“I live with my parents and other siblings. We were four siblings although one brother died due to his uncontrolled alcoholism. My father and all my remaining brothers are addicted to alcohol and drugs.”
“My second elder brother is addicted to Ganja (cannabis) and other drugs. He doesn’t do any work to earn money. He steals things with his gang of friends. I have tried to tell my father and brothers about its harmful effects but they never pay any attention to me. They come home drunk and then it is war at home. Often my mother is the victim getting beaten by them, particularly by my father. It has been like this my whole childhood. She has never experienced peace in her life: I am the only consolation to her. At the same time, her fear is that I will take the same path as my father and brothers.
“What stops me from falling into such habits is my association with Butterflies. I participate in most of the activities organised at the centre. I am particularly interested in the Child Health Co-operative. I was chosen as the Child Health Educator of the CDC. After the training, I have cleaned and dressed the wounds of several children in the Child Development Centre and in the community. In one instance, I saw a child bleeding after he got hurt running. I approached him and told him that it would become septic if it is not cleaned and dressed properly. He did not know what to do. He was not a member of the CDC. I told him that I can help him: I went to the centre and came with the first aid box and cleaned and dressed his wounds. He was happy and thanked me. My mother who saw what happened was really happy too. It was one of the rare moments in life that I saw a smile on the face of my mother.
“Since then, her dream is seeing me as a doctor. She always speaks to me about it. In a way, that motivates me to learn more about health issues, various diseases and treatments for them. I used to share with her whatever knowledge I gained from being a member of Child Health Co-operative: that 8 glasses of water per day is essential for the good health of children; that there are six to eight steps involved in washing hands properly; the importance of clean surroundings at home. With the help of Butterflies, I believe that one day I will be a successful doctor.
“I am able to speak to you like this only because of the protective environment Butterflies provided me to grow up in. I am sure I would never have been to school. I would not have received so much respect and encouragement if I were not associated with Butterflies. I would have been like the other children in the area, who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was at a higher risk as my father and brothers were addicted. Today I feel confident enough to deal with household problems. I am more focused in my studies and health now”, says a happy Suraj.