When we first met him, he was alone and scared at Katpadi railway station and we knew he would be an easy target for traffickers and those looking to abuse and exploit vulnerable children.
We talked to him and took him to our shelter nearby so that he could get food, water and a safe place to stay. At first he was reluctant to tell us his story – claiming instead that he had been abandoned and had no family. But as our team gained his trust he explained about his parents and his father’s drinking problem.
Vinay was still studying and tried to keep up his school attendance but it was difficult as he had been staying on the streets and in shelters, and the situation got worse with the arrival of coronavirus last year. He thought he would be safest if he moved back home but soon realised his dad was still drinking and often turned violent.
Understandably Vinay was very wary of seeing his father, who was now remarried, and it took us some time to persuade him to share their contact details. When we did get in touch we asked them to appear before the child welfare committee and to take part in family counselling together. We explained to Vinay’s father how his behaviour was affecting the boy, and helped him understand the impact of his drinking and his angry outbursts.
It was decided that Vinay should stay in a shelter near his school while his father began an alcohol rehabilitation programme and we are following up on the progress the whole family is making regularly. Once Vinay’s father has dealt with his addiction problems we’ll be able to reunite the family and help them build stronger, healthier relationships.