INDIA: Don Bosco Anbu Illam reunites family
Don Bosco Anbu Illam reunites young man who had been separated from his family for 11 years
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Anbu Illam, located in Salem, India, has reunited a 22-year-old Meganathan Kumar with his parents, Vijaya and Thangaraja, after a long separation. Kumar and his younger brother had been taken from their parents by the owner of a brick kiln due to a debt his family owed when Kumar was just 10 years old.
Kumar and his brother were forced into child labor in the brick kiln. The family, struck by pain and guilt, begged the man to release the boys, but he refused. The brothers labored for years in extreme conditions until a woman took an interest in them.
“She asked us if we were interested in studying,” said Kumar. “I told her that was what I wanted, but that there was nothing we could do but make bricks. Then, a wealthy person called Childline and the next day the police came to rescue us. We were entrusted to Don Bosco Anbu Illam, where we were given shelter and a good education.”
Their life changed dramatically from that moment forward. After finishing their studies, Kumar’s brother found a job as a driver, while Kumar completed his industrial training and worked for a time as a Don Bosco Anbu Illam staff member. Thanks to a colleague, he managed to get back in touch with his parents.
“When we met again, my mother couldn’t stop crying,” Kumar said. While now he has the support of his family, leaving Don Bosco Anbu Illam was not easy. “I was encouraged to study and I was given all the support I could. Now, I want to give back and help people like Don Bosco Anbu Illam helped me.”
India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
Salesian missionaries living and working in India place special emphasis on rescuing and rehabilitating children engaged in child labor. There are Salesian-run programs throughout the country that have helped hundreds of thousands of vulnerable youth through the years, and this work continues today.
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Salesian Missions – India
World Bank – India