"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today ..."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Home is where you belong! (A Travelogue)

Barsha with her parents and siblings

Barsha, a ten year old child was rescued by the police of Perumbavoor while she was trying to run away from her uncle’s home together with the Uncle’s three children. Barsha hails from Orissa. She was brought to Kerala (Neriyamangalam) by her maternal uncle who is settled there with his Keralite  wife and three children. The police found the children travelling in a bus.

Barsha was admitted to Valsalya Bhavan on 24th March 2010 at the instruction of the Child Welfare Committee. She is a smart child. She is affectionate. She has been attending Christ King Convent School in Ponnrunny , Wytilla  and is in 1st Standard.  She had a photo album with few photos of her parents and siblings. Her contact telephone number was found in the album. We contacted her parents. They wanted to see the child but did not have money to travel. We assured them that the child would be home placed. Barsha has forgotten her mother tongue and is unable to converse with her parents. Through the help of a navy officer we talked to her parents and got the direction to reach her home town.

The Homelink net work which is dedicated to ensuring the restoration of children back 'home' and assist in tracing lost or missing children, the local unit of which has been functioning from Don Bosco Sneha Bhavan, collected more information about Barsha  and is trying to find a residential school for her in her home town which is supposed to be in Balasore, Orissa. We contacted her parents and made arrangements to send her back home.  On Feb 13th  2011 we (Ms. Beena from  Don Bosco and Sr. Mary from Valsalya Bhavan)  took her home. Our stay and repatriation process were conducted from St. Vincent Convent, Balasore. They helped us a lot. They gave food and accommodation.  Because of their help we could trace Barsha’s home without delay.

When we arrived at Barsha’s home, her parents were overjoyed to welcome us. They were extremely happy to see their daughter. All the neighbours had gathered to witness the event. We put up Barsha with her parents and sibilings for two days. Barsha needs to live with her parents. But the problem is that, there is a child labour case filed against the person who forced the child to work. She is the eye witness to one abuse case . Another thing is that we need to find a place for her to study as her parents cannot afford the expenses. We collected Barsha’s birth certificate from home.

Barsha’s family is very poor. Her father and mother are doing manual labour. She has four siblings. Barsha is the eldest one. So she has to help her family also. Because of that her education may not be given sufficient importance. So we need to find better options and then we can give Barsha to her parents.

We came back from Orrisa and reached Ernakulam on 18th, February 2011. Barsha is very eager to get back to her home. We hope to place her back home in two months with a place for her to stay and attend school.
Linking children back home to the parents and dear ones who lost them is an all important mission of Don Bosco Sneha Bhavan. The smile on the face those lost and found can never be wiped off from memory…

Barsha with neighborhood children

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