My Life, Mere Faisle: 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 (name changed), 16 years old, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh

A participant in My Life, Mere Faisle Program, Raju is a 16-year-old boy residing in a small village named Fatehpur in Chandauli, Uttar Pradesh. He is a student in 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 fees. Since he cannot afford tuition, he takes help from resources available online.

He empathises with others and despite his limitations, helps people as much as he can. Raju shares how he helped his friends, Vikas and Sunil when he found out they were in trouble after receiving a call from his friend, Vikas at 11 p.m. 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 minors. 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 their full capability,” says Raju.

His parents are proud that at such a tender age, Raju has become a citizen who is not only aware of his rights but also conscious of his duties. His mother says, “If everyone understands the responsibilities towards society, most problems would be solved.”

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