After moving pic of Hyd boy sleeping next to dead mother goes viral, support pours in

The picture of the seven-year-old boy sleeping next to his mother’s lifeless body at a Hyderabad hospital had moved thousands across the country.
After moving pic of Hyd boy sleeping next to dead mother goes viral, support pours in
After moving pic of Hyd boy sleeping next to dead mother goes viral, support pours in
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When seven-year-old Shoeb walked in to the state-run Osmania Gandhi Hospital (OGH) in Hyderabad with his mother late in the night last week, little did he know that his life was going to change forever.

36-year-old Sameena Sultana, a resident of Katedan, was suffering from a cardiac-related problem, and was in a critical state when she arrived. Despite the doctors' efforts, she passed away at the hospital.

Unaware of her death, an innocent Shoeb lay asleep next to his mother's lifeless body, until he was found by volunteers of an NGO.

Since then, Helping Hand Foundation (HHF) has been collecting funds and trying to help the boy, who is presently staying with his maternal uncle and cousins.

"Even as his desperate desire to see his mother Sameena Sultana is a wish that could not be fulfilled by any of us, we are facilitating to ensure that the young boy can come to terms with the appalling tragedy. Our volunteers are in touch with the young boy at the residence of his maternal uncle – where he has now been shifted after the fateful incident – and regularly monitoring his well-being," HHF said in a statement.


"Born on April 4, 2010, both his education and personal life took a hit after his father abandoned the family three years ago, leaving him and his mother to struggle. Being a cardiac patient, the deceased Sameena Sultana could not give the young boy a happy and meaningful childhood," HHF added. 

When asked about being alone in a large hospital like OGH with none of his relatives around, Shoeb told volunteers “I was not afraid.”

The foundation said his unhappy childhood begun after "his mother left the residence of his maternal uncle to live with his foster father – a man the young boy has scant regard for. He claimed that his mother was hit on the stomach with a piece of wood the day she left for the hospital in an autorickshaw." 

“He (foster father) used to beat me too, when I asked for food,” the young boy told the foundation.

While he had joined an informal school for a brief period, he was soon brought home by his ailing mother, who was eking out her livelihood as a cook. 

The foundation also said that Shoeb's maternal uncle who works as a daily wage labourer and earns around Rs 350 a day, already has four people to look after, and lives in a rented two-room house.

A 'Helping Hand'

With many benefactors coming forward to help Shoeb, HHF decided to fundraise and set up a Shoeb Welfare Fund exclusively for him.

"He is still dealing with trauma because of all that he witnessed in the hospital. We are constantly evaluating his mental health and providing counselling. He is at his native village as his family is performing the last rites. Once he is back, we will engage with him and plan his education accordingly, " Mujtaba Hasan from HFF told TNM. 

"While it is easy to generalise and say that he seems alright, it is harder to diagnose such experiences as it will reflect later when he is growing up," Mujtaba added.

The activist says that the response has been heartening as Shoeb's image went viral across the world and gained a lot of traction, even being picked up by international media. 

"Lot of people from places like Australia, Singapore, UK and the Middle East, reached out to us and we managed to channel around Rs 70,000 in funds to ensure his education and livelihood," Mujtaba says.

To keep him distracted, the foundation wanted to buy him some games with the money, but the young boy insisted on a cycle. Volunteers then bought him new clothes and a cycle, much to his happiness. 

As far as his education is concerned, Mujtaba says that it will be a challenge, as he has had no consistent and formal education. 

"We are speaking to the state-run Minority Welfare Residential School, as the boy is still sharp, having been on his own. We will try and accommodate him into joining a higher class directly, once schools are open later this year," Mujtaba said.

"There were also many requests for adoption, but the family is not interested in giving him up, and he will stay with them," he added.

The crowdfunding campaign for Shoeb is still open, and those interested can find further details here.

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