Say No To Child Labour And Yes To Child Education

Name: Gokula Madhu
Age: 11 years
Mother’s Name –Mallamma
Father’s Name-Maddialetti

WINS Staff saw a young boy of 11 years, sitting alone in the train, when they were traveling to WINS office at Tirupati. The boy looked very sad, and was standing near the door of the compartment. When enquired he informed that his name was Madhu. WINS staff were surprised as there were no elders around him. lowly and softly theboy said he was going to Tirupati. Then they asked with whom he is living in Tirupati? “I have none in Tirupati”, he said. “Did you eat anything?” they enquired kindly. He said “I have not eaten even last night”, he mumbled. They gave some fruits which they had with them. When the train started moving, they asked him which is his native place and found he was from Kurnool. “Why are you traveling alone” was their next question.

Then they took the pains to explain how children can be trafficked for begging, organ transplant, bonded labour and for servitude. Little later they asked him whether he did not wish to stay with his parents. Upon assuring that he doesn’t have to be scared, he was at ease and narrated his tale.

“I lost my mother five years back, I have four elder brothers. Out of them three got married and live in their own house. My father also remarried recently. None of the elders count me as one of their family members. My third brother is working and gives the money to our father. If I refuse to go along with him, my father beats me and never feeds me, and I ran away from home. At the Tenali railway station, a group of street boys sent me to a street child home called Bala Tejassu. Since, I could not make any friends there, I left the place to find some friends and work and now I am in this train.” 

WINS staff explained to him that he will not be given any jobs, as he is still young.And even if anyone employs children, they will have to undergo punishment. While this conversation with the boy was going on there were college students who came near and said the ticket examiner in the train beat him hard as he had traveled without a train ticket. When asked whether it was true the boy immediately broke down. Little later, he said he had studied up to fifth standard. WINS Staff informed him that “If you are going to roam around you will be caught by Police and branded as thief”. 

The boy was given an idea that he can be enrolled in a residential school, where he can have friendly environment and the elders will be kind to him. “Only if you agree to go to school, we can put you in a school” the staff told him. At this point, the college students also pitched in to say that please take the boy and do something for him. Ticket Collector had hit him so bad that if you allow him to continue to wander,he will become a vagabond. The boy’s opinion was sought again about going to school. 

Madhu came to WINS office and was present during a meeting. The Project Manager spoke to him at length. He felt comfortable in WINS’ office. The staff were sympathetic towards the boy. 

First the Kodur police station was informed, as they have a system to record missing children. Police officer asked for details and then he was prepared to send him to the Bridge school (A Non formal friendly residential school). Madhu was told he will be given good food, good clothes to wear, good teachers to teach and they will not be imposing in nature, and he can concentrate on studies. Madhu was thrilled. 

WINS staff went to the institution to see him after a week and he was well and happy. He happily showed the new dresses he has got, and also said he liked the food that is served to him. Teachers were met, they were also happy about him.They have promised Madhu to take him to his village when he wants to visit and he need not flee from hostel and he seems to trust his word. Now, WINS’ staff get to see Madhu as a happy child.