Amit Gupta : An aspiring Engineer
Amids fifty odd peers at Apnaghar - a shelter for boys; books and pen are the best pals of Amit Gupta. Currently pursuing his studies at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Amit aspires to study engineering at the world renowned, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Amit has made us all proud by achieving an 84% in his 10th std. boards, and we all look forward as he readies himself for his next innings at his 12th std. board exams.
However, life wasn't the same for this young boy. Born in Benares, Amit shortly moved to the Malda district of West Bengal with his family. Amit's elder brother died very young of a disease and soon after he had a sister and brother to fend for. They all lived together in an extremely small house where his mother was a housewife and his father a scrap dealer. His parents were very poor, and as a result of which continuously vented insults on him. They made him feel nothing more than a burden to them. This would constantly hurt Amit's feelings and therefore lead to his running away.
He was eleven when he left his home. An altercation between him and his father and a strong desire for freedom pushed him to take the step he otherwise only contemplated. After arranging for some money, he rode on a bus for eight hours and took the train headed to Delhi. Money allowed him to eat and survive at the railway station for about three days. He soon lost what was left of his belongings and so desperation started to takeover. It was at this very moment that a good man, after seeing his miserable condition, took him to the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and helped him with a meal. He also found Amit a job in a cloth shop. He continued working, eating and sleeping there for about a year before he was spotted by a staff member from the Salaam Balaak Trust.
The staff persuaded him to join the organization so he could be provided with both food and shelter, better than what he had at the shop. He lived for some time at one of our contact points situated behind the Hanuman Mandir and was shortly thereafter moved to Apnaghar, where he soon made to join a government school. One year later, after his consistent excellence at his studies, he was sent to the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Mehta Vidyalaya School. His dream is to continue his studies and to go on to becoming a successful engineer. We wish him all the luck.
Pawan Waghmare: A story of transformation
Pawan Waghmare, a flamboyant twenty year old is the project assistant to Mr. Dadi Pudumji (an acclaimed Puppeteer) in implementing an HIV and Drugs prevention campaign through the means of street puppet theatre funded by UNESCO-Paris. Life wasn't this colorful for Pawan who had to leave his home in search of love and care and had to work at a road side restaurant before being persuaded by a social worker from Salaam Baalak to join the Trust.
Pawan hails from a small town in Maharastra. He ran away from his home when his father remarried as he couldn't find the love he always longed for. He boarded a train and landed at the New Delhi Railway Station. He continued working at the railway station and often felt lonely and sad. He was dismayed at the reality of life on the street, one that he had so wishfully opted for.
Pawan was an adolescent when he became a peer educator at the shelter. He could very easily cope with the troubles that his age demanded. Pawan became an effective peer counselor and a leader in the making. He is immensely futuristic and grasps every opportunity there is to grow and to learn. He was chosen for the best peer educator award in 2002. With five others, Pawan was referred to "Ritinjali", a social wing of the Vasant Valley School, for six months training in handling a camera and video recoding. He, besides puppetry, also dabbled in western dance with the help of the Ashley Lobo group, and finally went on to join the Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust as a performer and later was promoted to being a Team Leader cum Project Assistant.
Today Pawan is a performer, a puppeteer and a team leader who along with others has created three separate puppet plays on HIV prevention, care and support and also on drugs & HIV. There have been more than 250 public performances of these plays at Dilli Haat, railway stations, communities, schools and universities. Not just in India but he has also performed in several other countries including Taiwan, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa and England. We wish him all the luck.
Shamsul: IF YOU GIVE IT A CHANCE: LIFE SMILES BACK AT YOU
Shamsul comes from the Saharsha district of Bihar- one of the poorest states of India. Due to poverty and family problems, he left his home at the age of eleven. He boarded a train and came to Delhi. Once in Delhi, he spent one and half years picking rags in and around the New Delhi Railway Station; only then he was spotted by a staff member of Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT). He joined the shelter home program of SBT in year 1995. SBT helped him admitted at Grace Mission School, Gurgaon. After studying for five years he came back and joined Apnaghar-A shelter for boys; ready and willing to go for quality education and training.
Apart from education, SBT further helped him by allowing him to practice both Chhau -a martial dance form and contemporary dance. Moreover, Shamsul also received training in Kathakali- a dance form of Kerala. Apart from dance Shamsul underwent training in puppetry under Dadi Pudumji- a renowned puppeteer and Anurupa Roy. On top of this, he actively participated in a programme on HIV & drugs prevention intervention through street puppet theatre supported by UNESCO-PARIS for two years. Presently Shamsul is working full time with MIDITECH- a media house as Muppeteer at the salary of 35,000/- per month.
Vicky Roy: PASSION CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE
Vicky is from Purulia, West Bengal. He left his home in 1999 at the age of 11, after he realized that he didn't have the freedom to live the life he wanted and also was lacking basic facilities. He was studying in grade 6th at that time. He left his family house in Purulia and came to Bankuda- another town of West Bengal. There, he boarded Nilanchal Express and landed in Delhi.
He spent his first lonely night at New Delhi Railway Station. In the morning he was welcomed by the children already living at the railway station. He joined the group and started collecting plastic bottles as they did. He spent about 6 months living in the railway station this way. During those days, he was bullied by older boys. So, he decided to work at a dhaba-a road side restaurant, were he worked for approximately three months.
An ex-boy of Salaam Baalak Trust discovered him and referred to Salaam Baalak Trust. He joined the residential programme of the Trust. He was given admission in Nutan Marathi School and later pursued class 10th from National Open School.
