May 12, 2021

general news update from the shelter homes

Salaam Baalak Trust’s residential centres are 24*7 programmes which provide shelter (long- term and/ or short-term) and a package of childcare services based on continuum of care approachtochildrenrescuedfromthestreets.Theservicesincludemedicalcare,foodand nutrition (three hot cooked meals and evening nutrition), psychological support, education, vocational training, job placement, restoration and rehabilitation. The centres also provide sports and latent talent development opportunities for all round development of children. These residential centres are recognized and licensed under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme(ICPS)andtheJuvenileJusticeAct,2015.Theadmissionandcareplanofeachchildis made under the guidance of respective Child Welfare Committees(CWCs).

SBT Residential Centres& Contact points–An overview of workdone in past 6 months

 Salaam Baalak Trust has 7 residential centresand 10 Contact points for children from street and vulnerable situations. The centres have the basic infrastructure –classrooms, play area, computer lab and dormitories. Each centre has a team of trained and compassionate caregivers who work towards the holistic development of the children residing in these homes.For contact points our social and outreach workers strive hard to build bonds of trusts and friendship with children  motivating them to attend our programs at our Contact Points where they have access to education, medical assistance, a healthy meal, life skills and the opportunity of realizing their full potential..

 Nutrition:

 To meet the nutritional needs of children, nutritionally-balanced and hot-cooked meals are served at residential. The meals are prepared in the kitchen space provided at the centre under the supervision of staff members to ensure safe and hygienic practices. In some cases, children have special nutritional requirements due to illness such as tuberculosis and malnutrition. Such children are provided with special nutrition including protein supplements, additional servings of fruits and milk as prescribed by the doctor. During pandemic Protein rich diet is provided to all the children which includes eggs, chicken, paneer on regular basis. Hot water and lemon tea are given regularly  also made part of diet to build immunity.

 Education:

 Education is integral to any child’s development and hence all the children residing in the homes are connected with education either through formal, non-formal or open school of learning depending on the strength of the child. Since last year  most classes were online due to ongoing  Covid19  Pandemic, only  few of our children started attending school  lately and most stayed indoors.Online classes were challenging  as we  were not having ample smartphones or computers and internet availability was making it difficult to conduct.

 Volunteers:

 By mid of 2020, regular volunteering started at various children’s homes. Children were happy to learn from new people and share their knowledge but as soon as the number of cases started going up in Delhi. We have to shift volunteering back to online/virtual mode just like during Lockdown in 2020

Medical Care:

 

Children on the streets live in unsanitary conditions and are prone to various infections and diseases. Therefore, regular medical check-ups of the children are done at the full care residential centres. Whenever required, pathological tests are conducted as per the recommendation of the doctors. We have a full-time doctor employed with SBT solely for this purpose.. Post Covid-19 first wave all children were monitored regularly and with the advent of second wave close montitoring of all children is happening at each centre.If we talk about the current scenario 110 of our children and staff are ill right now, primarily in the residential care homes. Most of them are moving towards getting better but this has increased from 17 sick children just 10 days ago, and the number affected in the outreach centers will be much higher. Due to the Pandemic, there are limited opportunities for children to be constructively engaged There was a surge in mental health concerns of children and staff since the movement and the daily routine has been disturbed. Also shortage of medicines and antibiotics is ahuge concern,

 Mental Health:

 

Full-timementalhealthprofessionals appointedin thecentreprovides psychologicalsupportand counseling tochildren.Thementalhealthand psychologicalsupporthelpschildrenrescuedfromthestreetsgetovertheirtraumaticpast. There are a team of 9 psychologists with a senior Psychiatrist who work towards the management plan of children having psychological difficulties as pandemic is a crucial time for the  mental health of children.

 

Ration Distribution:

Thepandemic,alongwithunexpecteddifculties created opportunities for us to

help and reach out to more people and needycommunities.Our primary work has always been with street children but in the wake of the pandemic, we felt compelledto  help  adults  who  lived  in  the  communities these children came from and other migrants, struggling to survive due to the lockdown and the loss of livelihood. The SBT team did an initial survey to ascertain the needs of large groups at different geographical areas of Delhi, to develop a concrete plan for providing support. With the generous support from donors and sponsors, SBT, after a thorough analysis, provided ration and fresh vegetables to people residing in the slums of Seelampur, Kishanganj, Mansarovar, Shastri Park, Salem Garh, Yamuna Bazar, Mithai Pull, Connaught Place andGhaziabad.

Our team also sensitized people about the virus and the precautions they needed totake.

