In exile, way back home


Shafaqna Pakistan: In June 2012, eight year old Abdul Naeeyn escaped from his own residence in Peshawar out of being physically tortured by an elder brother who would often get frustrated since the death of their parents.

The tormented boy, after exiling home, lived in streets of various obscure localities of the city. Spending extended hours of the day in hunger, thirst and misery with no absolute money, Naeeyn was at the verge of committing suicide until finally he got accompanied by similar street-youth including children, drug addicts, and beggars. He would collect garbage from different dumps of Peshawar all the day long, and sale it to bear his life, below the standard poverty line. He came up with the most likely solution of the fix, openly accessible to all street people in Peshawar, Pakistan.

“The first time I sold myself, I didn’t have any money,” says Naeeyn.

At 16, the boy is a gardener and works part-time for a domestic community in a local orphanage of the city where is offered free food, safety, shelter and education. Talking to him, it is hard to reckon that holding a history of drug abuse and rippled child abuse, Naeeyn still goes through the rehabilitation phases to live a completely healthy-normal life.

“I ran out of my home to save myself, I had no other option,” he says.

Pakistan which is a significant Muslim state playing an active role in world politics, but failed to control sexual exploitation of many thousands of poor and vulnerable children. Nayeen stays one of them, whose narration unveils the unheard. On sharing his story with fidgeting hands, he bows his head in agony blaming himself for so many unresolved fixations of the maiden sexual assault he experienced at a very young age in street.

“Eight and a half, I was little,” Naeeyn pauses to take a sigh of relief.

For Naeeyn in Peshawar, the only source of income was picking garbage in gutters and waste dumps for recycling. Working up to fourteen hours a day, when he would pay rent to book bed in a local street hotel for a night’s stay, he would fall prey to adverse human sexual assaults sometimes by hotel-owners and rest of the times by bus-drivers who would book beds in street hotels and seek him, or other children like him to gratify their sexual needs.

“They would wake me up, tell me to climb the roof of the bus and do bad things with me.” He says.“ Sometimes they offered me a soft drink in return,” he adds.

Back in 2014, he came across the head of an NGO, Afzal Jahangir who was working for the welfare of the street children in Peshawar, ensured him food, education, medication and security.

“They really looked after us, they collect kids from dirty, druggy places and bring them here.”

After spending a time period of one month, he experienced the worst drug withdrawal symptoms in the welfare center. On being prescribed the usage of no drugs, he had already broken his vows of not using them at all.

“Cold winds blew off my head,” he utters. “I experienced surges of needles pricking in and out of my skin,” says Naeeyn.

Like many of the children, who had become drug and sex addicts, he too escaped from Afzal’s center; which barely had a partially sleepy guard to control order, after a month. With no other place to sleep he would hang around the city’s main bus terminal where the beds were laid out in the air each evening for drivers to catch them falling asleep between journeys.

“I was sleeping on bed there once, four people grabbed me and threw me in a car. One was a bus driver, the other three heroin addicts. All four of them raped me, after which I was bleeding and I fainted” he says.

Naeeyn was lucky enough to be brought back to a drug rehabilitation center earlier in 2015, which he never left and began recovering back to normal life. Meanwhile, his family was also traced and he was submitted after six months under the custody of his family members. His family, including an elder brother, uncle and an aunt were also given proper counselling sessions for two months in order to cope up with the psycho-social and physical needs of the boy in a darkest hour of his life and assist him ascend out from all herculean odds of hot water, he had been living in.

“It was a difficult time. I had become an addict. People at the rehab center took good care of me” he says. “I started going to school, lived with my family, and ate good food afterwards. I am a happy man now.”

Source: The Nation (Writer: Amima Rafique)