A disabled boy tied to a bus stop so his grandmother could work represents a problem more with a hideous government system than the caregiver in this instance. No good excuse can come from a child left in the blazing sun on unforgiving pavement with his ankle literally tied to a post long hours everyday.
Daily Mail reports on this story surrounding a boy whose father died several years ago and his mother walking out on the family. Now his only real family support is the grandmother trying to do the best she knows how to take care of him in a country lacking assistance for disabled people.
Lakhan Kale, 9, suffers from severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy; he’s unable to hear or speak. Left with few options in India, Lakhan’s grandmother, Sakhubai Kale, 66, resorted to tying him up so he would remain safe while she worked selling toys and garlands on city streets. The homeless grandmother in Mumbai says:
“What else can I do? He can’t talk, so how will he tell anyone if he gets lost?”
Ms. Kale says if her grandson isn’t tied up, he wanders off and no one protects him walking into traffic.
Lakhan has been raised by his grandmother at the bus stop where only the roots of a banyan tree help shade it. When images of this disabled boy tied to a post fixture made it to a local newspaper, concerns erupted over assistance for individuals with these problems. Lakhan is now in the care of a government-operated institution after social worker, Meena Mutha, found a south Mumbai home that takes in a broad range of special needs people.
Ms. Kale expresses her reaction to all the press:
“I am a single old woman. Nobody paid attention to me until the newspaper report. He was in a special school, but they sent him back.”
This headline is making news in the US on other news sources, such as New York Daily News. The reports add that Lakhan’s grandmother also cares for his 12-year-old sister, Rekha. Rekha must work as well and was forced to leave her brother tied up.
Activists reveal that the boy’s misfortune is common among those with disabilities. They deal with negative stigma on a daily basis in addition to being discriminated against. There aren’t enough facilities to accommodate anyone with special needs.
Social worker Meena Mutha says:
“Residental homes are very, very few. There’s a major need for the government to do something, a social responsibility to provide residential centers for children like Lakhan.”
Mutha continues that government-run centers don’t have the infrastructure and staff to make life easier on disabled people. On another note, she says non-government organizations “have expertise, but not the space” in such a densely-populated city. There are reportedly between 40 and 60 million people with disabilities in India struggling to get the help they need.
Across India, the 40 to 60 million people with disabilities often face similar struggles to get the help they need, according to activists. Many parents of disabled children have locked their children up so they can go to work. The support just isn’t there for people in this segment. A bill in the Indian parliament is pending approval that would give those with disabilities equal rights. This would include access to education, employment, and rights against discrimination. It has yet to be passed, however. It was drafted five years ago.
Inquisitr covered another story about the way children with disabilities are viewed. There was one about an 11-year-old girl in Pakistan charged with blasphemy.
As for Ms. Kale and Lakhan, she looks forward to visiting her grandson once she obtains an official identity card that allows her into the center. Luckily, the disabled boy once tied to a bus stop is free from harm now. Ms. Kale says:
“I am very happy. What else would I want other than for him to be looked after?”
[Image via Getty Images/Daily Mail]