 Staff duty roster:

 Initially, only few staff members could come to work and this led to classes being irregular. Younger children are particularly being affected due to the lockdowns as its difficult for them to comprehend the scenario.After that everything started getting back to normal but again sudden surge in cases and lockdown affected staff members also and like the first lockdown we have to create roasters if weekly duties at our children’s homes

Apr 30, 2021

Girls Home @ activities during this pandemic

activities being conducted to keep the girls busy
activities being conducted to keep the girls busy

Aarushi Children’s Home is run by Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) for girls in need of care and protection. Located in Gurgaon, Haryana,The  home provides residential services which includes a safe environment, education, food, health care, skill development, Vocational Training, Career Counseling, Mental Health Support, Job placement and Rehabilitation.

Activities:

Health and hygiene-

During this period 59 girls were provided three hot cooked meal, fruits, eggs, milk, nuts etc. They are also being provided with various supplements like vitamin C, Iron , calcium etc. 12 girls were diagnosed with some  physical and mental health issues were provided with an extra nutritious diet. Extra hygiene is being maintained through regular cleaning and sanitization of the premises especially during these difficult times.

Education-

Education plays an important role in a child’s growth. Considering this importance all the girls who can be part of formal schooling are enrolled in school, so 28 girls are continuing their education through schools. Five girls are studying through NIOS and 26 girls were provided classes through Non Formal Education in the home itself with our trained teachers and staff.

Vocational Training and Rehabilitation-

 During the Pandemic most of the vocational training institutes have been closed. But keeping in mind that the girls after a certain age need to be rehabilitated. We have been able to enrolled one girl  in computer classes, and another girl was enrolled in a beauty culture course. One girl received job training in a cosmetics company and one has done a month’s bakery course. Girls go to different institutes to do their courses.

Maintenance and Repair-

Aarushi’s structure is big and we need to get regular maintenance and repair work of the building -  So the girls can have a safe and clean space to live in. During this period all the required repairs were done. Although is has been difficult since all the children were at the shelter due to the pandemic.

Regular electricity and clean  water is available at the centre.

Security at the home

24*7 security is required to ensure the safety of the girls residing in the premises. Two guards are appointed in 2 shifts. They control all the movements to ensure proper safety inside the centre.

Staff ensures  that during these hard times , everyone is engaged in various activities which boost their energy and helps them in their mental health. During this period girls were engaged in activities like computer classes, vedicMaths, Debate, quiz, dance, painting , and meditation etc. All conducted in house 

pics from the homes
pics from the homes
activities being conducted to keep the girls busy
activities being conducted to keep the girls busy
pics from the homes
pics from the homes
Jan 12, 2021

news from our boys residential home in Delhi

 Introduction 

In the 1980s, the making of Mira Nair's ’Salaam Bombay’ (award winning film) revealed the dark underbelly of Mumbai's streets, where several childhoods were at stake. A combination of socio-economic exigencies, political circumstances and parent's struggle for survival created a large population of children, living and working on the streets of India.

SBT provides a comprehensive package of services through its child helpline, contact points and residential centres. Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) started out as a day care centre for street children. Over a period of time, we realised that a safe space is the most critical need for any child to realise his/her own full potential. Thus, we started residential programmes to provide safe child friendly shelter for children rescued from street situations and any other distress situations.

Compliant with guidelines of Integrated Child Protection Scheme and Juvenile Justice Act 2015, we have two Children Home for Girls, two Children's Home for Boys and three Open Shelters for boys to provide 24*7 care and protection services.

 The Trust also has a vision of ensuring access of street children to high quality services ranging from health, nutrition, education, vocational training, restoration and reuniting children with the families to job placement.

                                      

 Key Activities at Apna Ghar

ApnaGhar is an open shelter for boys with a capacity of 50 children. It is located in the Paharganj area of New Delhi which has a high concentration of street children, child beggars and runaways. The home provides short stay facilities to children between the age group of 6-18 years who are rescued from difficult circumstances with a view to reunite them with their families and/ or linking them to long term care.The children living in the shelter get their own beds, clothes and hygiene kits. They spend their day according to a set routine living with other children. The following services are provided in the home-

Food and Nutrition: Besides serving the prime purpose of providing a ‘safe living space’ to children, children’s homes offer a comprehensive package of services including food and nutrition. Children at the homes are provided three hot-cooked, nutritious and well-balanced meals. Evening and special nutrition is provided to children suffering from malnutrition and under nutrition upon recommendation of the doctor.The menu is prepared in consultation with children so that the food of their choice can be

included. It is taken care that each meal has a nutritional value and is a blend of proteins, carbohydrate and fibre and at the same time is appealing to the children. During the pandemic ,many children were unable to go back to their families and in order to keep them healthy they were provided with extra nutrition to boost their immunity. The total no of children benefitedwere 80 for the specified period.