During his stay, Vicky showed a deep interest in photography. SBT acknowledged and supported his interest by sending him to learn and improve his photography skills at Triveni Kala Sangam for one year. And later he was trained by Dixie Benjamin- a British photographer who volunteered with SBT for photo documentation. SBT has been constantly encouraging and supporting Vicky for his career in photography.
Vicky organized his solo exhibition of his work at Experiemental Art Gallery of India Habitat Centre from 21-26, March 2007. This exhibition was jointly supported by British High Commission and Department for International Development. Presently his photographs are showcased for an exhibition titled "Relative Values" is been organized by John Hansard Gallery at Level 4, Hartley Library, University of Southempton, London. The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 9.00 pm till 30th September 2007.
Now, Vicky is working with Anay Mann- a Delhi based fashion photographer as his assistant.
Neetu: A trained car-giver steps out into the world
My name is Neetu and I am now16 years old. I was born and raised in a small town near Jhansi, Madhya Pradesh. My father used to beat and abuse my mother and me.
In 2001, I ran away from home, and came directly to New Delhi railway station. For several days, I starved, and hoped to find a safe place in which to sleep. One day, a lady constable brought me to Salaam Baalak Trust. I was produced in the Child Welfare Committee who directed that I would be allowed to stay at Arushi, a girl child shelter run by SBT at Uttam Nagar.
At Arushi I was offered a chance to attend non-formal education classes. This was something I had only dreamt about; after attending the first class I promised myself I would work as hard as possible to achieve whatever I desire in life on my own. With all the support and encouragement I got from my teachers at SBT, I am now studying in high school and will be appearing for my Xth class examination through NIOS in the year 2005.
I was also motivated to pursue some vocational training course. I decided to train as a care-giver - someone who takes care of the ill and ailing. SBT enrolled me in VIMHANS for an 18 months course in care-giving.
I have now completed my course and am doing my internship for which I am also being paid an honorarium of Rs.1600/- per month. I am saving money from my honorarium, so that once I start working, I can find a room for myself.
Pursuing a dream of beauty
My name is Archana and I am 16 years old. I come from a small village near Kanpur city, in U.P. I lived with my mother and two younger brothers. My father had abandoned us and was living with another woman.
When my mother married again, life became even more difficult - my step father didn't care for us, and became abusive In 1999, when the situation became unbearable, I left my home and came to Delhi. Here, I starved, and wandered along the railway platform, until a passer-by brought me to the Railway police station. They sent me to the Salaam Baalak Trust, and I was taken into Arushi, the girl child shelter run by Salaam Baalak Trust.
I was going through a bad phase and was very depressed. I did not want to talk or share anything with anybody. At Arushi, I got clothes to wear, ate proper meals and slept soundly, which was never possible in my home. The counselors at Arushi gave me a lot of love and care, which I was deprived of, and I was happy to be with other children of my age.
Slowly I came out of my depression, and I was motivated to continue my education. I enrolled in the National Institute of Open Schooling, and I am now in grade ten. I am interested in dance and also go to play soccer. I have been selected to play under the umbrella of IYSA (India Youth Soccer Association).
I aim to become a beautician, for which I will start my training classes once I am 17 years old. The staff of SBT has already spoken with VLCC, a well-known beauty care institute, for my training.
I dream to establish a beauty parlour of my own one day.
In 1985 , Haran was born at a small village Madan Mohan Pur (Chaubis Pargana) in West Bengal state, Haran was all of 11 years when he flee his home to escape miseries and destitution. Unable to support the family with his meager income Haran's father used to abuse him and goude him to earn for himself. After 7 months of combating harsh realities of life in the streets of Delhi destiny led him to salaam Baalak Trust. He was admitted to MCD primary school and later sent to Grace Mission Convent School at Gurgaon. Haran was studying in 8th class when he joined Apna Ghar
A photography workshop, which he attended in 2001, became a fateful event of his life. Camera captured his imagination. He set his vision high and devoted himself to photography. Learning the nuances from renowned professionals-- Amit Khullar and Gurvinder Osan, he was trained in photography for 3 years. In 2004 he had his 05 photographs displayed at Indian International Center. It got him an identity and encouraged him to do more. In 2005, he organized his solo exhibition with the support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Impressed by his talent and commitment the Times group recruited him as a professional photographer.
Haran's joys knew no bounds when Mr. Tony and Cherrie Blair (Prime Minister UK) congratulated him for his achievements.
Haran is preparing for his 12th std exams and also loves to share his time with his peers at SBT. For him it's a dream come true.frame by frame.
Salim, a lovable terrorist
Six years back, SBT volunteers discovered an eight-year child crying inconsolably. He has been separated from his parents in a Muhharam procession at Ajmerigate. It took us two years to find out his parents but the repatriation did not quite work. His parents at the fringes of subsistence were unable to provide for his education and his childhood fancies, not very expensive but definitely wild. As fate would have it the child came back at Apna Ghar. A keen fan of Hindi movies, Salim was a little different from all the child, calm and composed, diminutive but determined, fickle but fearless. He did not take long to show his intentions. A flamboyant actor, he was chosen by Ashwin Kumar from amongst thousands of boys to play lead protagonist in the Little Terrorist.
The film won international acclaim. It won best film's awards at Montreal, Manhattan, Flanders and Tehran International Film Festivals. Little Terrorist went on to being nominated in the several categories in the Oscars, the mecca of films. All of 14 years, Salim has acted in 40 films and two television serials. A powerhouse of performing arts talents, Salim also likes drawing and painting and believes that his best is yet to come. Amen.