May 7, 2020

Gurgaon Home - an update

Children are our present and tomorrow. They represent the future of the country, thus, investments in their survival, growth and development are imperative. India as a nation upholds the rights of children as they need care, protection and nurturing. The country also ratified the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Children (UNCRC), 1989 pledging commitment to protect fundamental rights of children to survival, life, development, protection and participation. In line with this vision, various policy and legislative steps have been taken to ensure well-being of children including, the National Policy for Children, 2013 and the National Plan of Action for Children, 2016, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Protection Act, 2016 and launch of the Child Protection Services (earlier known as the Integrated Child Protection Services) among others.

Despite these progressive steps, many children in India still live in difficult circumstances such as runway and missing children, street children, child labourers and those with disabilities. To protect the rights of these children, Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) began its interventions in Delhiand NCR more than 30 years ago. Since then, the Trust has been striving to provide equal opportunities to these children to enable themto grow and thrive and be at par with the children from so called privileged backgrounds.

Education, health, nutrition and vocational training and social reintegration are some of the critical services SBT provides to children rescued from difficult circumstances. SBT offers these critical services through its children’s homes and contact points (day-care centres). The children’s home of SBT are 24*7 residential centres. They form the central platform through which various services are offered to children. Arushi is one of the first children’s home for girls initiated by SBT. The Home provides inclusive care and protection services to girls rescued from streets and difficult circumstances.

Education at Arushi is viewed as a means to enable children realise their intellectual potential, develop social skills and prepare for vocational training and jobs. Linking children to formal education is one of the first steps to make children a part of mainstream society, where they interact, learn and compete with their peers. However, many girls at Arushi hail from impoverished and deprived families and some of them are victims of violence, emotional and psychological abuse. The difficult past of these girls leaves them vulnerable and emotional. They are most often deprived of their right to education and with little or no experience of formal schooling. Many of them are first generation learners.

In such a scenario, rekindling their spirit to learn and study, requires a sensitive and caring approach. Continuous handholding and individual attention, lies at the heart of this approach.The education programme at Arushi aims at providing girls academic support and services tailor-made to their individual needs. The different modes of education offered at the centre include formal schooling, non-formal education and open schooling. Teachers with the support of the volunteers take regular in-house classes for children.They play the role of parents, attending parent-teacher meets, and ensuring that the child is not discriminated in any way in school.

Active collaborations with multiple reputed schools, like Lawrence, Sanawar; Shiksha Bharti; Bharti Vidya Bhavan etc., provides the children with better opportunities and greater exposure. Children with special needs and learning disabilities are given support to blossom to their best abilities. Towards this end, SBT has networked with schools such as ORKIDS, Manovikas, and Amar Jyoti. SBT seeks support for running its on-going education programme.

Under the education programme at Arushi following services are provided:

  • Formal Schooling: Formal schooling involves enrolling children in schools and linking them to mainstream education. The girls at Arushi are studying in different schools including, Rotary Public School, ST. Crispin Senior Secondary School, Kitty Garden Public School and Universal Public School and Arsha Public School. The school-going girls at Arushi are supported through in-house classes conducted by SBT teachers. During these classes, thegirls complete their school homework and assignments and also revise their school syllabi for exam preparation.
  • Non-formal education (NFE): NFE classes are aimed at children who have either not been to school or are drop outs. Since, these children cannot be enrolled into a formal school immediately, they are provided NFE to prepare them for school education. Thus, NFE becomes the first step towards mainstreaming a child into the society. Use of various activities and teaching aids made the NFE classes joyous and impactful.
  • Open schooling is Open schooling is offered to those girls who are not inclined towards regular school education and express a strong desire for pursuing vocational and skill development course. These girls are enrolled under National Institute of Open School (NIOS) and are prepared for exams for milestone classes, namely class 10 and 12.
  • Career counselling is provided to girls who are in their late teens to prepare them for higher education and skill development.
  • Computer and other extracurricular activities also form an integral part of Arushi’s education programme. Computer training, art and craft, public speaking and creative writing sessions are regularly conducted for overall personality development of children.
  • Education material and stationery: Girls are regularly providededucation material and stationery including school books, notebooks and other material such as coloured sheets, Fevicol etc.
  • Tracking progress: Arushi teachers and Education Coordinator closely track the academic progress of children by maintaining their progress reports documenting in detail their initial competencies and skills and progress then on. This detailed tracking helps to identify strengths and weak areas for each child and do course corrections and modifications in present teaching plan and strategies. For instance, some children do well in Mathematics and sciences but face difficulties in languages, they need to be provided extra support in these subjects and vice versa.

