‘Prince’ Charming at Street Smart
Prince is 12 and a special needs child. His stroke as a child has left him partially paralysed down his right side and his speech is halting, quiet and indistinct. He is also more communicative than any child we have ever seen. He has a glorious smile and huge eyes that bat long eyelashes at you. When talking to Prince you are mesmerised, until at the last second you realise what a naughty scamp he actually is… and then you just love him more for it!
Prince’s parents have virtually abandoned him. As the long awaited son after two daughters, their delight turned to horror when he became ill and never fully recovered. Disability in India is often still considered taboo or a sign of bad luck for the family.
Prince roams free, up and down through the twisted winding back streets and lanes of Dehradun. He has his ‘Family’ of street people, some who are a terrible influence (we have found him smoking and drinking and once sniffing glue at the back of the cinema hall) and some who look out for him, feed him and keep him safe.
Prince adopted us on one of our out reach programs in the riverbed community under the Bindal Bridge. He comes daily to our program at the shelter and studies like a sponge soaking up water. He is now part of our little tribe and the older boys have started to look after him on the streets so he doesn’t mix with bad company. Even when he stole a mobile phone the other day, everyone waited patiently until he coughed it up!
Prince is just a normal pre teen looking for attention… and he is charming.