Faces of Freedom
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Faizan (16), was found roughly 5 years ago in a carpet loom hardly 20 yards away from his home in rural Mirzapur. At the time, his father had developed a clot in the brain and got hospitalised for quite some time. As the financial state of the family deteriorated, young Faizan was sent to work in the neighbouring loom by his mother. “I was paid Rs. 300 for a 5X8 carpet that took roughly 6 days to complete”, recollects Faizan from his weaving days. While Faizan was indeed a child labour, he wasn’t mistreated in the loom and stayed at home with his family at night. However, instead of loitering around and playing after school, he went to work 4-5 hours a day. 
Half a decade has passed since Faizan was rehabilitated to a private school, and he admits that a lot has changed since then. “I regret leaving studies for those 4 months; but I still feel I didn’t see any other option. We barely had anything to eat”, says Faizan, now a 10th grader. Leading a more focused life now, he expresses that he enjoys his classes as much as the leisurely hours he spends with his friends on school field trips.  
As Faizan’s differently-abled brother calls out to him, he says that of course he is tied down by responsibilities; but now, he is more prepared to deal with them. His mother is extremely supportive of his education pursuit and has begun to anticipate his favourable future. She even tries to cheekily negate her son’s idealistic responses. “He loves shoes and his phone. He’ll probably by more of those in future”. Faizan’s journey proves that a dedicated and long-term intervention can unburden young lives that are tied down by social responsibilities.

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