    The expected outcomes of the project concern with bringing a transformation in girls’ lives. These are listed below.

    • Girls enrolled in Arushi will go to schools or open schools, measurement through enrolment rates and attendance register
    • They are enrolled in Arushi show improvement in their academic performance, measurement through report cards, performances on test and successful transition rates
    • They are able to pursue skill development courses and secure jobs, girls enrolled in skill development course

Testimonials of Change

Meera (name changed) a 16 year old came to Arushi Children’s Home for Girls from a Christian NGO. Unaware of her family background and home town, Meera came to Arushi Home nervous and tensed. Initially, she remained sad and lonely. Amidst new people and new environment, Meera felt alienated and upset. She also had behavioural issues and had difficulty mingling with other children.

Given her difficult situation, the Arushi team focused on making Meera comfortable and helping her lead a normal life. To help Meera open up, the counsellor conducted regular sessions with her. The team involved her in various activities and extra-curricular sessions and took her for exposure visits around the city. These efforts bore fruit and Meera slowly came out of her shell. She seemed visibly happy and positive and began interacting with other children and Arushi team. Meera actively took part in different activities at the Home and voiced her concerns and thoughts.

While having a heart to heart conversation with a team member, she mentioned about her dream of securing a good job in a big company. The team motivated her to focus on studies. Meera began attending regular in-house classes and diligently studied. Even though Meera was enrolled in a school, she was having difficulties coping up with school curriculum. The team realised that Meera had remained out of school for a very long period of time and found it difficult to adjust to the classroom setting. Therefore instead of a regular school, Meera was enrolled in National Institute of Open Schooling. The strategy worked for her. While Meera is working hard to complete her studies, she is maximising the use of her time by interning at Google Cafeteria’s service section. She considers this as her first step towards realising her dream of working in a big company.

Meera is still a shy and quiet girl but she has certainly shed off her inhibitions. She has transformed herself into a cooperative and ambitious young girl and is determined to achieve her aspirations. Arushi team is sure that she will be successful in her life and emerge victorious. 

 

 

 

 

Jan 24, 2020

our mobile school programme

Introduction

Working incessantly to link marginalised children with quality education, the CHI-SBT Mobile School has launched various innovations in the year 2018-2019. The present report presents a snapshot of key services and new initiatives taken by the CHI-SBT Mobile School. These include laying special focus on linking children to vocational training, organising Aadhar card camps and galvanising support of stakeholders. Along with education services, these steps are aimed at improving quality of life of children and lay the foundation of their secured future. The CHI-SBT Mobile School Team equipped with skills of community mobilisation and education and skill training have worked hard to effectively implement these activities.

Progress Report

The CHI-SBT Mobile School covers two spots in North and North-East Delhi – an area with high concentration of slum and squatter settlements and out of school children. The two spots included Shastri Park and Seelampur. At each of these spots, three hour classes are conducted for children and alongside efforts are made to identify new out of school and drop out children not attending these classes. 

The three hour classes ensure intensive engagement with children and better learning outcomes.

Overview of Activities

The details on various activities conducted at the CHI-SBT Mobile School have been presented below.

 

