My Life, Mere Faisle Program: Raju
This intervention looks at the issue of Early and Child Marriage through the psycho-social approach - enabling young people to take charge of one's lives and decisions.
Raju (named changed), 16 years old, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh
A participant of My Life, Mere Faisle Program, Raju is a 16-year old boy residing in a small village named Fatehpur in Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh. He is a student of 10th standard. His father is unemployed and his mother runs the house by working in a spice factory. Income is meagre and survival tough. Hence, to support his education, Raju works as a part time employee in a catering business. This helps him pay his school fee. Since he cannot afford tuitions, he takes help from resources available online.
He empathizes with others and despite his limitation, helps people as much as he can. Raju shares how he helped his friends Vikas and Sunil when he found out they were in problem when he got a call from his friend Vikas at 11 o’clock at night. They had been held captive by some people at the Dadar Railway Station and were demanding ransom. Soon the phone got disconnected and Raju ran to inform Vikas and Sunil’s parents. Both their parents’ responses were shocking - none of them was worried about their children. Vikas’ parents even said that he was dead to them.
Unlike their families, Raju stood by his friends and called the Child Help Care Centre in Dulhipur, Uttar Pradesh and reported the incident. Two days after that, he got a call from Borstal in Mumbai. He was informed that the boys had been rescued but someone would have to come with their original documents for identification as both of them were still juveniles. Raju contacted Vikas’ elder brother and he agreed to come along.
He managed to arrange for money and reached Borstal with his friends’ documents and photographs for identification and verification and was finally able to bring them back.
This incident transformed Raju. He became passionate about helping others. "Everyone should be aware of what power and rights they have and everyone must try to help others with full capability,” says Raju.
His parents are proud that at such a tender age, Raju has become an aware citizen who is not only aware of his rights but also conscious about his duties. His mother says,"If everyone understands the responsibilities towards society, maximum problems would be solved.”
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