Education: Education of children is given utmost importance at all the children homes. Children whether coming for short stay or long stay are exposed to and involved in educational activities. Given the differential learning needs of children, education is imparted through formal, informal and open schooling. In-house classes are conducted by SBT teachers in a play-way and participatory manner keeping in mind the interest of the child. In a short stay home more focus is alsoto equally work on the functional life skills of children.

During the reporting period, 25 children were linked to formal school, 52 children with non-formal school and 3 with open schooling from July to December.

Efforts were made to connect children with academics virtually so that they don’t miss out on their homework and classes.The team at the centre swiftly upgraded the infrastructure and created a computer lab with good bandwidth and sufficient computers. This helped children to keep pace with their school curriculum and be engaged.

Teacher training programme was also started to help them hone their skills to adapt to the new technology process. It empowered the teachers with the first hand understanding of how online classes are conducted and how to best design online lessons for children.

 

Medical Care: The social medical worker organises regular check-ups and vaccination camps of children. SBT’s in-house doctors conduct these check-ups and camps. Additionally, dental, eye and ear-nose and throat (ENT) check-ups are also conducted at the centres.80 children were provided with the medical care.

During the lockdown, the doctor visited once a week for the check-up of all children. Hygiene kits comprising of sanitizers, soaps, masks were provided to all the children. Multivitamins were also provided so that children do not fall sick.The medical social workers took regular sessions with the children about maintaining hygiene.

Strict protocols were put in place to prevent any infection and the spread of virus.

 

Mental Health and Psychological Support: Children coming from street situations need intensive therapy as they have been exposed to all forms of abuse and have traumatic history making them more vulnerable to mental health concerns. There is a full-time appointed counsellor in the home who takes regular one on one and group sessions with all the children.

In the past 6 months, the focus was on anger issues, stress reduction as children felt irritated and anxious due to the pandemic .

 

The team at Apna Ghar had been staying at the home 24*7 to take care of the children as there was restriction on daily movement. Regular staff support sessions were arranged for the staff by trained Psychologists so that there were fewer instances of burnout and fear due to the scenario.

 

Vocational Training and Job Placement: Children who are above 16 and/or have completed Class 10 are linked to a wide range of vocational training courses. A career counsellor matches children’s skill sets and interest with suitable courses. Based on counsellor’s recommendation children join vocational courses of their choice. Children at SBTchildren’s homes often opt for computer, travel and tourism, fashion designing, beauty culture and hotel management courses. Upon completion of their vocational training courses children are also assisted in finding gainful employment. The centre teams help children in applying for jobs. 5 children were linked with vocational trainings such as baking, photography .

 

Restoration and Rehabilitation: Those children who are missing or run away from their homes often long for their families. The centre team makes effort to reunite the children with their families after a thorough analysis of the situation of the family. Children who can’t be sent back to their families due to various issues are transferred to a long term children home.

32 children during the reporting period wererestoredback to their family .Restoration work had been slow in the past few months as there were restrictions on the movement.

 

Art and Recreation-: Over the past 32 years, the approach has always been to rely on the never-say-die spirit of the children. The engagement of children in various forms of art has been important. 

"Art has always been a fundamental at Salaam Baalak, whether visual, performance or cinematic”. There are numerous stories of children responding to the arts in miraculous ways, including wishing to go back home, abandoning drugs, making friends, getting encouraged to discuss their lives, finding their homes, and most of the times, finding themselves. The 'catharsis' happens here on different levels. Many of the children have gone on to become successful choreographers, photographers, puppeteers, actors, and their capacity to earn money as well as respect in the society as artists is great.

Due to the pandemic, children could not go for their creative classes as planned but efforts were made to link them with music, theatre and art classes virtually. Many volunteers took these sessions and it also helped children to cope with the lockdown stress and fear.

 

Challenges

  • NewchallengesemergedduetoCOVID-19pandemic.Movementofstaffwasrestricted for some time duringthisperiod and there was staff shortage initially.
  • Due to the lockdown, many children experienced mood swings and other psychological issues which were then addressed by the counselor.

Future Plan

SBT team plans to start proactive work on restoration of children since many children got stuck due to the pandemic and were eager to reunite with their families.

Links:

 
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