Written by: Riya Singh
Standing with people is sometimes more important than standing up for them.
Sometimes, our actions contradict our intentions because we get torn between what is right and what can be the solution for a particular situation. UPAY volunteers faced a similar dilemma when they came to the rescue of Payal.
Payal is an ordinary-looking 10-year-old girl. The only thing unusual was her irregularity in class. One day, a teacher from UPAY got a call from her. She narrated how her father had beaten her and had cast her outside her home.
She has been living alone on the streets of Gurugram for the past 10-15 days. She faced extreme difficulties during this time. And this called for immediate action by team! UPAY does have Presiding officers at all our operating locations who are trained to handle cases like these.
Our team approached Child helpline services and the Police department to help the little girl. “When we reached Payal’s house, we spoke to the elders and found that the family had a long history of physical and mental abuse,” said our team who found both the parents mentally unstable which makes it difficult for them to take care of their four children.
That day, Payal was rescued with the help of police and sent to a shelter home. But like other children, she too wanted to live with her parents and younger siblings.
Despite being abused when the Child Welfare Committee asked her where she wanted to live, Payal told them that she wanted to go “home”. As per child rights, nobody can isolate the child from their parents. And thus, Payal was dropped at her home. The Police authorities warned the parents of stricter action and routine checks at their home. From that day, UPAY has been in touch with the family, ensuring the safety of Payal and her siblings.
But the ordeal wasn’t over for Payal and her siblings. Extreme neglect resulted in a maggot infestation behind the left ear of her 1-month-old baby sister. UPAY volunteers interjected and, this time, the baby was taken to the civil hospital for treatment. They gave her a few medicines and sent her back.
On our subsequent visit 2 days later, the situation was still not under control. The volunteers took her to two different hospitals, but both the hospitals refused to admit her. We sought help from Dr. Kunal, an avid supporter of UPAY, who asked for her to get admitted to Chacha Nehru Baal Chikitsalaya and gave her proper treatment. Within a week, the baby recovered and, the infestation subsided.
Thanks to the timely interventions by not only the volunteers but even our generous supporters that Payal and her family were able to receive adequate help in terms of physical, emotional, and monetary support.
It has been more than three months since these incidents, and normalcy is returning to Payal’s once-extremely abusive home.
Such acts of kindness apart from regular Teaching and Learning relations that we have with our children and the entire community helps us establish an impactful relationship and create a ripple of change.
We at UPAY hope that many more children like Payal receive timely help and lead a fulfilling and secure life in the future.