Raj was only eight when three tragedies struck his family. His mother fell seriously ill an uncle was killed by local gang lords and his father, unable to handle this stress lost his mental balance. Soon he lost his job as well. Raj is the oldest of six siblings and despite his age had no choice but to start working in Mumbai’s dumping ground in Govandi as a ragpicker. Physical injury, threat, violence and illness became routine. But the money he earned kept his house running and paid for medical treatment of both his parents.
After working on the dumping ground for more than five years. Pratham, an NGO offered him a class he could do while working. Aangan case workers met Raj and encouraged him to pursue his educational goals. He entered Aangan’s Life Plan contest, an activity where vulnerable children are coached develop up a plan (highlighting educational/vocational goals. They are mentored and supported to implement these. Raj won Aangan's Life Plan Contest and a scholarship for a computer course, typing and English speaking. He also grew into a peer leader in our Chauraha Program, which reaches boys who engage in dangerous work or risky behavior. Raj helps Aangan find and inspire boys who have struggles similar to himself.
Recently he was finally able to stop working in the dumping ground and his father started earning again. Now at sixteen, he starts the day at his computer and typing classes, then attends formal school (7th standard) in the afternoon and tuitions in the evening. He is chasing his dream to become a computer specialist with dedication and an absolute impressive will.
As part of Aangan’s activities in our Youth Centers in slum areas of Mumbai the film making of “Jaan, Shaan, Imaan”was initiated. The discussion of cases of boys in Observation Homes got children thinking and scripting around these themes with Aangan team and theatre actor Pramod Pathak. Sutur, one of the main characters of the films spoke with Pramod about how the film making impacted him. read more
Before Project Shakti, Nausheen was very shy, hesitant and was, for most part, not allowed outside the house. Through Shakti, she gained confidence and was a driving force in the project of bringing drop-out kids back to school in Govandi. Read about how she slowly developed the ability to make her voice heard both by her family and within her community. read more
Samira dropped out of school due to family pressure at the age of 13. Shakti sessions on relationships and negotiation gave her the confidence to talk to her father about her decision to go back to school. The biggest change post Shakti: She returned to school, despite her father’s disapproval, backed by her mother and Shakti mates. Now she has finished school and a jewellery-designing course. As a Shakti peer leader, she runs Shakti groups in her community. read more
Ostracized from the community after her father contracted leprosy, Punam and her family were forced to turn to begging to support themselves. Read about this brave teenager’s struggle with physical and sexual abuse, her return to education and her determination to avoid the pitfalls of child marriage after attending Shakti sessions.
This Chauraha boy’s biggest obstacle was perhaps the unsupportive attitude of his mother. Read about how Sanjay, formerly involved in petty theft, has improved the relationship with his family by leap and bound with the help of the individual mentoring of an Aangan social worker. Today he is working at a Xerox Center and greatly improved the relationship to his mother. read more
At the age of 10 Ranjit’s parents had forced him to drop out of school to earn money selling balloons at traffic junctions with peers. Soon they felt into stealing or shoplifting. One day he was arrested. Police referred him to Aangan's Youth Center, where he participated in all its activities and took a lot of initiative. Within months he was selected for a scholarship to hold cricket tournaments for young boys like himself combining sports and sessions on life skills. Today he makes a living from working in an auto repair workshop and sets an example for other youths. read more
Living at the mercy of the streets, 14-year-old Dilip stole to support his drug habit. With the help of Aangan’s Chauraha Project, this previously aimless boy went back to school, became a part of a hockey team and is on his way to realizing his goals. Read about how this former drug addict turned his life around. read more