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Posted at: Jun 14, 2018, 1:11 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2018, 1:11 AM (IST)

Children’s Home a hope for these kids

Children’s Home a hope for these kids
Boys play at Children’s Home in Bathinda. Tribune photo: Pawan sharma

Nikhila Pant Dhawan

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 13

For about a month Vimal has been staying at the Children’s Home as he has not been able to tell the whereabouts of his parents. Ever since he was identified as a lost child in Bhucho and brought to the home by Sahara NGO activists, the home authorities are finding it hard to get him admitted to aschool.

“He doesn’t talk at all. From whatever little he speaks, we have gathered that he hails either from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar but have not been able to find out the details about his parents. He is also yet to open up to other children,” says caretaker Bhola Singh.

For the 16 boys staying at the Children’s Home, the place is proving to be a home away from home, albeit with better facilities and a hope for a better future. As against the common notion that the arrangement houses only lost children, a majority of children staying here have been left by their own family members.

“Of the 16 boys here, 14 have been dropped by their families for financial or personal reasons. They are in touch with their families and spend their holidays with the family. While 10 boys are studying at Government Senior Secondary School, four are pursuing a diploma in engineering,” Bhola Singh said.

A student of Class VII, Robin Kumar, the boy who has been living here for the past five years now, was dropped by his maternal grandparents after his mother came back to her parental home following her husband’s death. While his grandfather is a tea vendor, his mother began working as a house help at Bareta in Mansa.

“I like to live here. It is a better place to live in than my home. My family doesn’t have enough money to make both ends meet and send me to school as well. Here I get food and clothes and am also going to school. This would not have been possible had I stayed on with my family,” Robin says.

Harjit Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Baljit Singh and Sukhchain Singh have been living here for more than six years now. After studying till Class X, they have now started going to Government Polytechnic College to pursue a diploma in electrical engineering.

“Though we are staying away from our families, there is a hope that we will be able to carve out our own future and then help our families. Apart from going to college, we also get free tuitions from neighbours which is proving to be of great help,” says 16-year-old Sukhchain whose mother stays at Kotbhai village.

Nine-year-old Raju is proving to be another difficult case for the authorities here. He has only been able to tell that his parents are ragpickers and he has a brother and a sister. “Since he talks, we got him admitted to Government Senior Secondary School, Bibiwala village, with other boys. One day he ran away from the school and went to the city railway station. He was brought back by an NGO. We didn’t send him to school after that,” says Bhola Singh.

To make sure that Children’s Home proves to be a home away from home for the boys staying here, the overall charge of the place has been given to District Social Security Officer Navin Gadwal. The government has also arranged for a clerk, cook, pharmacist, counsellor, provision officer, housekeeper, helper, sweeper and a caretaker.

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