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.
Sanjay had always been keen on learning and getting an education. But his problems with reading and writing meant that he could not keep up with his class and subsequently dropped out of school. While he did try looking for work, he ultimately befriended a group of boys notorious for their rowdy behaviour and constant run-ins with the law. Sanjay began to steal, and spend his money on eating out, drinking and watching movies and maintained a lifestyle he couldn’t afford. His crimes caught up with him and he was sent to the Observation Home at Dongri, Mumbai.
I became involved with Sanjay’s case when the police referred him to Aangan. I met Sanjay and his mother soon thereafter. It was clear that she felt no remorse for her son as he was devious, disobedient and irresponsible. To be honest, her attitude toward Sanjay infuriated me. She disallowed us from speaking with him at home and never attended any of the parent sessions we organized for her. It took me a while to understand that her life was not without its share of pain and turmoil. Sanjay’s father was a hopeless drunk. She had to raise her three children, without any emotional or financial support, with the money she earned by selling vegetables. Life had made her that sullen, disinterested and weary woman we first met.
Meanwhile, we convinced Sanjay to drop in at the Youth Center. Here, we talked about everything: his hopes, dreams as well as his aspirations. When we found out that Sanjay and his friends wanted to learn to speak English, we set up lessons for them. He had showed an interest in mobile repairing too and we were looking for free courses he could apply to. While he was getting his life back on track, peer pressure still posed threat to Sanjay’s progress. For this purpose, we got Sanjay’s mother involved in her son’s life. In a last ditch attempt, we invited her to attend a parents’ meeting. Though she remained non-committal till the very end, she did turn up for the meeting. She watched our play on parenting styles with interest and also took part in the discussion. At the end of the session she approached us and expressed that she wished to see us more often. This was a pivotal moment in Sanjay’s life as his mother was now willing to play a more supportive role in his life
Sanjay’s life has improved significantly. He now works at a Xerox center and works hard to support his family. His family is much more supportive and encouraging, his mother ensures that he gets to work on time and she also enquires about his day. We still counsel Sanjay and his mother to try to make them understand the importance of talking to each other. And even though his friends always try to get him back to his old life, Sanjay seems much less likely to. He no longer indulges in theft and he is an inspiration to children in his community.