The Boys

Music, Movies, To be Free to "Do Their Own Thing"

The Older Boys
Some Examples:
Gulab Khan

Children in Holland learn about Sadak Chaaps


Those who do run away learn to survive on the street.
What this leads to is an "attitude" where you protect yourself from allowing anyone to "tell" you to do anything.
When groups of children get together they disband when anyone makes untold demands, and if a non-streetwalla makes that demand its worse!

Music, Movies, To be free, Doing their own thing
Those who work with street children must first of all have the emotional capability to acknowledge that it is a hard decision to run away from home. When adults at least some years older than these children have to work with them there is a need to create an environment of equality, of sharing of roles and responsibility and the ability to give and take instructions which has to demonstrably be both ways.
In the backdrop of this multifaceted and multi-layered activity pool of Sadak Chaap are many caretakers. Bonnie and James are the two who have been with the team for many years now. They are very much there, but always in the back drop. While they get a great deal of support from the alliance team of SPARC, NSDF & MAhila Milan in what they do with street kids, they use their own experiences of growing and rebellion to steer the street kids. They are good at what they do because they like many of the things the children like! To be free, music and doing their own thing. Now they both work full time with the street children and work on many fronts with all the kids as well as the older street boys who look after all the night shelters.
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The older 'boys'
Many of the older street boys who have been with NSDF for over ten years are now young men in their 20s.
By general routine standards they should be "kicked" out and made to stand on their own feet.
Of Course the NSDF and MM just don't believe in that. Instead they believe that the older boys in whom they have instilled values and supported to grow into young responsible men, have to make choices. Now they have the opportunity to make a choice of developing a lifestyle, which allows them to grow, build a life for themselves BUT also contribute to the cause for which they all have worked together.
All older Sadak Chaap young men aspire to participate in different ways and involve themselves with the cases of street children, and we now enter a phase in which we along with then are reaching new milestones.
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Sudarshan came to become part of Sadak Chaap in 1989. He wasone of the first young people who formed Sadak Chaap and was unique in that he has the distinction of having checked out all the services that NGOs have to offer to street children.
He soon became the of the leaders and took responsibility of managing night shelters, and was in charge of the children who stayed in Mulund, and went to school.
During the day he works with NSDF on various activities and has a well developed "portfolio" of tasks which he does well. When he got married it was a 'federation' wedding . On one side were the "girl's side" slum dwellers from one of the Railway SlumDwellers Federation settlement, and on the other was Sadak Chaap and Mahila Milan!!!
Now he and his wife stay in the caretakers house at Kanjurmarg! One more major milestone for the Street children re-entry into the world of the urban poor.
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Another example is Sunkey or Santosh who lives in the Byculla Night shelter. One of the most difficult a hot headed young boys, he is now a junior NSDF workers, and he along with 5 other young boys have found young women from slums to whom they want to get married to.
Arranging a Marriage:

The rituals begin with being able to develop "courage" to tell "the old man" Jockin that they want to get married. Then for the family of the bride to be able to meet the NSDF leadership, and to share issues of concern and clear the life and situation of the street boys and their relationship with NSDF and Mahila Milan. The dialogue often begins with NSDF and MM inviting the family of the girl to the night shelter and explaining about the relationships the children have with the local community and the women and men in the area resource centres.
Their problems, their "bad" aspects are all described in great detail so that the family should never accuse the alliance from hiding anything, and interestingly this ends up with the girl's family actually defending their new son-in-law to-be!
The process then culminates in an engagement ceremony in the girls house. To which the "boys" family gets invited to bless the couple.
Rupa and Santosh were married in January 2000 and all of us were there to celebrate the event.
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