Jan 28, 2019

Updates from the girls shelter home

Introduction


The continued support from our donors has enabled Salaam Baalak Trust to support girls rescued from streets and difficult circumstances and provide them a holistic package of care and protection services at the Arushi Residential Centre. Well equipped with all child care facilities, the Arushi Centre provides a child-friendly environment to children. At any given time, it successfully supports around 60 children. Living in the center, the children are able to access health, education, vocational training and job placement facilities. In the year 2018, the girls residing in Arushi have shown holistic improvement in all aspects of their lives. They have excelled in academics and extra-curricular activities during the year. They exude immense confidence and are driven to craft a bright future for themselves.


Progress Update


The followings section provides an overview of girls’ performance in various activities of the center.
Education
Linking children with educational services is one of the core foci of SBT. The girls at the Arushi residential center are being supported through a pliable education programme to cater to their individual needs. The different modes of education offered at the center include formal schooling, non-formal education and open schooling. Teachers with the support of the volunteers took regular classes for children during the year. The academic performance of each child at the center is mapped by the in-house teachers. Additionally, a monthly education report is being sent to the Executive Council to closely map the progress of children.
To improve children’s general knowledge quiz and debates were organized. Career counseling workshops were conducted to streamline children’s higher education choices and guide them on the possible avenues for vocational training. Conscious effort was made to link children to formal schools and help them keep abreast with their school curriculum.


Food and Nutrition
The girls were provided three hot cooked and nutritious meals at the center. Elder girls were involved in preparation of evening nutrition which includes buying groceries (under staff assistance) along with monitoring and distribution of utensils to create a sense of responsibility and discipline. Further, sessions were organized on the importance of choosing nutritious food for school tiffin. These sessions improved girls’ understanding of food, nutrition and balanced diet and resulted in visible changes in their dietary behavior.
The center staff made sure that children sit and eat together. Having meals together helped children bond well and learn the values of sharing food with each other. It has been endearing to see the elder girls taking care of the little ones and ensuring that they eat well.


Health
Sharp focus has been laid on ensuring health of girls in the center. To ensure holistic understanding of health and its components, awareness sessions on good hygiene and sanitation practices including tooth cleaning and hand wash techniques were held. Dental check-ups and tetanus vaccination camps were
organized at the center to cover all children. Children were also immunized against other preventable childhood diseases. In addition to this, special medical attention was given to children if they fall very sick.


Skill Development and Job Placement
The girls who are above 18 and/or have passed Class 10 opt for vocational training. This is a step towards preparing them for their adult lives. Presently the girls are pursuing beauty culture training, guitar classes, piano classes, classical singing and dancing, sketching classes, photoshop editing and English-speaking classes. It is heartening to see that the girls are taking these classes very seriously and working hard to learn as much as they can and complete their respective courses successfully.


Rehabilitation
In the last year eight girls have been rehabilitated. Of these, two girls are associated with Google and working in their cafeteria, four girls are working in different salons. One girl is working in Bajaj insurance company and another girl is working in google as a chef. The center team remains in constant touch with these girls through regular follow-ups. The follow up exercise has been instrumental in assuring girls that SBT team will be there for them in times of need.


Extra-Curricular Activities and Celebrations
The children engaged in following extracurricular activities in the last year.
• Monthly birthday celebration of the girls
• Movie outings
• Girls visited Vishwa Yuvak Kendra and attended seminars
• A quiz was organized at center
• Girl child day was celebrated
• 10 girls visited Aravalli Biodiversity Park
• One child won the best artist award in her school
• Girls went for different activities during the summer camp
• Girls celebrated all various festivals with lot of zeal and spirit
• Children were presented Christmas gifts by a corporate donor
• Girls went to Panchmarhi, Madhya Pradesh for a trip. During the trip they enjoyed natural trails and learnt about flora and Fauna
• Girls also went to an Old Age home and learnt about the needs of elderly


A snapshot of Quantitative Achievements of Arushi Residential Centre from January – December- 2018


Food and Nutrition
80
Education
80
Health Check ups
200 times
Vocational Training and Skill Development
10 girls
Job Placement
10 girls

Challenges
While working with the girls rescued from streets and managing the center, the team faces the following challenges.
• Detailed discussions on provisions of various juvenile legislations has been done with stakeholders.
• In the context of education, many girls find it difficult to cope with the curriculum of age appropriate classes. Towards this, the team is planning to provide bridge course and supportive classes.
• Many girls during the time of their rehabilitation feel very worried and tensed. It becomes daunting for the center team to calm and console them. However, with the help of career counsellor and psychologist, the center team resolves girls’ concerns and worries and prepares them for rehabilitation.