  • School Admission: The CHI-SBT Mobile School team enrolled children in formal schools. A total of 62 children were enrolled in school in the year 2018-19 as opposed to 41 children in 2017-18.
  • Regular classes: Academic support is at the heart of CHI-SBT Mobile School’s operation. To this end, three hour classes were conducted at the two spots regularly. The school-going children attend their schools and come to Mobile School spots for additional help and assistance in studies. These long-duration classes ensure that children are able to engage in intensive and fruitful learning. The children also enjoy activity-based learning which facilitates strong conceptual learning among children. The activity-based learning includes learning by doing, use of pair and group activities and teaching aids. The non-formal education kit is given to the children for systematic learning. The performance of all children is closely monitored by the CHI-SBT Mobile School teachers to fill monthly assessment forms. 
  • Academic Progress: Gauging academic progress of children becomes key to ensure that desired learning outcomes are achieved. During the reporting period, the academic performance of children in schools was closely monitored. Many children actively sought the support of the CHI-SBT Mobile School team and made efforts to complete their school syllabus. Every time the team is hopeful that children’s hard work will reap good results and they will pass with flying colours. In this process, we find so many children who are giving their best in academic level as we find some of children who never went to school. Given the socioeconomic deprivations these children live in, many of them demonstrate that if given equal opportunities they can excel in studies as well as children from privileged backgrounds. To streamlining the progress tracking of children education files of each and every child was created to decipher the progress. Alternate day classes were conducted so that the teachers could follow up with the school children.
  • Non-formal Education (NFE) Classes: Those children who have been long out of school are not immediately prepared to cope up with the formal schooling. TheNFE classes prepare these children for formal schooling through activity based learning. These classes are conducted based on the pre-designed NFE curriculum and kits designed wherein children are provided opportunities to practice applying the skills they learn. 
  • Art and Craft: Since most arts and crafts activities consist of moving fingers and hands, they help in developing fine motor skills of children and bringing out their creative side. Simple actions like holding a paintbrush and colouring with pencils help strengthen muscles and improve their control. Arts and crafts activities can enhance the children's dexterity and agility. For this reason, children at the CHI-SBT Mobile School are engaged in art and crafts. 
  • School Visits: The CHI-SBT Mobile School team made 20 school visits to facilitate the admission process of new children in schools and get feedback of school going children who have been admitted earlier. During these visits the team interacted with the teachers and requested for their active support to encourage children to be regular in school and for academic support. The teachers assured the CHI-SBT Mobile School team that they will be sensitive to these children’s additional needs. During follow up, it was found that most of the children are regular in school and the support of CHI-SBT Mobile School had helped them to keep pace with the school curriculum.
  • School Meetings (PTM): Teachers of the CHI-SBT Mobile School attended parent teachers meeting held in schools and sought feedback on children’s academic performance and overall progress in schools. These meetings became a forum to bring school authorities and teachers close to parents wherein children’s issues, problems and achievements could be discussed in detail. Attending PTM’s with parents has served as a platform for the Mobile School team to sensitise both the school teachers and parents towards children’s education. 
  • Parents Meeting: CHI-SBT Mobile School team conducted parents meetings to discuss issues and motivate parents to send their children school daily on time in proper school uniform. In addition, significance of maintaining personal hygiene among children was also stressed upon. The team reiterated the importance of education and role of CHI-SBT Mobile School in preparing children for admission in regular schools. The team further encouraged parents to make most out of the resources and support provided by the CHI-SBT Mobile School.
  • Capacity Building: For the teachers’ professional development, capacity building programmes and activities were conducted. These focused on improving teacher’s classroom performance to enhance quality of learning where teachers. These programmes helped children analyse their strengths and areas of improvement. Since most of these capacity building methods are participatory and they develop a culture of shared learning. 
  • Health Check-ups: In order to minimise the incidence of infectious diseases specifically dengue and other infectious diseases such as also flu and cold, the SBT doctors regularly visited the CHI-SBT Mobile School spots and conducted a thorough primary health check-up of all children. Doctors provided medicines to those children who had fever and or needed medication after medical test and diagnosis. As per the planned schedule, the doctor visited each spot once in a week. 

 

  • Celebrations: The children celebrated festivals such as Rakhi, Independence Day, Friendship’s Day at the CHI-SBT Mobile School spots. Sweets were distributed and children danced and enjoyed. These celebrations bring children and the team closer to each other and help them understand the significance of festivals. Teachers painted a flag on children’s faces on Independence Day and tied the Rakhi Bands on their hands. The birthdays of those children who were born in September were also celebrated. Before cutting the cake, the birthday boys and girls recited poems and introduced themselves. Children’s Day was also celebrated with lot of zeal by the children and a painting competition was organised for them. Children enjoyed and savoured these celebrations to the fullest.
  • Exposure Visits: Sleepwell Foundation organised movie outings for children at the two spots. The children at Shastri Park were taken for ‘Super 30’ while those at Seelampur were taken to watch ‘The Lion King’ movie. Post the movie screening children enjoyed delicious lunch and ice-creams. Children were very happy and some of them shared that they had seen a movie for the first time in a movie hall.
  • Sports Activity: Taking part in sports is important for children as it reduces stress and enhances their skills. Sports Day was held in DMRC Children’s Home wherein children fromthe CHI-SBT Mobile School participated enthusiastically.Two of the children stood first and second in various sports day activities. A girl Iram got first prize in Lemon race and Mohd.  Sahid got second position in Chess. Some of the children also participated in Ludo and Carom competitions. Participation in sports day instilled desire of being active and fit.
  • Innovations
    • Vocational Training: Elder children in the community have been linked to vocational training. This is the first time that the CHI-SBT Mobile School team has enrolled children in vocational training with the intent that it will bring about a change in the overall status of the family and would motivate others families to send their girls for vocational courses and enable them to secure jobs. A long term vision is to bring about a change in the whole community through empowerment of youth.
    • Aadhar Camps:Identity proofs become an important requirement for admission of children in formal schools. To this end, Aadhar card camps were organised which doubled the enrolment of children in formal schools. A total of 20 children from Shastri Park and 45 children from Seelampur got their Aadhar cards through these camps.
    • Linking Children to Social Security Schemes: The CHI-SBT Mobile School team is also putting in efforts to link children to various government schemes so that they can avail their benefits.To this end, bank accounts of 62 children were opened. A total of 500 pan cards were made in the community for both adults and children.About 41 girls were linked with Sukanya Scheme.The Scheme is aimed at girls below 10 years of age wherein every year parents have to deposit a minimum of INR 1000 in the account of her daughter and government will give 8.4% interest on deposited money. Once the girl turns 18, 50% of the deposited amount can be withdrawn for higher studies or for her marriage. The Scheme allows deposits to be made in the girl’s name till the ageof 23 years. The Scheme thus, promote empowerment of girls.
    • Stakeholder Meeting: The team is also conducting stakeholder meetings to sensitise the key community influencers such as leaders, shop keepers and experienced people on issues of children particularly their education. The meetings are also a platform to seek their and parents; feedback around the Mobile School activities and its curriculum. The stakeholder meetings will be instrumental for sustaining community support to the CHI-SBT Mobile School. 
    • Plantation and Cleanliness Activity: The CHI-SBT team organised a tree plantation drive by planting 100 saplings at Seelampur and Shastri Park spots. Through this activity childrenlearnt the importance of conserving the environment as the need of the hour to reverse environmental degradation. The children understood that tree plantation is especially important to protect the environment against air pollution and global warming.

