How Aadhaar Helped A Mentally Challenged Teen Get Back Home

Most mental health issues usually go undetected. Yet they are very harmful to one’s health. It changes the mental orientation of an individual and disrupts their normal behavior pattern. Initially, it may seem harmless but in some cases it can reach a stage where the patient loses control over their own behavior. In our country where mental health awareness is low, it was almost a miracle that some of these people who got separated by their family and were lost for long time, made it back home.

Arun Tiwari (17) of Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh, who is mentally challenged, went to a wedding with his family in April 2018. In the rush of wedding when his parents got a little busy, he went missing. The family got worried, searched for him everywhere but couldn’t find him. They even filed a missing report, but nothing seemed to be working. When the family gave up all hopes, it was ‘Aadhar’ that brought them back their happiness. 

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Luckily Arun was found at Yeshwantpur railway station on April 11, 2018 by an NGO. He was then sent to a government-run home for mentally-challenged boys in Bengaluru. He identified himself as Sahil. When the officials went for his Aadhar verification as an aid, his face matched with a card registered under the name Arun Tiwari.

If the word ‘duplicate’ pops up during the registration process, it means the person has already been registered under Aadhaar. In such cases, we co-ordinate with Aadhaar officials and get details about the geographical coordinates of the boy’s family,” said R Nagarathna, superintendent of the government home.

Seeing this, the officials co-ordinated with the Aadhar officials and obtained his family information and address. Further his parents were called who showed all the documents to the Child Welfare Committee and got their child back. After three months he was reunited with his family on July 2, 2018. Since 2017, 16 boys from that government-run home are reunited with their families due to Aadhar. The centre currently shelters 72 boys out of which 8 are above the age of 22. Usually the home shelters boys of age group 12-21. 

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Children must be nurtured at home. Though we take care of them, they miss their parents. They can’t express much as they suffer from intellectual disabilities. We make efforts to locate their families,” said a staffer.

The boys who were reunited, was only because of Aadhar. Call it god’s grace or their luck; they got a second chance in their lives. Arun’s story not just shows the importance of Aadhar, but it also shows the need of mental health awareness. While may see it as a cliché, they need to know it’s the call of the hour. Like every other part of body, brain can also get sick. So there is need to create awareness about both mental health and Aadhar, so that no one should suffer. 

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