From crime to social work

Our Childline receives over 300 calls from our district every day, from children themselves or concerned adults who consider a child to be at risk. While some cases may be resolved over the phone or through counselling, others require the rescuing of a child from harm. The team fearlessly take on all cases often entering into unknown and dangerous situations where those abusing a child will use force or influence to try to prevent the team completing their rescue. In these cases, it is Ravi who is the first through to door. Here Ravi shares what makes him so fearless in confronting these criminals and thugs.

"My family lived in the old palace premises in Bhingar, a suburb of Ahmednagar city. When I was about 13 years old, the District Superintendent of Police closed all the illegal pubs and gambling dens and I saw an opportunity to earn easy money to support my family. I learnt how to make and sell liquor and was soon making a lot of money. Gambling became my favorite pastime so I started my own gambling and drinking den for friends. One day I had a fight with one of these ‘friends’ and he lodged a complaint with the police. With a mere exchange of 100 rupees and a bottle of country liquor, all the charges against me were dropped.

"By the age of 16, I had started dealing drugs (ganja) and was making even more money which I used to gamble the whole night away with. Needing manpower to transfer drugs, I recruited a gang of local goons and petty thieves, taking responsibility for selling their stolen goods and bailing them out of prison. I was moving up in the criminal world, partnering other gangsters in illegal activities such as English liquor and sandalwood smuggling. My criminal activities began to escalate and with dreams of becoming a Don, I learnt how to use a pistol and was joining street fights. On 14 January 2009, I fought with some local goons over some petty issue and was arrested under IPC 307 for loot, disturbing the peace and eve teasing. I was imprisoned for seven days.

"These nightmare, eye-opening seven days changed my life. Upon release I decided to end all of my illegal activities. It came as a massive shock to my illiterate family, who, unable to see the harm this business was causing me and unable to tolerate the new me, threw me out of the house. Homeless, I had to eat discarded food from the streets and drink bore-well water to survive.

"I have a passion for dancing so previously, amidst all my illegal work, I had visited Ambedkar Bhavan for a dance practice, where I met and developed a good rapport with Jayashree Shinde from Snehalaya Balbhavan. It was while I was destitute that Jayashree called and asked me to help teach a dance class to her students and I met Hanif Sheikh (our Assistant Director of Education) who liked how I interacted with the children and invited me for the opening of Bhingar Balbhavan. After the opening I told Hanif I was looking for a job and a few days later he called me asking me to join the Balbhavan as a teacher.

"Those who knew and hated me as a local goon were so surprised to see me working with Snehalaya. It was a challenge to earn their respect but my hard work and commitment to my new career in social work paid off and after six months I was promoted to project coordinator, with many who had doubted me or previously worked for me in my criminal activities now joining me to work for the slum project.

"Working in the Balbhavan launched a new phase in my life and, in 2015, I moved into my current role as a member of the Childline team, working to uphold the rights of children. I love my new role working with children and making sure they don’t follow the same destructive path I took at their age. While words are my new weapon and I have well and truly left my criminal past behind me, when the team experiences intimidation in our fight against those abusing children, my former experience and daily gym workouts definitely work to our advantage in dealing with their threatening or violent behavior!"

You can help children tempted by a life of crime by supporting our slum community projects and Childline which work to provide fun and educational activities to keep keep them protected and on the right side of the law. Donate here.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Clean Grey
  • Twitter Clean Grey
  • YouTube Clean Grey
  • Instagram Clean Grey

Our partners

Arpan Foundation logo
Asha for education logo
Caring Friends new Logo
Charities Aid Foundation CAF India Logo
curry stone
logo (1)
GI Logo
GKN Sinter Metals
Global Giving logo
ICA logo
Larsen & Turbo
Letz Dream logo
Malala fund logo
MPT logo
Persistent Foundation_logo_0
Toy Bank Logo
wishing well

Snehalaya is a voluntary organisation registered in 1992 under the Societies Registration Act 1960 (Reg No MH2220/A'nagar) and in 1995 under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) Reg No 083720087. It has Tax Exemption Recognition under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act 1961 No.CIT(E)/12A(a)/80G/135/2008-09/1916)


Snehalaya adheres to the norms prescribed for good governance of voluntary organisations and is certified by Credibility Alliance (CA/82/2013)


Snehalaya, Home of Love Project and Snehalaya UK are all trading names for operations in India and beyond that all represent our projects and services operating since 1989 in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - India.


All donations given to any part of our organisation, unless directly specified, will be spent where most needed for the betterment of our beneficiaries in project running costs and in building capacity through organisational development.


Company Registration documents:

Indian Charity Registration details

UK Charity Registration Number: 1157926

Snehalaya Americas, Inc. is a registered 501 c(3) entity, at the following registered address: 30 Sheryl Drive, Edison NJ 08820-1311 


© Images copyright of Snehalaya