Sahaara Charitable Society

In November 1994, a group of concerned citizens gathered together and decided to bring about change among the most underprivileged people of Mumbai city where very few people want to go. The group also realized that each one of the underprivileged people also have a dream and that it would be a great privilege to work along with the underprivileged to help them articulate their dream and then equip them to see the fulfillment of their dream. With the above vision in mind, Sahaara Charitable Society was registered as a non-governmental organization in 1994 with a vision of "Gifting Dreams". Vision & Mission Everyone has a dream! The poor and underp...
Oct 21, 2014

34 children continuing to grow in Computer skills!

Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children living in Mumbai juvenile homes are one of the most marginalized children in Mumbai. Institutionalized, these children are most often from highly poverty stricken families. 

As a part of the holistic intervention therein, Sahaara imparts computer education to the children between fourteen to eighteen years of age in the juvenile homes. Sahaara’s in-house computer course delivers a fitting foundation to the children preparing their skills for the technology-driven world outside the homes. The children attending the computer training get a start which will help them break out of the poverty cycle and fulfill their dreams of a stable future.

Umed’s* Journey from Notoriety to Nobility

Umed was born in June 1997. His father ran a scrap material business and his mother was a housewife. Umed had six other siblings – four sisters and two brothers. Of his siblings, two of his sisters are married and the other two are at home while his brothers attend a local school.

Umed used to reside with his family in Mira Road - a suburb of Mumbai - where he attended school. While walking to school daily, he and his friend noticed a house, which was locked for many days. One day they decided to tamper with the lock and break into the house. He was fifteen years of age when he broke into the first house. Umed and his friend continued walking this path and they broke into other homes as well and robbed them. They felt that it would not be possible for the police to catch up with them as they were students and the police would probably be looking for adults. In Jan 2014, though, their plans were rudely dashed when the police picked them up and placed them in the Bhiwandi Observation Home because of their age.

Umed stayed there for two months and then was shifted to the David Sassoon Industrial School in Matunga. It was there, in the month of March, that Sahaara met him. He was very quiet and reserved but easy to talk to. In July, when he joined the Computer class, his interaction with the Sahaara staff increased. As they interacted, the teacher got to know about his past and what was the sequence of events that landed him in the Home.

Over the next few days, he opened up and spoke about the bad choices that he had made in life, which had resulted in him being away from his family and staying in an institution. There was a visible repentance from his side as he decided never to walk that path of robbery again.

He says that he wants to grow up and major in computers or an electrical job. He is an enthusiastic learner. Although he is not strong in operating a computer, he is eager to learn and is the first one to show up for class! He is good in Math but his grasp of English is poor and thus he struggles with concepts in the computer class. Acknowledging his weakness, he has now begun to devote more time in learning English words so that he can grow in the skill of operating computers.

He wants to return to his family and live a normal life once he is released in the year 2015.

*Name changed to protect identity.

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Oct 14, 2014

191 children prevented from dropping out of school

Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in observation homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai.

The children who live in these Homes come from different states of India and are educated in a Marathi medium school run by the Home. The language difference makes it difficult for them to learn. Remedial education helps in coaching the children in the Marathi language as well as their school subjects thereby helping them understand what they are learning and maintaining their interest to continue education once discharged from the Home.

Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The social workers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.

Rakesh* is one such boy who has regained his right to education by the interventions carried out by Sahaara's personnel.

Name: Rakesh* (Name changed to protect identity)

Grade: 3rd

Age:12 years old

We met with Rakesh in July 2013 at the Chembur Children’s Home at Mankhurd. He joined our coaching class and was in the 2nd standard.

When Rakesh initially began attending the coaching classes that Sahaara conducts in CCH, he had no interest in his studies and appearance was dirty and his bathing habits were very irregular. He made many attempts to escape from the Home – but he was always caught by the authorities and brought back. In our daily interactions with him we noticed that he was a loner and a very emotional child. He rarely mixed around with the other boys and he was constantly caught up in his own world. As the teachers engaged with him, he slowly began opening up and shared his entire life story.

