When Marshal Saha was 10 years old, he would sleep on the streets of the city and frequently indulge in substance abuse.
On Wednesday, Saha, 17, was happy to hear that he had scored 63% in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam. “I am proud of the fact that in six years, my life has changed for the better,” said Saha, who had left his home in Orissa after his parents passed away.
In 2006, Saha was rescued by the Society Undertaking Poor People’s Onus for Rehabilitation (SUPPORT), a not-for-profit organisation that works with street children indulging in substance abuse. “This is a fulfilling moment, since the process of rehabilitating such street children is a very long one,” said Honshang Irani, trustee, SUPPORT. The organisation gets custody of the children after approval from the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). Saha was enrolled in Vakola Municipal School till Class 7, after which he moved to Kherwadi Municipal School in Bandra.“I want to study computer science and become a software engineer,” said Saha, who stays at the organisation's residential rehabilitation centre in Vakola.
Another student from SUPPORT, Paraskumar Thakur, 19, scored 68% in the exam. Thakur had run away from his home in Bihar because his father would beat him for not studying.