Laxmi (name changed) was abandoned by her birth parents when she was just a year old. She was found by the Police and admitted to the SASOON Government Hospital in Pune. Mentally challenged, Laxmi was moved to an institute in Pune. The institute’s efforts to help her develop, unfortunately did not work; she had multiple disabilities. Today Laxmi is 10 yrs. old. She can use her hands to some extent but she has never walked! She understands Marathi but cannot speak.By a High Court Order, Laxmi was recently transferred to the State home for girls run by State government. Earlier a residential arrangement for adolescent girls, the facility was recently, converted into a Home for Special Needs’ Children. In terms of special arrangements that such children require, the Home has none! CSA has helped the Home in many ways in terms of enhanced facilities as also, training and awareness programmes for Childcare and Social Workers. In one such initiative having provided surgical equipments like wheel chairs and walkers, we tried helping those kids who could not walk. Laxmi was one of those children.When the walker was placed before her, Laxmi was very confused and nervous. Soon however, she stood, balanced herself and actually took her very first step! The joy on her face (that beautiful broad smile) had to be experienced; it gave tons of happiness to my heart! I am used to seeing her sitting in a corner with a sad and disturbed expression. This is the first time I saw her smiling. I hope this is her first step towards HOPE! I will watch her closely and always help her all the way. Her success will be my achievement!
The Observation Home for boys in Pune, Maharashtra, has approximately 200 destitute children in the age group of 7-17 years. Many of them are orphans; some have a single parent; others are children whose parents have been convicted and are serving jail terms; a few are those who themselves have been booked for juvenile delinquicy. All of them come from a poor economic background.
The home has an in-campus school that provides education up to the 7th grade. Thereafter, the boys are transferred to other institutes. Since last 3 years however, at the initiative of the Management of the home, some of the talented children are being retained in the Home; they are admitted to the 8th, 9th and 10th grades in nearby schools. The management felt that there was an opportunity to nurture some very talented children and help them in their development.
CSA's objective being the optimisation of rehabilitation outcomes for institutionalised children, the decision of the Home to retain some talented children was encouraged. CSA provides the educational support to these older kids. CSA started a coaching class to help the kids with their syllabus. In addition, CSA introduced vocational training for the children who are conflict with Law and are out of the mainstream of education. CSA started a tailoring unit and dance classes, so that the children acquire skills that could perhaps, offer employment opportunities to the children when they reach adulthood. .
CSA also, aims at ensuring that the children are happy and are exposed to some of the small joys of life that are considered normal. Accordingly, CSA planned activities such as summer camp, festival celebrations, Awareness programs, Hobby classes, children’s day celebration, games, competitions etc.
A significant achievement is that, as compared to 1 and 2 students respectively, who were able to complete their schooling by passing the 10th grade in earlier years, in the year 2010, 9 children cleared the 10th standard exams; one of them, Umesh Lawande scored 80% marks and is now pursuing a Diploma programme in Engineering.
CSA’s aid to help the upcoming higher education students to help themselves will continue, along with the joyful events to spread happiness in the life of this deprived kids. We are aiming at individauls who can be nurtured into becoming independent individuals as adults.
April-May are the summer vacation months in India-that time of the year, when all children are expected to relax, have fun and generally enjoy themselves. Those that live in hostels rush home for the vacation. Institutionalized children in Government Observation Homes and Orphanages are different; not all of them have a home to go to! And so they stay back waiting for each dreary day and the vacations to end.
We at CSA attempt to bring a little cheer into their lives by organizing fun events in their respective institutions. Aware that most of those children miss out on the basic joys of life like savoring the fruit of the season, we used “seasonal fruit’ as the theme for our summer events. We organised ‘water melon get together’ at 4 orphanages covering approximately 250 children in Pune and Orissa.
In addition to enjoying the fruit, the celebrations included dance and merriment, nurturing hobbies such as mask-making with paper dishes, by-lane cricket and health sessions!
Observation Home for girls is the Destitute Home from Pune, Maharashtra, India which shelters around 100 girls from different background. Poverty stricken parents admit there wards in this institute for education. Apart from this single parent’s children, total orphans, girls with conflict with law or the girls found from immoral traffic are also taken care of. The Government receives grant from State Government which is very in sufficient. Therefore they are depended upon the external donations. CSA has been the most important helping hand for this organization.
While working with this destitute home CSA noticed that some of the elder girls are not much interested in education. There is nothing to do for these girls for whole day. They are restricted to go outside the campus for security purpose. Even the school in premises is only up to 7th standard. So CSA took initiative to start with the Tailoring unit for 20 girls. This was a 6 monthly course which helped girls learn the basics to the Full length dresses. Girls enjoyed their time learning new skills. Their creativity was also encouraged as they started thinking of new and innovative ideas. During Diwali Festival these girls came up with challenge of saying that if they are provided with the cloth they are ready to stitch new festival dress to all the inmates. Accordingly CSA provided the cloth for the girls to stitch new dress to all the girls residing in the organization. They successfully completed the task and all the girls wore new cloths on the day of Diwali. They were very happy as usually they get only the old and used clothes received from the donors. This skill will certainly help them becoming self reliant once they are out of this organization.
The sewing machine repairs, raw material, instructor for tailoring etc. are provided by CSA. Recently all the inmates are awarded with the certificate issued from the Human Resource Ministry from state of Maharashtra. After getting good response from the 1st batch, we have started with second batch of another 15 girls for the same 6 monthly course.
CSA would like to Thank You for enabling us to help the destitute girls to help themselves.
The following postcard was written by Jay Marathe who visited CSA's project. Read more postcards from the field on GlobalGiving's In the Field page.
There are times when all of life seems to be contained within a single moment. I visited a home for ‘destitute’ girls in Pune, which is one of the projects that CSA funds. Having met the principal we entered the hall to speak to some of the residents – girls who are in conflict with the law, who have been abandoned by their parents, or who have been found operating as minors in a red light district. Upon entering the hall we were asked to address the girls, who were in a happy hubbub of post-school activity. No sooner had we mentioned the forthcoming Republic Day parade they had launched spontaneously into a series of choreographed cultural folk dances, insisting that we stay for just one more song and then just one more song until we were fully absorbed, enthralled in the energy and spirit of the moment. It was an environment which could have been full of troubled souls, but instead it was a community of happy freedom, where girls re-enforced their own cleanliness and discipline, where issues and problems were openly discussed with the staff and the air was sweet with evident kindness and care. An environment that reminds us that those in the most difficult situations often demonstrate most graciously the power and joy of community. I was impressed with the CSA representative who was familiar with the staff and residents and keen to ensure they were supporting the home where required. Wish you were here ! JAY
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