Suguna Diggi is thrilled over returning home. It was more than a year ago that the 16-year-old had arrived at Childline in the city. They had found him at the Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station with bruises on his head and hands.
Hailing from Jharkhand, he said that he was travelling with his mother in a train and fell down from it and got injured. The train left with his mother, who did not know about her son’s plight.
Suguna and two other boys, Sudheer and Anil Oraon, belonging to the same state, all of whom were found by Childline from the same railway station, left in Amrita Express for Alappuzha on Thursday accompanied by two Childline representatives, and from there they would catch the Dhanbad Express on Friday morning to reach Ranchi, the Jharkhand capital.
On reaching Ranchi, Suguna and Anil will be received by their parents and Sudheer will stay with Samadhan, an NGO working for children there, until they trace his family. When he arrived at Childline, all that Sudheer knew was to utter a few words in Hindi, including ‘Simdega’, the district from where he is supposed to be from. Now he knows that he has “papa, ma and bahan” at home. He had left home as he could not bear his father, said to be a drunkard, who beat him up regularly.
Anil, who is around 14 years old, remembers that his home is just five kilometres away from Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s residence at Ranchi. Some discord between his parents had prompted the boy to leave home. He clearly knows the name of his parents and siblings.
It is part of the Missing Child Search programme of Childline that the children are being taken back to their home state. At Childline, they received basic education, underwent occupational therapy, learned drawing and were happy with children of their age. “It was on contacting the Samadhan agency in Jharkhand that we were able to trace the families of these kids. Once they are entrusted with their families, we would follow up their living conditions with the help of a supporting agency,” said Fr Thomas P D, director of Childline.
When asked what they would do on reaching home, pat came the reply from Suguna with a smile: “I want to study. One day, I will come here to see all my friends again.”