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...
Apr 5, 2016

29 children discover the benefits of being 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.

Coaching Kushal* to Confidence

One of the greatest gifts we can have is that of confidence. When we have confidence in our abilities, we can explore and learn many new things. But there are many children who are deprived of the environment under which they can grow in confidence or the essential skills needed to tackle life. 

We began to spend time with Kushal* in 2015. He lives in David Sassoon Industrial School (DSIS), a government home for children until they reach the age of 18. Kushal has been shuttling between homes since his mother passed away in 2011.

He used to stay in a crowded urban slum known as Priyadarshani, in the middle of Mumbai. However in 2008, when he was 7 years old, his father passed away. Post the death of his father, his mother married again. But after she passed away too, Kushal’s new step-father did not want anything to do with the children. Kushal’s sister took them all to visit their mother’s friend who then admitted them to government homes. Kushal and his brother were admitted to New Observation Home (NOH) and his sister to Additional Observation Home (AOH). He lived here for two years until he was shifted to another home for two years, finally coming to DSIS in 2015.

Sahaara has been conducting computer classes in DSIS since 2005. Kushal was enrolled in these classes by the authorities of the Home.

When he first began to come to classes, Kushal didn’t know anything about computers. He found it very difficult to understand the applications and told us he didn’t want to learn. As we encouraged him to keep trying, we discovered that the reason he was hesitant about computers was because his knowledge of the English language was weak and therefore he was intimidated by computers and the programs we were trying to teach him.

When we, at Sahaara, realised this problem, we began to give him special attention. We started to teach him English first and then slowly, about how to use the computer. As he grew in both skills, Kushal became much happier. He was interested in the lessons, learning as much as he could about the computer and what he could do with it.

Through these coaching classes, his determination and self-assurance levels have grown and recently, he told us that he finds it easy to use the computer. He comes regularly to our coaching classes and enjoys exploring all the new applications and programs he can find. Kushal has also been inspired to learn English daily.

We are so glad we could walk beside and coach Kushal, both in understanding a computer and reading English, but more in the art of being confident that any task can be achieved with just a little help!

*Name changed to protect identity


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Jan 8, 2016

21 children discover the benefits of being computer literate!

Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centres 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 that will help them break out of the poverty cycle and fulfil 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.


Caring for Majesh*

Imagine the warmth that comes when you know somebody has your best interests at heart. It is the comfort and security of knowing somebody cares about your future and is willing to help you do the best you can. However, sadly there are many children in our country left to fend for themselves on a daily basis.

Majesh* was one of these children. His father left their home and did not return for many years. During this time, his mother re-married and the family moved to another location. In 2008, when Majesh was 8 years old, his stepfather and mother quarrelled and his mother moved to the suburbs of Mumbai with the children, leaving her husband.

Three years later, disaster struck and Majesh lost his mother to tuberculosis.

Thankfully, Majesh’s uncle took him and his siblings in and tried to take care of them but soon he began to feel the financial strain. In a desperate attempt to get them the care they needed, he left the children outside the Don Bosco Hostel, telling them to play until he returned. He never came back.

Majesh was then taken in by the Hostel and for the next three years he and his younger brother were shifted through four homes finally settling in David Sassoon Industrial School (DSIS) in 2014. This is where we first met Majesh

Sahaara has been conducting computer classes for the children in DSIS since 2005. When we first met him, Majesh was very quiet and had the tendency to get angry. He found it difficult to understand even the basics of computer software.

When we noticed this, we began to counsel Majesh, listening to stories of his past and taking the time to sit with him and teach him how to use computer software, especially those related to charts, photos, bills and mark-sheets.

Today, Majesh’s confidence level in computer knowledge has grown so much that he wants to do a job related to computer studies in the future. He understands Microsoft Word and Excel thoroughly, attends class regularly and shows an interest in computer studies. He would also like to pursue an advanced course in computers as soon as he can.

We found that just assuring Majesh that we had a personal interest in him and cared about his attendance and progress in education, gave him the sense of comfort and security he needed to be able to study well. At Sahaara, we aim to help boys who have lived difficult lives, like Majesh, feel confident and secure about their future!

*Name changed to protect identity

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Jan 6, 2016

139 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.

LEARNING TO WRITE HAPPY STORIES

Once upon a time, there was a young boy named Hardik*. He was quiet, almost verging on silent, a respectful boy in difficult circumstances, struggling to make life better.

Hardik lived in Ghatkopar, a crowded and unhygienic area filled with many people. His parents were divorced and his mother consequently married another man who satisfied every stereotypical description of an ugly stepfather.

He used to lounge around the house most of the time and get drunk on alcohol for most of the day. Hardik’s mother worked hard in an idli-packing factory but she was suffering due to a health issue regarding her kidneys. She passed away while Hardik was still young. After her death, Hardik’s stepfather took every opportunity he could to beat him and his younger brother and sister. He forced Hardik to do all the chores around the house like washing the clothes and making food for him every day. Hardik was only 11 years old.

One day in 2013, his stepfather beat him so badly that Hardik’s hand was fractured. A worried neighbour called the NGO ChildLine and they took Hardik and his siblings to the doctor. They then admitted the boys to New Observation Home and Hardik’s sister in a home in Mankhurd. In June 2015, Hardik and his brother were shifted to Chembur Children’s Home where Sahaara conducts coaching classes for children in 1st to 6th standard.

Hardik joined our classes in June when he moved. When we first met him his writing, reading and interpersonal skills were very low. After his mother’s death, he had been prevented from going to school so he could not read or write a single word. Some of the other children in the class used to tease him because of his problems.

We began to give Hardik extra attention, providing him with books to read and playing games to teach him both the Marathi and English alphabet. Hardik began to open up and share his stories with us, expressing that he was upset because of the other children teasing and provoking him in class. We counselled him, asking him to concentrate on studying and doing better so nobody would have anything to say to him.

Today, Hardik works hard and does well in all his studies! He is good especially in the areas of culture studies and sports and his involvement with his peers and us in class is excellent. He is still a quiet boy but we are watching him grow every day, learning to trust the people around him.

In Sahaara, we love stories like this and we do our best to ensure Hardik and other boys like him across the city, can write happy conclusions to each of their stories!

*Name changed to protect identity

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