     

    Stories of Change

     

    Strong Resolve Reaps Strong Results

    Fahreen an 18 year old young girl hailing from Shastri Park community dreamt of becoming independent and support her family financially. Being the eldest of the five siblings, Fahreen shouldered household responsibility at a young age. Fahreen’s father is a small fruit vendor and due to their poor financial condition Farheen had drop out in Class 5. However her desire to learn did not stop. She picked up many other skills diligently such as stitching. Developing her expertise in the field, she began to stitch clothes for community people. With the help of her sisters she pasted studs on jeans to supplement the family income.

     

    Fahreen was spotted by the CHI-SBT Mobile School during an outreach visit. During the visit it was found that many young adults in the communitywere feeling left out as they did not have any information and support or guidance for training and livelihood programmes. Given this felt need of the community the CHI-SBT Mobile School team took the initiative to motivate and link youth to livelihood training programmes. Farheen was one of the very first beneficiaries to benefit from the initiative.

     

    Farheen’s mother had come to the CHI-SBT Mobile School for the admission of her younger son who is studying in a school and there she shared her concerns about engaging her daughters productively. She mentioned that one of her daughtershad passed Class 12 and the younger one completed Class 10 andthe youngest daughter was studying in Class 5. Believing in the potential of her daughters, Farheen’s mother wanted them to learn vocational skills and secure gainful employment. She shared that the training not only wanted to financially support their family but also become self-reliant. She had tried to find these course options, however, she could not find any such opportunities in Shastri Park.

     

    The CHI-SBT Mobile School extended their assistance to Farheen’s mother in finding vocational training courses. Soon the team found out that an NGO called Jamghat provided free training to underprivileged girls in stitching bags and dresses and making file folders. Upon completion of the training, they help them to provide work so that girls can earn and improve their financial condition. Farheen’s mother was elated to hear this and she immediately agreed to enrol Farheen at Jamghat. Farheen is presently doing the stitching course at Jamghat and doing well. She also aims to utilise her refined stitching skills in generating enhanced additional income for her family. She has also expressed a strong desire to complete her education. The CHI-SBT Mobile School team will be supporting her in continuing her education from National Institute of Open Schooling.

     

    A New Lease of Life

    Ali (name changed), a 7 year old boy lives at Shastri Park community with his siblings including, two sisters and two brothers. His father works as a driver and their financial condition was very weak. His parents therefore, could not prioritise their children’s education in the struggle of eking out a living for themselves.  Resultantly, Ali had never been to school. As part of the outreach activity of the CHI-SBT team interacted with Ali and his family and explained to them about theCHI-SBT Mobile School activities. The team informed them that at Shastri Park the CHI-SBT Mobile School bus reached at 10 am and classes were organised till 1 pm. Ali’s mother visited the Mobile School spot and was very happy to see the community children studying there and enjoying the classes.

