Every time Joy sits down with us to explain in detail the story of another child, I still sometimes feel like I’m reading a book or watching a movie. Here is Gautam’s.
Gautam is 14 years old and first game to SOUP when he was 7 years old. He ran away from home because his parents had forced him to drop out of school and work 13 hour days at a factory for a rupee a day. He was picked up by a gang that forced him and other children to pay 50 rupees for “protection.” Their real intentions were to either train them for begging or sell them for extraction of their organs. They would torture children who would not pay the 50 rupee fee. Somehow, at age 7, Gautam managed to escape the gang, and was picked up by Childline volunteers when they noticed him wandering the streets of Varanasi. (Childline is an organization run by the government that rescues street children and sends them either back home or into shelters).
Gautam was sent to SOUP and has been here ever since. He is nothing short of incredible. I have never seen a child so eager to learn, and after hearing his story – how he was forbidden from going to school – I can understand why. He is the perfect example of a child who was pulled out of a horrible situation and because he has been shown so much love over the past seven years, he actually understands and appreciates the importance of growing up in a family environment and getting a good education. He’s not only eager to learn, but he’s eager to teach – he is always helping Michelle and I translate with the younger kids and explaining to them activities they might not understand. He’s also unbelievably protective of the younger children, and even of Michelle and I. He wants to be a computer engineer and dreams of traveling to the United States after college. I am so excited to see him grow up!!
Katie McCabe's Blog
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