Future Plans
The center team has envisioned following plans to improve the functioning of the center.
• Providing quality education to all children
• Sending maximum number of children to formal schools
• Developing care plan for all children with focus on those above 15 years
• Developing ownership of the center among children through strengthening children’s committee
• Making adequate rehabilitation arrangement of girls who are above 18 years
• Ensuring follow ups of restored and rehabilitated girls
• Optimal networking with corporate and individual donors to enable cost cutting
• Putting in concerted efforts to sensitize CWC to needs of street children

Jan 22, 2019

Education at the shelter homes

Introduction
Recognizing the need to protect the future of the children residing on streets, Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) was established in 1988. SBT’s full care residential centres intend to fulfil street children’s longing for safety and security by providing them a caring and nurturing environment with a sense of security. A safe place to sleep, a small cupboard to store personal belongings, a somewhat set pattern to life (e.g. regulated timings for food, study, play, roll call and going to bed etc.). Additionally, the Trust also has a vision of ensuring access of street children to high quality services ranging from health, nutrition, education, vocational training to job placement.
Arushi children home was the first girls’ home established by SBT, given the accentuated vulnerabilities of girls living on girls to sexual abuse, exploitation and physical violence. Located in Gurugram, Haryana, the home provides shelter to around 60 girls at a time. The home has been designed in a very child friendly manner and is equipped with all the facilities and amenities required by growing children, including, class rooms, play area, dormitory, indoor space for games and in-house classes and computers and digital infrastructure.


Rationale and Context
Under the funded project, quality and inclusive education is being provided to girls rescued from the streets and enrolled in SBT’s Arushi residential home. In recognition of the role and value of education in shaping children’s future, for their intellectual development and transform them into productive citizens, comprehensive efforts are made at SBT’s residential homes.
Education of children at SBT is need-based and demand-driven. To fulfil these criteria, the Trust employs various modes to educate children including formal and non-formal best suited to their existent knowledge and skills. Wherever possible, the objective is to bring children into mainstream education. The overriding goal, though, is to help children develop into informed, capable, and responsible citizens. To these ends. SBT variously engages with the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), formal schools, non-formal education, and bridge courses.


Objectives
The key objectives of the funded project are:
To ensure access of children in SBT’s residential centres to quality and inclusive education
To provide these children additional educational support bridging the learning gaps they have while they are out of school
To prepare and ready children for mainstream education through formal and open schools
Progress on Key Activities
The proposed intervention for which funding support is being sought is on-going. Following activities are being undertaken as part of the intervention.
Determining suitable mode of education for children: Upon registration of children at Arushi home,the staff members conducted a thorough analysis of their background, present interests and readiness and educational skills. Keeping these as benchmarks, they charted out an educational plan for each child. Mostly girls with substantial educational gaps, were provided bridge classes for preparing and strengthening their academic base. Bridge courses are specifically provided to those children who have suffered breaks in their formal education. The programme provides intensive coaching to such children, aiming to help them re-join formal schooling in a class appropriate to their age. During these courses weekly tests were conducted for children. Additionally debates were conducted to improve their knowledge. Following this, according to girls’ educational level and age they were 4 enrolled in a suitable mode of education. For instance, those girls who were in a school and dropped out for a short span of time were linked to a formal school. In other cases, those children who have been out of school for quite some time were provided bridge course to make them ready to join a school.
Enrolling children in formal schools: The trust lays ample emphasis on linking children to mainstream education. A total of 39 girls were linked to formal schools. These girls were eligible and ready to go to a school and were prepared for the same by Arushi’s in-house teachers. The girls were given adequate guidance by the staff members and were motivated to join a school at the earliest. Following this, the staff members applied for children’s admission in good schools located in the vicinity of the centre. All formalities and documentation was completed by the staff members and educational material, uniform, school fee etc. is sponsored by the trust. The girls linked to formal schools are regularly attending their classes and are being constantly supported to keep pace with the school curriculum.
Enrolling in open schools: A number of children who remain out of school for a large span of their life on streets and do not feel confident and comfortable enough to joining regular schools are taught at the centre by in-house teachers. They are rigorously motivated by the staff members including counsellors to get registered in NIOS and progressively clear Classes 8, 10 and 12 to secure minimum qualification to pursue higher education or respectable job. Such girls at Arushi went through bridge courses and were enrolled in NIOS after the bridge classes were over. Two girls supported by the project have been enrolled in NIOS. A total of six girls from the residential home are presently studying through open schooling.
Providing non-formal education: Apart from the above mentioned cases, some girls rescued from the streets had considerable learning gaps. To address these gaps, children were schooled at the centre through non-formal education (NFE). These classes focus on interesting and interactive learning through a participatory approach. A wide range of techniques are employed under the program, including painting, games, storytelling, papier mache, songs, quizzes, bachchon ki adalat etc. Other activities undertaken under NFE classes include, drawing classes, art and craft, reciting rhymes and practising numbers and alphabets. A total of 12 girls are attending NFE classes at Arushi.
Extending regular in-house educational support: All girls in formal, open and non-formal schools are being provided regular in-house educational support by Arushi teachers. In case of school-going children, the teachers helped them in understanding school curriculum and complete their homework and assignments on a daily basis. For children in open schools, the teachers shared the onus of helping children complete their academic syllabus and prepare them for exams. The in-house teachers remain instrumental in conducting non-formal education and bridge classes for children.
Mapping progress: The academic progress of the children was mapped through written examination in schools and centre. Children were marked on their performance at the centre. The centre staff regularly maintained all the documents including progress reports, attendance registers. Educational coordinator made monitoring visits to map the progress of the children and the centres educational activities on the whole.