     

    From the next day, Ali and his siblings started coming to the CHI-SBT Mobile School spot. Initially Ali and his siblings were hesitant but after constant encouragement by the team they began to regularly attend the Mobile School. They have been attending the Mobile School for past four years. The CHI-SBT Mobile School team enrolled Ali into Class 3 this year. For his admission, the team also issued Aadhar Card for him. Presently, Ali is has begun to go to school and he is showing remarkable progress in his studies. His sister who is in class 6 is also regularly attendingthe CHI-SBT Mobile School.

     

    Journey from Garbage Dumps to School

    Mausam (name changed) a 6 year old lives with her parents in the slums of Shastri Park. She has a sister and a younger brother. Her mother is working as a domestic helper and father is a rickshaw puller.There was often no one to take care of them when their parents went for work. Mausam and her brother longed to go to school and have someone around to talk to and play with. They felt neglected and lonely.

     

    One day when Mausam was playing outside her house with her brother, the CHI-SBT Mobile school outreach worker spotted them. The outreach worker interacted with them and explained to them that a Mobile School van comes for three hours near their house and they must visit the spot. The children initially were scared to step out of the house on their own, however, the CHI-Mobile School team met their parents and convinced them to come to the spot. Their initial experience at the spot was very positive, they were very excited to see other children of their community studying there. Mausam and her brother was extremely thrilled when they were given stationery items and toys to play. They seemed really interested towards these sessions. As a result, the children began to visit the Mobile School daily. Mausam and her brother began attending NFE classes.

     

    Mausam’s parents faced difficulties in looking after their children and sought the CHI-SBT Mobile school team’s help for admission to their children in a nearby government school. Initially, the parents were worried about the school fee and other expenses but the CHI-SBT Mobile School team assured them that they would be provided free education along with scholarship. The parents immediately agreed. Presently, theCHI-SBT team has enrolled Mausam and her brother in a school. Mausam is studying in Class 2 while her brother is in Class 1. Both children are showing keen interest in their studies. Their parents are very thankful to CHI-SBT team for their support.

     

    Future PlanIn the coming year, the CHI-SBT Mobile School team will make efforts to increase parents’ involvement in children’s education for ensuring their regular attendance at the Mobile School spots. The team also plans to organise health camps in the community to create awareness on importance of health and hygiene. Increased focus will be laid on improving teaching pedagogy at the Mobile School to improve quality of teaching and learning. Pedagogic improvements will ensure that children are able to perform well in their studies and achieve better learning outcomes


             

Jan 21, 2020

Psychological Support for the children

Mental Health Programme aims at providing psychological support to children rescued from the streets and ensure their emotional and mental well-being. 

This Programme was able to provide emotional psychological services to children living in residential centres and children affected by HIV.  The project aims to support a total of 550 children living in residential centres of SBT with special focus on children with developmental challenges and learning difficulties.

 

Introduction and Objective

The concept note briefly explains the support sought by Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) to strengthen it’s Mental Health Programme. The key objectives of the programme are as follows.

  • To provide psychological support to children rescued from the streets and ensure their emotional and mental well-being.
  • To provide adequate support to children with learning and developmental challenges by enrolling them to special schools and enrolling them to professional institutions for therapeutic treatment.

 

Thematic Area and Project Activities

  • Structure and Process of the Programme:-
  • Initial counselling sessions conducted with each and every new child enrolled in SBT residential centres
  • Individual counselling sessions conducted on a monthly basis to address the psychological problems and needs of children in the residential centres
  • Quarterly group sessions conducted with children to engage them in art, discussions on life skills and other aspects of life in a play way method
  • Enrolling children with disabilities in specialised institutions
  • Extending in-house academic and psychological support to these children and monitor their progress
  • Quarterly monitoring of activities at each residential centre by Executive Council members and Mental Health Coordinator 
  • Bi-annual reporting of psychological progress of children and educational progress of children. The educational progress would include the following

o   Higher Education Programme

o   Proper short listing and screening of students

o   Admission in various schools

  • Long Term Plan

    • MHP plays a vital role in the development of each and every child who comes to SBT. This year we envision to provide better holistic support to our children with neuro – development difficulties with the aim to help them develop basic self-help skills
    • Through various workshops for the MHP team at SBT we plan develop the capacity and skills of the team enabling them to provideadvanced quantitative therapies to the children.
    • SBT’s MHP programme is recognised as one of its kind due to its uniqueness and focus on professional and trained care. There are several child care institutions such as government run children home who would largely benefit from such training. We envisage two training for external caregivers in the proposed year. It would be a step towardsreplicating our good practices.
 
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