have a single rupee.
After reaching Hyderabad, I started searching for jobs and contacted workers on a construction site. They agreed to give me work.
After working there, we moved to an onion market. After market hours, my brother, sisters and I started collecting the leftover onions and selling them in stores.
We used the money we earned to feed ourselves. We slept on pavement at night.
One day, a student who regularly passed by saw and talked to us, then brought us to a home for street children. My brother and I were sponsored through CFCA.
I got into a regular school and completed my schooling. Now I am pursuing my bachelor’s degree in technology. I never dreamt of reaching this stage when I ran away from home.
As I am the only student pursuing graduation from this home, I tutor the children in this home and motivate them to pursue education.
When I was 2, my father died. My mother took good care of my brother, my elder sisters and me.
She was very strict with us. She put us in a school, which was even stricter. Then we were put in another school, which was as strict as the previous one.
We were not able to cope with this treatment, so my brother and I ran away from home. A taxi driver brought us to a home for street children.
We liked this place that had no restrictions. We were given freedom to move, play, study, etc.
I was put in sixth grade in a government school. I was also given sponsorship through CFCA.
I completed 10th grade in 2004 and am pursuing my graduation. CFCA encouraged me to learn dancing, singing, acting and other extracurricular activities. This helped me take part in stage shows, dance competitions, singing, etc.
I also took part in CFCA’s annual celebrations. Last year I worked in a movie with a major role.
The movie’s name is ëGolconda High School.í The movie’s theme is focused on sports as an important part along with studies. Now I am getting more offers to work in movies.
When I recollect the days when I ran away from home, joined the children who lived on the streets, became part of street gangs and often took part in fights, I thank my stars for not falling prey to bad habits.
Now I want to do an MBA course after my graduation and also work in movies.
Whenever I get time, I teach dancing to other people in the home. I also participated in many programs and won lots of appreciation for our home.
CFCA has helped me fulfill my dreams. I thank my sponsors, with whom I am connected through their wonderful letters.