KOZHIKODE: What is the aftercare given by the state to boys of Government Children’s Home (GHC) after they turn 18? Almost nil. There is only one centre in the entire state to take care of men between 18 and 21 and after 21, they must leave the space, ill-equipped to eke out a living. The most unfortunate fact is most lads who come from broken families are well taken care of by officials at the home. But after 21, when they have no place to go, they are highly vulnerable to crime.
Story of Anoop Krishna
Anoop Krishna, 26, came to GHC Kasaragod when he was 13 after being rescued from child labour. After the death of his mother, his father was exploiting Anoop when the authorities rescued him. In GHC, the ambitious boy studied and passed SSLC. He was enrolled at Government Aftercare Home for Boys at Thalasserry. But before 21, Anoop bid adieu to the institution to eke out a living.
He worked for six years in various capacities but is now frustrated as he is unable to land a stable job. “Everyone is asking for address proof and I do not have one. I have nowhere to go. What should I do?” he asks. On the other hand, inmates of Government Women’s Home can continue to stay there as long as they want.
No skill training at home
“It is too sad. Though we have 27 inmates here, many do not turn up daily as most of them are daily wage workers. There is no skill training or such facility here,” said Amarnath Bhaskar VK, Superintendent-in-charge of Government Aftercare Home, Thalasserry. There are many men like Anoop across the state. Unlike Anoop’s case, there are orphaned adolescent boys who reach GHCs after being involved in crime (children in conflict with the law) and later aftercare homes.
The reluctance of people to accept them once they leave pushes them to unscrupulous mafia again. “There are vocational training and ASAP skill programmes for girls at the Aftercare Home for Girls in Kollam. The situation in the Aftercare Home for Boys should be checked,” said Social Justice Department director Sheeba George.
A former officer at Kasaragod district child protection unit said, “I have supported him in my personal capacity to find a job and to be accommodated into the mainstream. He has an opinion on everything and is straight forward. Anoop cannot tolerate the ‘adjustments’ of the mainstream and hence he finds it difficult to adjust,” he told Express.
There are many men like Anoop across the state. Unlike Anoop’s case, there are orphaned adolescent boys who reach GHCs after being involved in crime and later aftercare homes. Reluctance of people to accept them once they leave pushes them to unscrupulous mafia again.