Several dozen urchins who had made the Vadodara railway station their home and ‘workplace’ after running away from their villages are now employed in hotels, workshops and market places in the city.
The nearly 60 streetkids — who used to live out of begging and sometimes stealing — are no longer despised by police or passengers. Vocational training in trades like embroidery, fabric painting, sewing, motor winding, mobile phone and coin box repairing transformed these children from urchins to self-employed individuals.
Instrumental in bringing around this transformation is a Vadodara-based NGO Vikas Jyot Trust, which also takes care of 250 more such children in six other localities of the city. The children are mainly from villages and small towns of UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
“Our main aim was to keep them away from anti-social elements,” project coordinator Vijaymala Thite told Hindustan Times , explaining how the idea of 'Bal Jyot' formed.
With help coming from Western Railway Women’s Association (Vadodara) and cooperation from the RPF, a shelter at the end of renovated platform number 5 was built where the children are fed and trained since 11 am every day.