Success Stories

Name: Ajay Raj

Background of the youth – education, family occupation and annual income, number of family members etc.

Ajay is the younger of the two children, always smiling and jovial although he misses his family. He doesn't remember from where he originally belongs. He was playing with his friends in a train which was stationary at the platform and he hid himself under the seat and fell asleep and later on the train moved on and he landed in Mumbai. At that time he was only 6 years old and had felt lost being alone in a strange city. Slowly he made friends and stayed with them. He would beg on the streets/traffic junctions, sweeping/begging in local trains and ate frugal meals. He was introduced to smoking cigarettes by his friends. It was lucky that SUPPORT' outreach staff found him before his friends got him into other abusive substances. While on the street, he would visit SUPPORT' Day Care center and was convinced to opt for detox /rehab program.

Training details

  • Wireman
  • Industrial Electronics Engineering diploma (IE)

  • Impact Story: (How the program has helped the youth after attending the course)

    This was a turning point in his life. On completion of detox program, his rehab began. He was admitted to a Government run school. The rehabilitation program at SUPPORT focused on bringing about a transformation in his behavior, attitudes and habits preparing him for the mainstream. At SUPPORT he was also tutored by our in house coaching class teachers. The regular coaching classes enabling him to cope with the day to day homework and lessons in school. He found the classes helpful and was able to cope well with his studies in school. This resulted in him completing his 10th standard school final examinations ande h scored 82% which was commendable feat.

    He is currently doing his Industrial Electronics Engineering Degree at Pune. He works part-time to pay for his education. This will ensure a This is the beginning for Ajay to equip himself to bbright future for Ajay.

    Name: Shyam Sahu

    Background – education, family occupation and annual income, number of family members etc.

    Shyam came from a poor family. They are from Kajdol, Raipur Zilla, UP. He lived with his mom, an elder brother and younger sister. His dad had married twice and didn't spend much time with them.

    His dad and mom used to do field work for a living. His brother was a "mistry" aka "kadiya" i.e. did cement plastering work. He and his sister were schooling.

    Although this family's financial position was not good, they celebrated the usual festivals, but his father was never there and was always missed. Because of their financial condition petty fights would break out within the family. Shyam remembers that the family was unable to afford books for him and his sister. As they were made to share, they would constantly fight for the books.

    Due to his family situation, he was unhappy and started abusing substances. He started with gutka, bidis, tobacco. His school friends too encouraged him to take drugs. They would tell him that he would feel good after taking drugs. He listened to them and would join in. The first time he took gutka, he liked the taste of it. Because he liked it the first time, he continued eating more and was addicted.

    One day he robbed grain from his neighbours' field. He immediately realised his mistake but got scared that his family would find out and beat him. Because of this he ran away from home. This was at a very young age of 7 years.

    After running away he was on his own and had no clue of where to go. He managed to catch a bus from Kajdol to Raipur. He boarded the Mumbai Express from Raipur and got down at Kalyan. He used to live at Kalyan platform no 1. Nobody helped him when he first came to Mumbai.

    From Kalyan he came to Dadar and started to stay and roam around Mumbai. Most of the time he would stay at V T railway station. He was never a part of a group or gang. Living on the streets he would earn his living collecting recyclable scraps, begging or would work at shops. He was called Ajay on the streets.

    Life on Mumbai's streets was good and bad. 'Good' as he had lots of freedom. He could roam anywhere, do drugs and more or less do what he wished. 'Bad' as the Police used to hit him and chase him away.

    By now he had started abusing substances in a big way. Gutka, bidi, cigarette, solution, button, bhang, ganja, pan, tobacco were the substances he used to abuse. He was completely immersed into drugs as a way of life. He would get his drugs from shops, friends and drop off spots (the street word is "adda"). Initially, he used to spend Rs. 60 a day on drugs. But once he was addicted he needed Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 a day to feed his addiction.

    After getting high on drug he would get into trouble. He would roam around and get involved in fights. There would be fights with other boys on the street and sometime with the public. He would get beaten during these fights. The police would also beat him, and to save himself, he would run and sometime need to change his location. When the drug effects would wear off, he would once again find a way to get more drugs for another high. He used to regret leaving home. His education came to a standstill. He wanted to change so he could live a better life. He wanted to leave his addiction and street life. He had heard about SUPPORT, and therefore started seriously thinking of reforming himself.

    He was in various homes before SUPPORT. As drugs were not allowed in these homes, he managed to run away from them as instigated by other inmates.

    Training details

  • Catering

  • Impact Story:

    He was conviced by the outreach staff and would come to the Day Care Center. After 6 months, he agreed to undergo detoxification and join the rehabilitation program.

