From the street to a new life

Rama Rao, 25 yo, Entrepreneur,

Life Project Center Chelta, Kolkata, India

My name is Rama Rao, I'm 25 years old. Now, I live in Narendrapur with 2 boys from Les Galopins de Calcutta’s home. I would like to tell you about my past story and my present.

Before arriving to this NGO home, I was in Howrah Station. I didn't have place to stay or live, no clothes to wear and nothing to eat. I remember I always used to check the train to find some food and I also collected the newspapers and water bottles from the train or from the road to sell it and get some money. In that time, I was so dirty and always in barefoot. Most of the days, I didn't eat and I slept in Howrah station platform, lying on rags. It was really hard to sleep and police used to come to beat me with a big stick.

« I remember when I was looking at the people throwing some food to the dustbin »

When I didn't have money to eat, I had to beg from the people some food or money to eat and buy clothes. I felt very hungry, I remember when I was looking at the people throwing some food to the dustbin, I picked up it and started to eat to make my stomach full. The situation was constantly repeated and I realize that I had a lot of problems in my life.

After few days, I suddenly saw a woman called Mrs. Fabienne in Howrah Station with some boys. She was speaking with them and giving some food. After she left, I asked one boy who was she and he told me that she is from a NGO, twice in a week, she comes to the platform to distribute food to orphans and spend time with them. Every Tuesday and Friday, around 9am and 10am, she came and I was very happy to think that maybe she will help me.

« I saw her in front of me, I thought why is she white and I'm black ? »

After one week, Mrs. Fabienne came to Howrah Station to meet the boys. I was sitting alone, she called me and finally joined me and gave me some food. When I saw her in front of me, I thought « why is she white and I'm black ? what is the difference between us ? ». She asked my name in Bengali language and she asked me if I had a family. After giving me new clothes, soap to wash myself and eating a good meal in a restaurant, Mrs. Fabienne offered me to come with her at home.

« I was thinking that Kolkata is another country like America. »

I really didn't know that Kolkata is in India, I was thinking that Kolkata is another country like America. When I accepted to go with her at home, I was thinking that we will go to America. We left Howrah Station by bus and I realized that there was a lot of people with my skin color but nobody like Mrs. Fabienne. Even if I didn't know I was in a bus, I was sure that we were going to America.

I finally reached the Boys Home with her in 2001 on 16th June and that was my Born Day for a new life. I joined Bengali medium school where I read up-to class (V) and I started to learn English in another school. At home, I was very naughty and angry but I didn’t know why.

After working on my feelings and speaking with Mrs. Fabienne, I decided to take my life in hand, I learnt rules and commitments to have good behaviour.

« One day, Mrs. Fabienne told me about LP4Y and explained that it's a professional training where you can learn many things to find a decent job. »

Rama and Fabienne Fichet, fondador of the Association "Les Galopins" in Kolkata.

After finishing my class from Boarding School, I started to work in some places to pay rent for my new house but it was very difficult to find a good stable job. In 2015, I got a job in a fast food but my salary was Rs 5500. One day, Mrs. Fabienne told me about LP4Y and explained that it's a professional training where you can learn many things to find a decent job.

I quitted my job and joined LP4Y on 5th January in 2016. I learnt many things like how to be professional in the world, how to talk with people and to give respect. I acquired English, computer and business skills. I did this training during one year.

Louise Phamtran Project Leader Partnership, Rama and Valentine Lesaffre, coordinator India in 2016

« Now, my life is better than before and my salary is Rs. 18000 per month. »

Now, I'm working as a Supervisor in a DRICO Logistics Pvt. My tasks are to check the materials quality, quantity, take the photos of materials, print the barcodes, write the reports in Excel etc. Now, my life is better than before and my salary is Rs. 18000 per month.

I'm very lucky to have Les Galopins de Calcutta and LP4Y in my life. I am thankful for everything that happens to me now, in my new life.

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Life Project 4 Youth Alliance is a federation of 19 organizations in 13 countries whose mission is the development of innovative solutions for the professional and social inclusion of Young people (17-24 yo) from extreme poverty and victims of exclusion. 

LP4Y supports the decent inclusion of thousands of Young people and their families in 41 programs, 20 Life Project Centers, 4 Little Angel Academies, 3 Green Villages, 4 Youth hostels, 2 LP4Y Labs in South East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Europe and America.

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