India – Pappu Shukla, saved from child trafficking: "I'll never forget what ‘Don Bosco Ashalayam’ did for me"

25 February 2020
Foto: Misiones Salesianas

(ANS - Ashalayam) - "Don Bosco Ashalayam" is a Salesian NGO that works for the rehabilitation of street children in India. The Salesians provide assistance to all children in difficulty, regardless of their religion, caste or gender. More than 500 children currently reside in the 23 shelters in Ashalayam and they benefit from educational and recreational opportunities. Through its presence on the streets and the courses and programs offered in slums and railway stations, the Salesian NGO provides assistance to thousands of street children every year: over 80,000 children have benefited in three decades.

Don Bosco Ashalayam's "Childline" is a free telephone line that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and which, via the number 1098, street children can call anonymously. The Salesian house "St John Bosco" in New Delhi, through the Salesian welcome center "Don Bosco Ashalayam", manages the "Childline" to guarantee the rights of children in difficulty and to provide them with specific care and protection.

This Salesian work operates closely with the police, health services, the juvenile court, transport companies, media and communication agencies and local communities with the aim of making the rights of children known and, at the same time, to provide protection services to the most vulnerable and neediest children.

Pappu Shukla was only 7-years-old and playing on the street with his older sister when he was deceived by a man, who eventually took him to his car and kidnapped him. When Pappu got out of the vehicle, he did not know where he was, but was told that he would have to work as a servant.

Today Pappu Shukla is 17-years-old and is an example of Salesian educational work for children's rights in India.

"Those people were horrible. Often they got drunk and beat me, so after a while I decided to run away," remembers Pappu. "After running and wandering about a lot I got on the first train I saw and got to the end of the line. The last stop was Calcutta station, but I had nowhere to go. Fortunately, an operator of the Salesian 'Childline' project found me while I was wandering around the train station. I didn't know which state or city my parents came from and nobody had reported my disappearance, because we were very poor, so they couldn't find my family."

"The Child Welfare Committee," the boy continues, "decided to send me to Ashalayam and, although to date I haven't been able to track down my parents, I'm happy, because the Salesians have given me a new family."

"Thanks to the Salesians," says Pappu Shukla, "I passed the [school] exams and now I'm studying Graphic Design at the University of New Delhi. I have come a long way and I'll never forget what Ashalayam has done for me."

Source: Misiones Salesianas


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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