    The initial 15 days of the detox program was painful for him. Waking up early in the morning, staying indoors all day was too much for him to take. He used to feel the strong pull of his addiction. During this period he thought of leaving SUPPORT many times. Slowly his body started getting accustomed to the new lifestyle and he started liking it.

    He remembers Ravi Sir fondly as he was the one who motivated him to undergo detox. He made him understand that he can get rid of his addiction, and lead a clean life. And also that one day he would be given a job so he can earn and stand on his own feet. This is exactly what he wanted for himself.

    He got valuable lesson of life and how to live as part of Society. Respect all, specially elders and keep loving relations. During his recovery he swore never to take drugs, be honest, work hard, and never lie. He was given valuable information and awareness about STD & HIV as a part of SUPPORT's rehabilitation program. He learnt that addiction is a disease and needs to be cured.

    He had come across many good examples of transformation at SUPPORT. The once upon a time drug addicts have turned around their lives, they have now become Peers or Staff and are helping others change their lives. He wanted to emulate them.

    While the desire to become a staff was there, there were also doubts. Will he be able to do it, will the hard work get to him… were some of the questions that arose in his mind. He knew his mind would have to be strong to resist the pull of his addiction. The fear of a relapse still bothered him.

    He talked about these fears, and was advised to keep his mind positive and focused and he will be fine. He was advised to talk regularly to seniors so his doubts and fears can be cleared immediately.

    He was interested in the catering line, and was given training in that line. He worked hard and honestly. After completing his training he was given the option of reuniting with his family. But he was not eager to go back yet. He wanted to earn and stand on his own feet before he decides to go back home.

    Because of his interest in staying on at SUPPORT and helping others, he was given the Peer Educators training. After completion, he expressed his desire to become a staff at SUPPORT. He was level headed and quite smart. He was never hasty and would listen to what questions were asked before replying. Considering this, he was graduated to an intern and then a staff manning the kitechen of SUPPORT. T
    There after he has visited his family twice.

    Name: Santosh

    Background – education, family occupation and annual income, number of family members etc.

    Since the age of 7 years Santosh lived in and around the streets and platforms of VT station (now CST). He was very young at the time and has no recollection of how he got there. He remembers that his house was in Dombivli and that his village is Ratnagiri.

    A kind person felt sorry for him and took him to Snehasadan Orphanage at Andheri. There he did very well and managed to study till the 10th standard. He lived at the orphanage from 2000 to 2014. After completing his 10 standard, he was placed on a job at SEEPZ. He worked there as an Office Boy, and continued to live at the orphanage. He earned a salary and saved Rs. 1,20,000 for his future.

    He bought a house at Pandurang Nagar, Wakipada, Naigoan west. He was settling into mainstream life very well and so the orphanage administration gave him the discharge he requested.
    He made friends with other youth in the neighbourhood. After about a year, in their company he started taking drugs. This went on for 4 to 5 years. He used to smoke cigarettes, ganja, tobacco, bidi, gutka.
    What came as a surprise was that even when he lived at the orphanage he used to smoke cigarettes.This bad habit started when he was in the 8th or 9th standard. Occasionally he would even have gutka.
    His addiction began to consume him. He was always in need of money to feed his addiction. He sold his Naigaon house and began to live on the streets.
    Back on the street, he survived doing "wadikam" (cooking and serving at weddings) and any other odd jobs he could get. He would eat free "vardi khana" (street word for food distributed by donor outside hotels and temples) to save his money for drugs. This continued for 3 years. All this changed when he came to SUPPORT.

    Training details

  • Santosh completed the Electricians Training at SUPPORT. He is currently doing his Peer Educators Training.

  • Impact Story:

    He learnt about SUPPORT through one of his friends on the street. He was curious and started visiting SUPPORT's Day Care Centre. Being a regular, he was motivated to join the detox and rehab program. He underwent detoxification and de-addiction program at SUPPORT for 6 months. Through the transformation program he learnt that addiction is a disease. His personal experience too was proof that addiction can ruin your life.
    Santosh was ill-tempered, but through life and inter-personal skills taught through the program, he has become tolerant and keeps his anger in check.

    He showed interest in doing his electricians course. He was therefore given the Electricians training which he completed successfully.

    Santosh is hard working and so when he expressed his desire to become a Peer, SUPPORT happily admitted him for the Peer Educator Training.

    His future plan is to complete his Peer Educator Training and help other children transform their lives. He also wants to study further. Having done his 10th standard, he now wants to do his 12th standard. Given a chance he would like to become a staff at SUPPORT.

    Note: Name changed to protect identity.