Ramesh was found crying on Pune railway station. A broker who had promised him a good job in the city had abandoned him on the platform.
Unable to withstand the thrashings from his drunk older brother and the humiliation from the seniors in his boys’ hostel, 15-year-old Arun stole Rs. 100 and sought refuge at the platform of the Bangalore City railway station.
16-year-old Pawanraj was found at Tirupati Railway station. He never enjoyed school. When he ran away it was because his mother had beaten him up for not going to school.
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How it all began
It’s mentioned on their website that SATHI was “an unplanned outcome of a well-intended intention. It started as one woman’s dream to take care of underprivileged children.” This got me seriously intrigued and so my first question about how it all began obviously went down this path. As Mr. Kulkarni clarified, “I remember I was at work at Prerana, my own NGO, when this lady walked in offering her volunteering skills. The only condition she had to put them to use was that she wanted to help children. For lack of anything else to offer her, I asked her to spend the day helping the children on the platform. After all, the station wasn’t very far away from the office.” And just like that, overnight, the seeds of the idea that would soon turn into SATHI were planted. In fact, in the first year, the office was used as a shelter as it was very difficult to find (as well as afford) a decent place.
Browse through SATHI’s annual reports over the past decade and you’ll get more than a dose of stories on the lives they have impacted. Luckily, most have a happy ending and SATHI’s follow-up phonecalls and visits to some of the reunited childrens’ homes reaffirms that.
The story of Santosh, Dinesh and Sandip are just a sample of the kind of work SATHI does.
Santosh aged 12 years and Dinesh aged 11 years were found at New Delhi Railway Station.