SIX Children Restored To Parents

The statistics are spine-chilling. Around 4 lakh children go missing from Andhra Pradesh every year. Unfortunately, only 15-20 per cent of these are registered in the local police station as FIR. The fate of the other children goes unnoticed. To make matters worse, the missing list also includes those who run away from their respective homes for one reason or the other. But there is a good augury for all the grieving parents. A silent revolution is gradually unfolding itself much to the delight of thousands of families, who feel they were accursed.

The city-based Centre for Action Research and People’s Development (CARPED) has been striving for child rights for the last two decades. Upset with growing incidents of missing children, they decided to foray into the area in order to bring the smile back on the faces of several anguished parents. Although the seeds were sown six months back, it has been witnessing surcharged activity in terms of success rate since October 3.

The results have been overwhelming considering the intensity of the job on hand. For starters, they collaborated with the Child Welfare Committee and interacted with people in the interiors and local police and media representatives. The start has been slow but the progress has been steady. Youth have been exhorted to join them in the noble mission by enrolling themselves as volunteers. Networking with various stakeholders has been yielding positive and encouraging results.

Six children, including one from New Delhi, have been traced, rehabilitated and returned to the parents. According to its founder-advisor, M S Chandra, they generally begin by visiting homes and shelters where children are likely to stay. On enquiring about their native place and the names of the parents they launch an intense search to locate the parents. One of the senor members goes to the place to establish authenticated links. Recalling the incident that made them start this wing, he said it was one Murthy, a retired BHEL employee, who grieved about how his then 11-year-old son went missing. The Tirupati native has been waiting for his son’s return for 17 years now! The unit was, consequently, established with the singular motto “every child is important, protected and should be with family. We have been working with the CWCs that have been set up in various parts of the country. Six children have been traced, rehabilitated and returned to the parents. We could locate a missing boy from Virava who was found in Orissa. Later, a boy was brought from Basheerabad and sent to a rehabilitation center in New Delhi,” he pointed out.

Five children are presently placed in shelter homes in New Delhi, including in DDA Community Centre, Pahargunj and Palam Gaon. Listing out the practical problems they face, Chandra said, `with the most vulnerable families belonging to the BPL, they have this apprehension that the police may not help them. There is a general lack of awareness. This is preventing many parents from registering FIRs.

Some economically backward families do not seek help because they do not have photographs of their children. While trafficking has added to the problem, another problem that we confront is that most children become so used to the atmosphere in the respective shelter that they prefer to stay there,” he said. But now there is a ray of hope. In their endeavour to do their bit to the society, the likes of Chandra are doing the restoration act to near-perfection. They are ushering in good tidings to at least some families and that in itself is a good start.


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