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My Life, Mere Faisle Program: Raju

“My life, mere faisle is an intervention designed and implemented by Pravah and its partners since 2015.

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 in catering services three to four times a month. Only then he is able to pay his school fee. He cannot afford tuitions so he takes help of resources available online and explores various issues as much as possible.

He empathizes with others and despite his limitation, helps people as much as he can. For instance, he shared how he helped his friend Vikas and Sunil. He got a call from his friend Vikas on at 11 o’clock at night asking for help as they had been held captive by some people at the Dadar Railway Station and were demanding a ransom. Soon the phone got disconnected and Raju ran to inform Vikas’ and Sunil’s parents. Both their parents’ response was shocking. None of them was worried about their children. Vikas’ parents even said that he was dead to them.

Unlike their families, family, Raju stood by his friends and called the Child Help Care Centre in Dulhipur, Uttar Pradesh reported the incident to them. Two days after that, he got a call from Borstal in Mumbai. He was informed that both had been rescued but someone will have to come with their original documents for identification as both of them were still juvenile Raju contacted Vikas’ elder brother and he agreed to come along.

He somehow arranged for the 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 and enabling them to become aware of their rights and exercise those rights. “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 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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