Metro-built home puts children back on track

Majority of them attend regular schools; meritorious ones do professional courses   

Children who run away from homes are harder to handle. Authorities say a major focus of their programme is repatriation of such children. DH Photo/ Debanish AchomWhile horrific stories of abuse have been tumbling out of the closet of children’s homes in the Capital, 150 kids living at Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Children Home near Tis Hazari Court are striving to change their destiny.

A majority of them are now attending regular schools and have adapted to their ‘dormitory life’. Some meritorious ones have even enrolled in professional courses.

“Two students are pursuing business administration and two are doing engineering. At least 72 children are attending regular schools, both public and government ones. The rest are getting non-formal education at home,” said Sanjay Dubey, coordinator of the children home.

While 13 kids are studying in Lalibai Public School, one is attending Ramjas School and another student is at a school run by Hope Hall Foundation of America.

“The boy was enrolled on merit. He managed to get a scholarship from the foundation,” Dubey said.

Though the children home was built by DMRC, it has been run by NGO Salaam Baalak Trust since January 2010. Of the 150 inmates between 6 and 17 years old, 50 are orphans and an equal number of children have single parents, most of them labourers or drug abusers.

The rest of the children have both parents, but they were rescued after they ran from their homes and landed in the wrong company.

“I am happy here as the school is better than the one in my village,” said seven-year-old Jeevan, who is from Nepal.

The children home officials say they want to make the kids independent.
The centre has a computer lab where children learn how to use various software and other IT-related skills. Some children who underwent vocational training have already found jobs.

“A few of them who became proficient in multimedia and web designing have got jobs through the National Institute of Information Technology. But since a majority of them are not well-educated, we try to train them for jobs like cook, personal help and waiters. One of the kids is working at a Costa Coffee outlet,” said Dubey.

A total of 12 children got jobs last year while six got jobs this year.

Some kids are also taking art lessons and are associated with dancer and choreographer Astad Deboo. While the home has brought a new ray of hope for kids, authorities say a major focus of their programme is repatriation of children who ran away from their homes.

“Several rescued children are brought here. Since resources are limited, we give attention to those who need it the most. Children who ran away from their homes over petty issues are persuaded to return over a period of time. If they agree and we are sure that they have a better future, they are reunited with their families,” said Dubey.

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