Chandigarh: Fifteen-year-old Science Deep Singh lost his father, grandfather and paternal uncle to alcohol addiction. To ensure that no family suffers the same fate, the teenager from Chakk Sher Wala village in Muktsar district has been working with 35 volunteers to spread awareness against liquor and drugs.
Singh visited Chandigarh on Monday to meet Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh who announced that he would bear the cost of the boy’s education.
The chief minister said the state government would upgrade the tailoring skills of his mother Simranjit Kaur to enable her to be gainfully employed. He also asked the deputy commissioner to help Singh’s elder brother Karamjit get a suitable job.
Muktsar SSP Sushil Kumar, who spent the entire day with Singh, said: “This kid is full of confidence. It was inspiring to see how passionate he is towards his mission. He is sacrificing his time to motivate others and is different from other kids.”
Speaking to News18 over the phone, the teenager recalled what inspired him to take action. “Besides losing three family members to alcohol, I have grown up listening to stories of youngsters who have died due to drugs. I was surprised to see that children my age have started smoking.
“Drug use was rampant in our village. Around four years ago, two NGOs — Save The Children and Volunteers For Social Justice — came to our school. With their help, I started creating awareness among villagers about the ill effects of drugs,” he said.
Singh has taken out several rallies against the menace. “Along with rallies, we make posters. We talk to youngsters our age and also prepare street plays and songs to spread awareness,” said Singh, who was inspired by actor Diljit Dosanjh’s role in Bollywood film Udta Punjab, which tackled the subject of rampant drug abuse in the state.
Recalling an anecdote, Singh said when his friend started smoking, he made sure to never leave his side, counselling him about the ill effects of the habit. He eventually kicked the butt. “Similarly, we try to direct youngsters towards sports to keep them distracted. Such activities brought along a huge change not only in my village but also nearby villages of Chakk Chibdan Wali, Gandhara and Nand Garh,” said Singh.
The teenager, who aspires to become an engineer, says the chief minister is his source of inspiration. “When Captain Amarinder Singh said he would eradicate drugs from Punjab, it increased my confidence. But one person alone can’t bring change. All of us need to join hands to end this menace,” he said.