The days of forced child labour and separation from their families are over for 53 children who were rescued in the city last month and are now on their way home to Bihar.
Emotional parents were reunited with the rescued children at the Dongri Children’s Home yesterday
The kids were being sheltered at the Dongri Children’s Home for the past month, after they were rescued from menial jobs in different parts of the city, from Colaba to Dahisar. Despite child labour being banned in India under Article 24 of the Constitution, the children were found engaged in odd jobs like selling tea at roadside stalls.
State Minister for Women & Child Development Vidya Thakur visited the children’s home to meet the 53 kids who were rescued from across the city. Pics/Atul Kamble
After they were rescued, the children were provided all basic necessities, said S A Jadhav, the superintendent of the children’s home. “All basic needs of the 53 children were being taken care of by the children’s home authorities.
They were provided food, clothing and other daily necessities,” he said, adding that the kids were also provided basic education and counselling while they were housed at the shelter. Arrangements were made for the children to make their journey home on the Rajendra Nagar Express train that left Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus at 11.15 pm last night.
Some of the children were reunited with their parents who visited the shelter, but the children will officially be handed over to the child welfare committee in Patna. “We have managed to contact all the families or parents of these children,” said Jadhav, adding that this had been done much quicker than the four-month time frame allotted to the authorities in such cases.
The travel expenses of the children is being supported by the NGO, My Home India, which has been working with the shelter for a year, helping to rescue 180 children so far. Sukesh Jha, the NGO’s national coordinator, told mid-day they had made arrangements for the train tickets and the children’s meals during the journey.
With the help of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, one compartment of the train was booked for the kids, who will reach Patna on Wednesday morning. Once there, another NGO, Pratham, will keep track of the rest of the process.