Children living and working on the streets form an invisible part of the urban landscape. Surviving on streets many of these children are exposed to different forms of abuse including physical, psychological and sexual and also suffer from malnutrition and other communicable diseases. The vulnerabilities of street children intensify in case of girls who grapple with challenges of sexual abuse, physical insecurities and in worst cases forced prostitution. Therefore, these children especially girls need immediate care and protection.
In an attempt to rescue girls from streets and provide them a secure and thriving environment, Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) provides a comprehensive package of services ranging from shelter, food, medical, education to rescue and restoration to family. With an explicit recognition ofaccentuated security and safety concernsin case of girls, SBThas channelized efforts to provide specialised residential care and other services to girls. One of the first steps of SBT in this direction was establishment of Arushi shelter home/residential centre for girls in Gurgaon.
The shelter home is specially designed to cater to all aspects of a child-friendly home, ventilation, amphitheatre, open space for playing, classrooms and dormitories. Arushi is an initiative to offer 24 hour shelter to girls between the age of 5 years to 18 years living and working on the streets. To enable young girls at the threshold of adult life, their vocational training and rehabilitation becomes an integral programme component at Arushi.
ProjectGoal and Objectives
Against this backdrop, the present project was envisaged and is being executed to achieve following broad goal and specific objectives.
Goal: Providing a safe and child-first environment to girl children from the street for their overall development and to empower them as responsible citizens of the country.
Objectives and activities:
- Providing a safe and secured space for children
- Providing education and recreation
- Restoration and repatriation to family
- Health and nutritional care
- Psychological counselling
- Vocational training and skill development
- Job placement and rehabilitation programme
In tandem with above mentioned objectives, following activities were conducted to meet the stated project targets during the reporting period March 1-August 31, 2016.
- Enrolled 40 children in formal schools
- Provide non-formal education to 40 children, and of these 75 percent would be motivated to join formal schools
Academic and intellectual development of children, positive exposure towards society and preparation of career goals
- A total of 36 girls were enrolled in the formal education out of which 29 girls are going to schools and nine in NIOS in the reporting period.
- A total of six children successfully made a shift from non-formal education to regular schooling. Three new admissions were made to regular schools.
- Non-formal education is being provided to 26 girls. They are being prepared to join the formal schooling system.
- Instilling confidence among girls for English speaking and use of correct grammar remains a challenge. Many girls also face difficulties in mathematics. The team is working hard to motivate girls to improve their mathematical capacities.
- Shortage of teaching staff to tackle the multiple academic needs of children is another issue with the team is grappling.
Food and nutrition
- Provide three hot cooked meal for every girl
- Special nutrition for children as prescribed by doctor
Anthropometric measures (height, weight, body weight)
Health indicators of physical well-being
- Three hot cooked meals are provided to all the girls.
- Besides that we also provide evening nutrition to girls on daily basis and the team also work towards provision of healthy food and snacks as evening nutrition in donation.
- Special nutrition is provided to the children who are unwell.
- Most of the girls in the centre are growing normally with increments in height and weight as per recommended growth standards.
- A total of 221 children were provided meals at the centre.
Physical health care
- Medical check-up of children twice a month
- Medical investigation in within 15 days of registration and repeated after 6 months
- Monthly sessions with counsellors
Physical growth as per ICMR standards
Reduction in malnutrition
Sound physical and mental health
- Medical check up of children is conducted two to three times a month.
- Medical investigation is done within 15 days of registration of a child in the centre and a health performa is regularly filled and maintained.
- Regular mental health and life skill sessions are taken at group and individual levels.
- In the reporting period through health check-ups of 80 girls was done.
- The team is not ableto avail support from reputed hospitals in Gurgaon. For instance, we did not get concession for speech therapy of our girl from MedantaMedicity.
- Repatriation of 10 children (subject to tracing of families and CWC orders)
- Regular follow-up of repatriated children
- Developing strong networking linkages and strengthen advocacy
Realisation of children’s right to stay with family in a safe and secure environment
- The team repatriated 38 girls from March 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017 with due permission from CWC.
- The team established strong networking ties with all legal stakeholders.
- The team also organised quarterly stakeholder meetingsto further strengthen these networks.
- Individual supportive session – all children to be covered within a quarter
- Group sessions with children twice a month
Children’s attitude towards life become positive by helping them overcome their past trauma
- Every child has been covered under individual psychological sessions were conducted.
- Individual sessions- helped children cope with daily stressors.
- Groupgroup sessions were also organised.These sessions encouraged girls to strengthen self-understanding and engage in introspection. The session helped children to share their ideas and thoughts and boosted their self-confidence.
- Sometimes, girls showed little or no interest in the sessions and that in turn affected the quality of the sessions. During group sessions, small girls often remained distracted and engaging them was also a challenge.
Life skill education
- Regular life skill sessions with children (in groups of 10-12 children and twice a month)
Increased and improved decision making power, problem solving skills and life skills, critical thinking among children
- Regular life skill sessions were conducted in the reporting period.
- These sessions have made the girls adept in daily skills. Together they were able to explore their personalities and developed problem solving capabilities.
- Girls sometimes find life skill education sessions monotonous. Therefore, the life skill educator tried tomake these sessions more interesting.
- Enrol 20 children in vocational training
- Enrol children above 11 years in computer classes
Making young girls self-reliant
Mainstream and empower them as respectable citizens of society
- 23 girls have been enrolled in vocational training in the reporting period.
- Computer classes are also being offered to many children in the centre.
- There is a dearth of government institute providing vocational training in Gurgaon.
- The team faces logistical issues in sending girls to these institutes.
In the remaining reporting period, the team plans to build upon English and mathematical skills of the girls. The project team will also make efforts to network with vocational and skill training institutions in Gurgaon and nearby areas. Steps will also be taken to modify the structure of life skill education sessions. On the whole, the team would aim to improve project outcomes and bring substantial differences in the lives of the children being supported under the project.