"I am thankful to FXB for its support and guidance in changing my life for the better and pursue my dreams of becoming an artist."
Ramzaan Kaan, former beneficiary of the FXB Day Care Center in Jaipur
“Trust and belief in oneself can help everyone overcome all kinds of challenges and difficulties”, says Ramzaan Khan,17. “Drug addiction can destroy a person’s future and I hope all addicted children would leave the habit as soon as possible. All children, whether they have parents or not, should not take drugs and I am thankful to FXB for its support and guidance in changing my life for the better and pursue my dreams of becoming an artist.” he further adds.
Nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2016
A substance abuse survivor, Ramzaan Khan lives in a slum near the railway station in the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India. He is a source of inspiration for the many children who find themselves, hopeless and aimless at the platform. For his amazing efforts Ramzaan has been nominated for the acclaimed International Children’s Peace Prize 2016. Previous winners of the prize include Chaeli Mycroft and Malala Yousafzai. This year a record 120 children including 10 from India have been nominated for having personally improved the rights of children in their respective countries on themes including Peace, Education and Child Participation.
India has the largest railway network in the world with more than 7000 stations also doubles as shelter for the extremely vulnerable runaway and street children. They are vulnerable to disease, violence and sexual and mental abuse. A 2012 study found 40-70% of street children are victims of substance abuse. Of the children living on streets,more than 20% indulged in sexual behaviour in exchange for either substances or money. Having himself battled through the pain, anxiety and trauma, Ramzaan is considered ‘one of them’. A symbol of courage and determination, children listen to his stories, are inspired by his efforts and want to become like Ramzaan bhaiyya (brother hindi).
At age 9, Ramzaan ran away from home. His life was scarred by a lack of stability and permanence which is key to a healthy and happy childhood. He was born in a small town called in Bihar, a state in eastern India. Fighting abject poverty, his parents moved to Kashmir in north India. Their circumstances did not improve and the meagre family earnings ensured the end of his formal education. The next phase of his life unfolded 700 km away in Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, on a freezing night , when he found himself without shelter at the city’s main railway station. Ramzaan was inevitably drawn to the mysterious substance wrapped in handkerchiefs , a sniff of which allowed you to ignore the cold and fall asleep. His life nosedived into further misery as curiosity transformed into desperation. Soon after, his family (mother and three siblings) joined him in the city, where they made a living through scavenging used water bottles from the railway tracks and selling them to recyclers. Stringent surveillance at the Jaipur station, a busy tourist thoroughfare, pushed Ramzaan further into the drug racket. It provided him a bleak escape from reality.
A break in this life of ennui and despair appeared when in 2011 Ramzaan found himself at the Day Care Center run by FXB in Jaipur.
Through this center, FXB has been provisioning day care shelter , access to counselling services, basic health care facilities, educational support, recreation and other support services to the children directly or by linking them to the service providers. With continued counselling and support, Ramzaan felt connected to the people around him and over the past six years has become an integral part of the Day Care Center. He then commited to help other children with their daily chores at the day care center, teach them dancing, painting and assists in craft classes. His experience of the extreme suffering on the platform led him to form a group of adolescent rehabilitated boys to fight against drug abuse and related violence and has reached out to around 500 children.
A natural leader Ramzaan aspires to sensitize against all forms of violence to children and champion social change through art. His paintings mirror subjects drawn from his experience. The poignance of his thoughts on violence and abuse reflect maturity beyond his years. Ramzan wants to complete his studies and wishes to become a famous artist one day. From initial opposition, Ramzaan’s family recognized his talent and he is now enrolled in FXBIS ‘Suraksha Education Center’ and is found sketching on the computer during his free time. He has now joined a certificate course in painting, and is very enthusiastic about exploring the artist in him. At FXBIS we aim to help Ramzan complete his formal education through distance education format.