Sixteen years old Chitra Bahadur Sarki is continuing welding training at Olgapuri Vocational Training School as per his interest and he is learning/participating actively. But his journey up to this point has not been easy.
Chitra is an inhabitant of Daduwa, Sunsari (Eastern Region of Nepal) it takes 8 hours by bus from Kathmandu. He is only one child of his family. His father was an alcoholic and committed violence to his mother. One day his father left him and his mother alone when Chitra was 7 years old. Then his mother left Daduwa and came in Sindhupalchok at his maternal house. Sindhupalchok is a neighboring district of Kathmandu. At the age of eight, Chitra's mother too eloped with someone then there was nobody to take care of him. He lived with his grandparents but mostly roamed around in the village with friends. With the influence of friends, he escaped to Kathmandu. He had no option except staying on the street. He said that “I was not feeling secure and had no food to eat, no place to go. My friend and I were afraid at night. We met other street boys who lived in the street. They helped us by giving food and managed our place for sleeping.” In the beginning, he struggled to live on the street and suffered at the hands of dominating street boys. For survival, he collected garbage and sold it. But he often had to also resort to begging also. He even resorted to stealing. He had good relations with other street children and he became a mediator to supply drugs. He shared with us that “I was caught by police. They took me to Juvenile Correction home. I stayed there for 3 months where I got frustrated living in the center and I missed my mother too’’. His maternal uncle came to take him from a correction home. One month he stayed in his maternal home but he did not like to stay and again he escaped from there.
The staff of many organizations visited the street and motivated him to leave street life but it was not easy for him. Among them, there was also the Voice of Children (VOC) field worker who maintained regular contact with him and tried to rescue him from the street. One day Chitra decided to visit VOC. It was a suitable time to become aware of the risk of street life. That day, he spent a few hours in the center. Although he returned back to the street he got into the thinking mode. He later shared “I thought VOC is the organization, where I can live in a friendly environment and share my problem that is why I started visiting VOC frequently”.
Chitra decided to live in VOC at the time when he was 15 years old. He spent his life on the streets for almost 7 years. At VOC center, he was provided with different alternative ways of leaving his drug abuse habits. In the center, he participated in various recreational activities such as awareness program, non-formal education, art & craft by which he built up his confidence. He began to socialize with friends and a social worker. He stayed in Drop In-Center for 7 months where he is currently taking vocational training in welding as he has a keen interest in the same.
“I am happy in the center and doing progress in learning of welding training. I am hopeful that I will be a skilled individual and will engage in the job after completion of this training. I am always thankful to VOC for motivating me to continue my training and strengthen me by regular follow up”. Now, he is clean from drugs and he has a clear vision after complete the training.