Protecting the rights of girls living on the streets, Arushi Children’s Home for Girls (CHG) provides them a safe and enabling environment. Functioning in Gurugram, Haryana, the CHG caters to girls rescued from streets and difficult circumstances. Many of these girls come from broken and dysfunctional families, some of them are abandoned while some choose to run away from their oppressive homes. These girls are often in dire need of psychological and emotional support and an environment conducive to their all-round development. Recognising these needs, the team at Arushi provides a carefully planned set of services to the girls. These include shelter, health, education, skill development, and job placement and rehabilitation services.
Realisation of street children’s rights to survival, health, education and development forms the foundation of Arushi’s functioning. Given this overarching goal, the key objectives of the CHG are as follows:
• To provide safe and secure space to girls rescued from streets and difficult circumstances
• To ensure their access to health, education and skill development facilities
• To empower and restore or rehabilitate girls back to their communities
Further, with the generous donor support girls in Arushi CHG have been able to access quality education and specialised skill development/vocational training services. The following sections present an update on overall performance of the CHG during the reporting period (July 2018-March 2019).
Education: The team at Arushi lays a lot of emphasis on education of girls. Keeping in mind the differential needs of girls, formal and non-formal education and open schooling opportunities are offered at the CHG. Additionally, the teachers at Arushi also conduct regular in-house classes to support the girls. In the reporting period, a total of 40 girls were studying in formal schools, while 29 were receiving non-formal education and 9 schools were enrolled in NIOS. The team stressed upon the need of securing good qualification for admission in quality higher education and vocational training institutes. It was heartening to see that girls in different age groups excelled in their studies with clear goals of higher education and skill development in their mind.
Health and Nutrition: Health and nutrition form a critical component of package of services provided at Arushi. The girls are provided three hot-cooked and balanced meals.Apart from this,special nutrition is provided to girls who are under or malnourished as prescribed by the doctor. The Medical Social Worker at the CHG also organises medical and health check-ups and provides first-aid services in case of emergency and facilitates hospitalisation of children when they are seriously ill. The children are also provided psychological support through individual and group counselling sessions organised by a trained counsellor. These sessions are instrumental in helping children get over their negative past and the trauma they experience on streets. Interaction with counsellor also helps children voice their issues, problems, concerns, dreams and aspirations. This helps the team forge stronger bonds of trust with children. During the reporting period, a total of 145 girls were provided first-aid and 28 girls were referred to hospital. All children at the CHG interacted with the counsellor through group and individual sessions.
Skill development and Vocational Training: The aim of skill development and vocational training activities is to not only enable children prepare for their future but also ensure their all-round development. To ensure this, children are linked to various skill and talent development courses such as dance, acting, music and puppetry. Subsequently, children who have passed Class 10 or have turned 16 are also prepared and guided by a career counsellor to pursue various vocational training courses such as beauty culture, hotel management, hospitality and travel and tourism.
: Vocational Training
Job Placement and Rehabilitation Reintegration of girls back into the communities as capable and self-reliant individuals is the key goal of job placement and rehabilitation services. The team at Arushi CHG helps girls in finding gainful employment as also enables them to start a life of their own. The preparation for the same begins as the girls near the age of 18 years. Sessions are organised with career counsellor wherein girls are motivated to lead a productive adult life. During these sessions, girls’ fears of living alone on their own are allayed and a sense of confidence is instilled among them. During the reporting period, sven girls secured jobs in beauty salons, cafeteria and hospitality industry. Key Achievements o Ten girls were rehabilitated during the period. o Majority of the girls got very good marks in their exams. o Seven girls were linked to different skill and development courses. o Five girls from the CHG participated in Inter-state Karate Championship. o Two differently abled girls were enrolled in a special school named Khushbu Welfare Society.
Two key challenges faced by Arushi team include caring for the differently-abled children and mobilising funds for the CHG. The needs of differently-abled children are markedly different, they require specialised care and education. Linking them to special schools becomes challenging, as these schools charge high fees. Arushi team is trying to search for subsidised yet quality educational institutes for these children. Additionally, maintaining the quality of services at the CHG also entails continuous flow of funds. For this, the team has been trying to raise and mobilise funds. However, fund mobilisation remains challenging as staff members remain extremely caught up with their roles and responsibilities at the CHG.
Stories of Change
Ruby (name changed)
Ruby is a 16 year old charming and sensitive girl who came to Arushi at the age of 5. Her parents were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. She had a younger brother as well. Her family was unable to take care of her. In this situation, an organisation named Chelsea (working with people suffering from HIV/AIDS) sent the child to Arushi CHG for her further care and protection.
She was in need of parental care more than institutional care. So Arushi team took care of the child and gave her a lot of love and affection. Ruby was enrolled in non-formal education classes initially. She was also included in all other activities of the CHG. As she performed well in studies, she was enrolled to Anantam Public school. She completed her Class 5 from that school. Due to her good progress in academics. She was transferred to Rotary Public School. Over the years, she opened up to the staff and mingled with other children. She now has a positive outlook towards life, she is a talkative and chirpy girl and wants to enjoy her life to the fullest. She overcame the pain of separation of her family and changed herself during the years. She dreams of becoming an air hostess. Presently, she is studying in Class 10. She is well settled in the CHG and shares a good rapport with staff and children. She has been groomed as a very confident girl. Ruby is being motivated by the team to have sharper focus on her education. So that she can fulfil her dream of becoming an air hostess.
Siya came to the Arushi CHG at the age of 12. She was very stressed when she was sent to Arushi through Police on the orders of Child Welfare Committee. She had a traumatic past, her father died at a young age and the mother abandoned her. However, Siya missed her mother and felt very lonely. To help her get over her traumatic past she was constantly counselled by the psychologist. She was further involved in non-formal education classes and various other activities of the CHG. Soon, Siya started showing improvement in her behaviour and began interacting with the team and other children. Presently, she is well settled at the CHG. She has been enrolled in a formal school. She has shown interest in Dance. Resultantly, the team enrolled her in Classical Dance at Tansen Sangeet Mahavidyalya. The team is also counselling the child to focus on her studies and Mathematics in particular, as she finds the subject difficult. Siya also dreams of becoming an air hostess, the teachers at Arushi CHG therefore, encourage her to speak in English and read newspapers.