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 juvenile homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai. The tracking program of children discharged from juvenile homes help children get a start which will help them break out of the poverty cycle and fulfill their dreams of a stable future.
Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The trackers 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.
Over the years, as we have interacted with the authorities of the Child Welfare Committe and children in Observation Homes, we have been exposed to another grave need. Many children in Observation Homes have no family or relatives with them in the city and could be taken advantage of, if on the street. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC), after tracing the origins of their family, passes an order for them to be discharged from the Home and reunited with their family. Being a minor, the child has to be physically escorted by two adults. The delay between the order from the court and the reunion with the family can reach up to 12 months. Sahaara saw this need during our visits and interactions with the CWC and children at the Umerkhadi Observation Home. Thus, in 2014, we have begun offering our services to the CWC to escort children back to their home in a timely manner to help them reintegrate into society.
The story of Khushi reflects this new involvment of Sahaara, where (sensing the urgency) we went out of our way to help someone in desperate need.
Khushi is a 17 year old girl who hails from Shivmogga District, Karnatka. She lost her father at the age of 4 and stayed with her mother, two brothers and two sistersin Shivmogga. Almost all of her family members are the rag pickers. Khushi’s mother is addicted to alcohol. When Khushi’s elder brother got married, both the families started staying together and his mother-in-law looked after everyone.
At the age of 15, Khushi’s brother’s mother-in-law forcibly got Khushi married with her neighbour who was a married Nepali man. Khushi had no choice but to spend her whole life with this man. Very soon she became pregnant and in the middle of her pregnancy her husband went to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh to meet his first wife. Khushi delivered a baby girl. She was desperately waiting for husband but and he never turned up. Khushi decided to go in search of him. She left her 3-month-old baby with her mother and started her journey towards Gorakhpur for which she had to catch a connected train from Mumbai.
When she reached Mumbai, a ladies public toilet owner at the railway station kept Khushi with her for 2 days. One concerned women citizen of Mumbai observed this and found something wrong and brought this to the notice of an NGO. That particular NGO then rescued Khushi from the public toilet owner and admitted her in Umerkhadi Observation Home in Dongri in July 2013.
Sahaara staff came in contact with Khushi in the month of January 2014. As a part of our work, our staff traced her address of origin. The Child Welfare Committee then issued an order of escorting her to the Child Welfare Committee in Shivmogga in the same month but due to shortage of the staff, she couldn’t be escorted and was waiting for nearly 6 months. Finally we contacted the NGO who brought Khushi to Umerkhadi Observation Home and together we arranged for an escort.
On 16th of June, 2 female staff of that NGO and one of our male staff along with Khushi journeyed to Shivmogga, Karnataka. The team met with Khushi’s family members. Khushi was desperate to see her daughter but didn’t find her anywhere. After enquiring with her family members, she found out that they had given her daughter away to someone in her absence. On 17th of June, she was presented before the Child Welfare Committee of Shivmogga. The committee passed a decision to send Khushi to ‘Surabhi Ujwala Home’ which we visited and found it to be good for Khushi.
The committee has also ordered Khushi’s family to present her daughter in front of the Child Welfare Committee at the earliest and have kept the ration card of the family into the custody of the committee which they will release only when the baby is presented before the committee.
On 21st June, during a follow up call made to Khushi, she was excited to share with us that after about 11 months she has got her daughter back who was kept with her elder sister. The Child Welfare Committee has handed Khushi over to her elder sister and she is so happy to have found her daughter.
The satisfaction that we could sense in Khushi’s voice during this phone call has been a real reward for all that we could do for her.
Rahila is one such girl who has regained her right to education by the interventions carried out by Sahaara's tracking personnel.
16-year-old Rahila comes from a Muslim family in Mumbai, where she is the youngest among her four sisters and has one brother. When Rahila was 10-year-old, her parents died in a tragic accident. Her elder sister, who was married, took responsibility for all her siblings and brought them to her home. She admitted them in the local school so that they could continue education.
In September 2012, Rahila was 15 years old and studying in Grade 6. When a boy in her locality expressed his affections for her, she was attracted to him. As their relationship grew stronger, the boy convinced Rahila to steal some valuables and cash from her sister’s home and elope with him. In her immaturity, she agreed and they both fled to live at the boy’s relative’s house at Trombay in Mumbai. When her elder sister realised that Rahila is missing, she filed a missing complaint at the local police station. Later, Rahila was found with the boy at Trombay. They were confronted and brought to the police station. Rahila was sent to the Umerkhadi Observation Home and the boy was charged with kidnapping and sent to prison. Rahila’s sister and other siblings were very disturbed due to this incident.