Rakesh and his family lived on the streets in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai. He and his sister used to beg on the streets and his parents were daily wage earners. One day when Rakesh, he was around 8 years old at this time, and his sister returned home – they could not find their parents. They looked all over – but they could not find them. Not having a place to stay and not knowing what to do now, both he and his sister continued to beg on the streets for a living. A few days later he could not trace his sister either. He searched all over for her – but he never found her. Rakesh was adrift as in a matter of a few days had lost his parents and his sister and wandered around and slipped into bad company and, in a short while, got into substance abuse and began to steal for a living. This continued for some time and, one day, while he travelling in the train with a friend, he was apprehended by the police and placed in the New Observation Home at Mankhurd.  

His addiction to cigarettes and whitener compelled him to make many attempts to run away from the Home – but he was always caught in the act by the guards and brought back. At this tender age he had gone through more than what many have gone through in their entire life. He had a lot of mood swings because of his addictions and his not being able to get to them and this made him frustrated and angry.

But his opening up helped him as, for the first time, he felt that someone was listening to him and actually guiding him. He began sharing about his life and all about his stay and struggles in the Home. This sharing of his and the counsel that he received from the teachers began shaping him and over a period of four months it was noticed that he had begun mingling with other children and made new friends in the Home.

As the staff spoke to him about the importance of studies and appearance – he too began to take an interest in this. He got taken up by the incentives that the staff offered to those children who are regular, neat, focus on their studies and make noticeable attempts to improve their handwriting and is trying hard to get stars and prizes in all these areas!

Rakesh is now one of the more responsive children in the classroom! He is regular, neat and attentive in class and his handwriting has improved and has grown in obedience to the teacher.

Your generous donations have enabled Sahaara to provide what is necessary for Rakesh to continue his education and have an opportunity to dream of a better tomorrow!

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Jul 27, 2014

34 Children enrolled for Basic Computer Course!

Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children living in Mumbai juvenile homes are one of the most marginalized children in Mumbai. Institutionalized, these children are most often from highly poverty stricken families. 

As a part of the holistic intervention therein, Sahaara imparts computer education to the children between fourteen to eighteen years of age in the juvenile homes. Sahaara’s in-house computer course delivers a fitting foundation to the children preparing their skills for the technology-driven world outside the homes. The children attending the computer training get a start which will help them break out of the poverty cycle and fulfill their dreams of a stable future.

Ashok is excited to learn computers!

Ashok* is a 15 year old boy studying in the 4th grade at the DSIS (David Sassoon Industrial School) Home. Ashok’s parents died when he was very young and since then he stayed with his relatives. However, there were financial challenges as they were a poor family.

Ashok thought he could earn some money and so he started working as a rag picker near Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station in Mumbai. He was still a minor at the time. While working one day, he met one of his friends who told him about a catering job in Gujrat. Convinced with the offer, Ashok and his friend decided to go to Gujrat. While they were waiting at CST railway station for the train, some social workers observed these boys, sensed something strange, and so approached the two boys. On interrogation, they found out that the boys were minor and were running away from home for a job. The social workers brought Ashok to Dongri but his friend managed to escape. They admitted him in the Umerkhadi Observation Home. Ashok stayed there for 3 months. None of his family members came looking for him. Therefore, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) shifted him to DSIS Home. From the past 2 years, he is staying in DSIS.

Sahaara met Ashok in June 2014, when he joined Sahaara’s computer training centre that is run at the DSIS home. He was so excited to see the computer and to put his hands on it. He never thought he would ever be able to learn the computer but there he was in the Computer Training Centre! He always came to the class on time, paid full attention to what the teacher taught. He was thrilled when he first used the functions ‘Cut, Copy and paste’ on the computer. During one of the class, Ashok heard his computer teacher saying that the ‘English’ language is very important when it comes to operate the computers. Since then he has started learning English and takes the effort to understand and remember the computer terms. He also spends time practicing typing.

Ashok is a very hard working boy and is a genuine learner who earlier dreamed to just work as a labourer but now dreams to work in an office.

* Name changed to protect identity.

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