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...
Jul 8, 2016

Helping 29 children become computer literate!

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.

Below is the story of a child who has benefited with the help of the computer training carried out by Sahaara personnel.

On The Way To Achieving Dreams

What do you do when you find yourself alone? That’s the overwhelming question Sufiyan* had to answer when he was just 7 years old. His mother and father had just passed away; Sufiyan was too young to know what happened to them both. All he knew was that in the days immediately after, his aunt came to his house and took his two brothers back to her house in Gujarat, leaving Sufiyan to himself in the suburbs of Mumbai.

A lady who lived close by took care of him for a few days but Sufiyan ran away from her house and joined a few friends he had made in that area. For approximately the next 8 years, Sufiyan picked rags off the road, make t-shirts and sell them to people. He lived life on his meagre income from this trade.

In September 2015, when he was around 15 years old, Sufiyan and his friends together decided to rent a house in Mumbra, one of the suburbs of Mumbai. They were all in a disruptive mood and after drinking some alcohol, they tried to steal a mobile phone from an individual at the train station.

The police caught them and as Sufiyan was underage, he was sent to Umerkhadi Observation Home (UOH) and consequently moved to David Sassoon Industrial School (DSIS) four months later.

Sahaara has been holding computer classes in DSIS since 2005, helping the children who live in this home learn new skills that will help them when they leave.

We met Sufiyan in January 2016. When he first began to come to our classes, we saw that he liked to be alone and used to get angry sometimes. He also used to stammer occasionally when he spoke to us. He had difficulty in class as his English language skills were low and he had never operated a computer before.

After we noted these problems, we began to focus our attention on teaching Sufiyan English so that he could understand the computer more. Simultaneously, we also counselled him, pointing out the importance of getting education and studying so that he could have a better chance in the future. Gradually, Sufiyan’s confidence in dealing with programs on the computer grew. He also began to recognise that studying was a way to grow and he has now started to spend some time learning.

We hope to watch Sufiyan fulfil his dream and start his own business selling t-shirts in the future! Sahaara hopes to help many boys like Sufiyan achieve their dreams.

*Name changed to protect identity


Attachments:
Jul 8, 2016

Helping 153 children stay in 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.

THE FIRST STEPS TO SUCCESS

When circumstances overtake us, sometimes all we can do is sit tight and hope for the best. When Upendra* was 9 years old, his parents both passed away. His father was involved in an accident and soon after, his mother contracted an illness that she was never cured of. Upendra and his elder brother and sister were sent to stay with their aunt in Kharghar, in the city of Mumbai.

His aunt admitted him and his siblings into the Additional Observation Home in Mankhurd as she was unwilling to take care of them. He stayed here for a while until he shifted to Bal Kalyan Nagari (BKN), a children’s home, in 2012.

Sahaara has been working in BKN to help the children from the 1st to 5th standards by coaching them in the subjects they study at school. In 2012, when Upendra moved to BKN, he began to attend our coaching sessions.

When we first met Upendra, he was a very aggressive child. He used to beat the other children and found it very difficult to make friends with any of them. The other children were also wary of him and kept him at a distance for most of the time.  He lied frequently and either argued with us or maintained a stubborn silence whenever we tried to interact with him. He was also having difficulties in class as he didn’t know how to read or write and so struggled with the coaching classes.

As we realised what kind of situation Upendra was in, we began to give him more and more personal attention. We counselled and encouraged him, using interactive methods such as flash cards and group activities to get him more engaged with the idea of learning.

Over time, as we persisted with Upendra, we began to notice a change. He argued with us less and started to take part in activities in the class more. He made a few friends and then a few more. With time, he learnt English and Marathi, the language of the state, and he started to enjoy learning and taking part in the coaching classes we held.

We were delighted to see this change in Upendra and we marvel now at how far he has come in the past few years. Upendra has settled down and he enjoys his time learning and making new friends in class. We are sure these are just the first steps towards a successful life. It is our dream at Sahaara to see positive changes like these in the lives of all the children we work with!

*Names changed to protect identity


Attachments:
Apr 5, 2016

153 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.

CHANDINI* BEGINS TO SPEAK UP!

Some people like to be quiet. They are the best people-watchers, those who listen more than they speak and understand more than they appear to. However, sometimes quietness can be a sign of deeper emotional issues.

When we first met Chandini* in 2015, she was extremely quiet. She barely talked, except to answer the few questions we asked in even fewer words. Her father had contracted tuberculosis in ?? and passed away. After his death, Chandini along with her brother Anand* and mother shifted to her grandmother’s house.

Chandini’s mother struggled financially as she was the sole breadwinner of the family. She was very worried about her children’s future. Seeing this, Chandini’s aunt suggested that she admit Chandini and Anand to Bal Kalyan Nagari (BKN), a government home for children whose parents find it difficult to take care of them. Chandini’s aunt had already admitted her children there.

Chandini joined BKN in August 2015. Sahaara conducts coaching classes for standards 1 – 5 in BKN so Chandini, ten years old and in 3rd standard, began to attend our classes as well.

When we first met her, we were baffled about how to make Chandini talk to us. We noticed that in class, she didn’t talk to any of the other girls as well. She took a long time to write anything and her handwriting was almost illegible.

We were especially surprised when we saw that Chandini’s brother Anand  was a good learner and very active and talkative.

We took the initiative to talk to Chandini’s mother about the situation and discovered that, even at home, Chandini was very quiet. She was mostly silent even with the people she had grown up with.

After hearing this, we began to intentionally interact with Chandini more. Despite her silence, we kept asking her what she ate during the day, how she felt about classes and what she studied in school that week.  We also began to practice writing with her so that we could read what she was writing. As we kept persisting through the weeks, slowly we began to notice a change.

Chandini began to replying with more than just a few words. She slowly started to smile at us and her classmates. With time, she began to read and write well. Her handwriting improved and she was able to write much faster than before, keeping up with the class. Amazingly, the other children around her began to ask for her help during class so they could understand the lessons better!

We were so amazed to see this change in Chandini. Today she participates in singing, dance and games during our time together. Recently she said to us “Because of you, I can write write and read well.” Hearing this filled us with such happiness and the hope that we can help many more girls like Chandini in the future!

*Names changed to protect identity


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