The Sahaara staff met Rahila at the Umerkhadi Observation Home. She was counselled and helped to understand that she has a bright future ahead of her if she uses her potential, and focuses her attention towards her studies. When she realised her error, she was helped to be released so that she can continue education. Our staff also counselled Rahila’s family and encouraged them to allow her to continue schooling. Once they were willing, our staff helped her get admission back in her school.
A year later, in December 2013, the police arrested Rahila once again and presented her before the Juvenile Court in same case of theft, as she was first offender while stealing her sister’s valuables and cash. As Rahila’s elder sister sought our help to get her released, the Sahaara staff arranged a free lawyer and helped Rahila to get acquittal from her charges.
Now, Rahila continues her education through correspondence and attends a Beautician’s course at a nearby parlour.
Your generous donations have enabled Sahaara to provide what is necessary for Rahila to continue her education and have an opportunity to dream of a better tomorrow!
Niraj is one such boy who has regained his right to education by the interventions carried out by Sahaara's tracking personnel.
16-year-old Niraj lives in the suburbs of Mumbai with his parents. His father drives an auto rickshaw for his living and his mother is a housewife. Niraj discontinued his studies when he was in the Grade 9. Due to peer pressure and bad company, Niraj got addicted to drugs and used to be involved in small thefts with his friends which led to his arrest. He was sent to the Umerkhadi Observation Home.
Sahaara staff met Niraj on one of their regular visits to the Home and realised that he is missing out on education. Niraj’s father had disowned him due to his bad habits. Our staff met his parents and spoke to them concerning Niraj’s education and future. They were willing to accept Niraj back. Our staff started counselling Niraj and completed all the formalities to ensure that he was released from the Home. Sahaara is now helping Niraj with admission in a good school so that he can continue his studies.
Through the counsel and guidance of the Sahaara staff, who is continually putting efforts, Niraj is now looking forward to join school in the coming academic year and his desire is to have a good job and a secure life.
Your generous donations have enabled Sahaara to provide what is necessary for Niraj to continue his education and have an opportunity to dream of a better tomorrow!
Shweta is one such girl who has regained her right to education by the interventions carried out by Sahaara's tracking personnel.
Shweta, a 12-year old girl from a Maharashtrian family lives with her mother who works as a house maid. She is the only earning member from the time Shweta’s father deserted them in the year 2003. Due to financial constraints, Shweta’s mother applied for educational help at the Umerkhadi Observation Home.
As Sahaara is registered with Child Welfare Committee to track children who have discontinued their education, Shweta’s name was forwarded to Sahaara staff on their regular visits to the Home. Sahaara staff helped Shweta to get re-admission in Grade 6 at a school for girls who provide free education for the underprivileged children.
We desire to see Shweta’s complete her education and are helping her to continue her studies by tracking on her performance and attendance in her school.
Your generous donations have enabled Sahaara to provide what is necessary for Shweta to continue her education and have an opportunity to dream of a better tomorrow!
Jyoti is one such girl who has regained her right to education by the interventions carried out by Sahaara's tracking personnel.
A 16-year old girl from Mumbai, Jyoti comes from a Maharashtrian family. In May 2013, she had eloped with a boy to Nagpur. Her parents tried searching for her for a month, but after no success, complained about her missing at the local police station. On searching, the police found Jyoti with her boyfriend and brought them to the Umerkhadi Observation Home in Mumbai.
On Sahaara’s regular visit to the Umerkhadi Observation Home, our staff met Jyoti. On conversing with her, our staff realised that she was supposed to begin studying for her board examinations in this academic year. However, eloping with her boyfriend and now being in the observation home posed a hindrance in her continuing education. Realising this need, we decided to help Jyoti and got her released from the Home.
Due to the social stigma she was facing, Jyoti was fearful of going to school. We counselled and reassured her that she could still study. Jyoti is now confident and is going to enrol for her board examinations through distance education.
Your generous donations have enabled Sahaara to provide what is necessary for Jyoti to continue her education and have an opportunity to dream of a better tomorrow!
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