My name is Gulab Khan but I am known as Javed and I ran away from home at 9 years old from a city called Surat in Gujarat. I have two younger brothers and one younger sister who are all studying.
I had a basic education for a year and then I went to work in a factory weaving - I was making clothes. I earned between 500 and 600 rupees per month but the days were very long, at least 12 hours per day.
I stopped going to work and was beaten by my father as I was no longer earning money. I then ran off and went to Bombay and thought I would go sight-seeing. I did not have any money when I ran away from home.
I arrived in Bombay and went to the Muslim Temple which gives out food and it was there that I met one of the Churchgate night shelter boys. I went with him to Churchgate and have been here for 4 months.
To earn some money I do wadi-work - seasonal wedding work, which entails cooking, cleaning and generally helping out at the wedding celebrations. I have managed to save 900 rupees which means I can go back and see my family.
I like being at the Churchgate night shelter because I can have a bath. It also provides a safe roof over my head and I have made some friends here.
Photo:Javed on the left with James, SPARC Street children worker and another street boy at Church gate night shelter
Case Study - Sanjay
My name is Sanjay and I am 10 years old. I ran away from home when I was 8 years old from a village near Allahabad near Maharashtra.
I was punished by my father and I ran away from my English speaking school with three other friends. I had 220 Rupees on me when I left which I had saved from my pocket money.
We left by train and came to Bombay - I had learnt about Bombay from my studies back home. On arriving in Bombay I spent a couple of days at Bombay Central Station. The Police moved me on from the station but I was able to get some food from a Muslim mosque who gave it away free. I used to wash at the beach.
I have lived at Churchgate night shelter for two months and I have made friends from the Sadak Chaap federation. I like being at the night shelter because I like to have a routine. I also like having the meals and having baths at the shelter and I have made some friends here.
I occasionally do wadi-work - seasonal Wedding work, at which I earn 45 rupees for an eight hour day. I do want to continue my studies and get help from James who works with us at the night shelter. I can already do the basics like reading and writing and I know the alphabet. I also spent four years learning Hindi from pre-school education upwards. I?m not sure what I would like to do when I am older but like the idea of going into the armed forces like my brother.
Photo:Sanjay doing his studies at Churchgate night shelter
Case Study - Santosh
My name is Santosh and I am 12 years old. I have come from a broken home and my mother and father have both now remarried. I don?t get much support from them since they have been remarried but I do get a bit of help from my married older sister.
My father sometimes comes to visit me at my sisters and gives me a bit of money but not much. I cannot stay at my sisters all the time as she has her own family. I sleep under the flyover bridge just along from the Dadar night shelter. In the daytime it is a flower market but the traders have gone at night.
When the Dadar shelter is a completed night shelter I would like to stay at the shelter. I already like to come in the day because I can play and do some learning . I also like the company and have made some friends here. The people who run the night shelter are very friendly and they help you learn in the morning and then let you play in the afternoons.
My name is Sanjay and I?m not sure exactly how old I am but I think late teens. My family live in a village near to Udgir which is a City in Maharashtra. My mother still lives there but I am not sure about my father. I have one younger brother.
My mother put me into a boarding school in Latur which is around 200 kms from Udgir. I was there for only 2 months and then I ran away when I was very young but I am not sure exactly what age. I started to walk from the boarding school and then found a railway track. A train was stopped on the railway track which was outside the station and I just jumped on the train. I didn?t know where the train was going.
On the train I met a lady who was selling snacks and she gave me some food. I had a scarf and I sold it to the lady for 10 Rupees. The 10 Rupees that the lady gave me had to then be given to the ticket collector as I had not bought a ticket for the train. The train went through Bombay and I decided to get off there. I had never heard of Bombay before. On the same day I met Kumar at the station and he gave me a biscuit and took me to the Churchgate night shelter.
I started rag picking, collecting rubbish and recycling it, and earned 20-30 Rupees per day.
I only did this for one month and then got into the wadi work, seasonal wedding work, and
earned 30 Rupees a day. I did the wadi-work every year during the season for it.
At that time I was staying at another shelter - it was like a prison they were very strict so one day I managed to run away. I decided to go to the Byculla Office of SPARC and just watched what went on to give me an idea of what NSDF and MM were like. I just visited in the day and then slept in the Station at night.
I was involved with SPARC when the Bombay Municipal Corporation gave the lease for the Churchgate Night shelter . I helped with the construction and then started to sleep at the night shelter. I like being at the shelter because I have friends there and it is a support environment. You can also get food there and the boys are treated as equals. You can also lend money if you are desperate to borrow some.
I used to work with Santosh, cleaning tourist buses - one bus earned us 10 Rupees. I then went onto tea-making and earned 300 Rupees per month. I also worked for a transport company loading lorries and from this job I earned 20 Rupees per day. Whilst at the transport company I was told that it could be useful if I learnt to drive.
After a while I then started to work with NSDF and my main job was to look after the Byculla office. I clean the office and now sleep there instead of the night shelter as it is open 24 hours and I want to know everything that is going on. I also do ticket reservations for travelling. I enjoy working with NSDF because I feel I am equal. It isn?t like a family situation where parents are always telling you off.
I decided I would like to obtain my driving licence and asked Jockin to help me apply to get the licence. I got my Licence and then had lessons from the driving school for 22 days. After this I was able to drive and was awarded my Licence. I like driving and would like to drive a private car.