Progress Report of some of the Children Supported
Brief overview of progress achieved by girls supported by the project is indicated below.
Manisha – She is presently studying in Class 12 in St. Crispin Senior Secondary school. She is doing well in her studies and working hard to score good marks in internal and board exams. She is also learning Bollywood dancing through Tansen Sangeet Mahavidyalya.
5
Lovepreet- She is in Class 10 in St. Crispin Senior Secondary school. She is a fast learner and has been excelling in her studies. She is learning to play Guitar from 4 G global institute.
Sophia- Sophia is presently studying in Class 10 through NIOS. She wants to become a chef and is very keen to join hospitality sector.
Monika- Monika is presently in Class 10 in St. Crispin Senior Secondary school. She wants to pursue a course in veterinary sciences after she completes her education. She will be working for an NGO which working for welfare of animals.
Madhu- Madhu is presently doing bridge course. She aspires to pursue a cooking course and become a chef.
Priyanka- Priyanka is presently studying in Class 10 through NIOS. She is also working under City Walk programme of SBT – a walk conducted by children who once lived on the streets depicting problems and challenges they faced. She intends to join theatre in near future.
Abida- is a 12 year old girl she is suffering attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Despite her psychological condition, she performs daily tasks adequately and at present she is enrolled in the Kitty Garden school in Class 4. In future, there are plans to admit her to Edah Special school.
Pinki-Pinki is regularly attending school and is studying in Class 5 in Kitty Garden school. She is doing well in her studies.
Ritu- She is good in studies. She is in Class 5 in Kitty Garden public school.
Heena- Heena recently cleared her Class 10 exams with 6 CGPA. She has opted for humanities as her majors in Class 11.
Asha- Asha is studying in Class 7 in a Government school. She is a bright child who is serious about her studies and aspires to be a police personnel.


Future Plan
In the next half of the year Arushi team is geared to continually provide quality education to the girls, link more and more girls to mainstream education and prepare adolescent girls for vocational training.

Nov 1, 2018

Annual Tour, 2018

Background

Inspired by Mira Nair's film 'Salaam Bombay' in 1988, Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) grew out of Nukkad – a street-based intervention programme that began working with street children in and around New Delhi Railway Station.

 

A sense of security – be it a safe sleeping place, a small cupboard to store their personal belongings, a somewhat set pattern to life (e.g. regulated timings for food, study, play, roll call and going to bed etc.) gives the children an environment to be creative and grow naturally, yet instils in them the idea of discipline and hard work to achieve their dreams. Once the sheer struggle for survival is over, only then can they begin to articulate and work towards their future.

 

Understanding their need for security, nutrition, and opportunities, SBT started a full-care residential program called Arushi children’s home in Gurgaon. This Home was specially designed to cater to all aspects of a child friendly home- ventilation, amphitheatre, open space around the building for playing, classrooms and dormitories. Arushi is an initiative to offer 24 hour shelter to girls between the ages of 5 years to 18 years living on the streets. The children Home consists of 56 beds for children in 4 dormitories. Each dormitory has 14 beds. Each dormitory is attached with toilet and bathroom. There is kitchen and dining space. There is a medical Van for children in need of medical service.

Introduction

Arushi children’s home offers girls a comprehensive package of services including education, vocational training, skill development and extra-curricular activities. A crucial component of extra-curricular activities forms tours and trips with in and out of the state. Under SBT’s purview of work, these trips are carefully planned as they mean much more than mere exposure visits. The trips serve as a platform for girls rescued from streets to shed their inhibitions, mingle with each other and the staff members and take a fresh look at life leaving behind the past.

 

Girls at a famous temple at Panchmarhi

 

In this sense, the trips have an emotionally recuperative effect on girls which at times is life changing. Many girls upon going for such trips have shared that they were able to connect with other children of their age who have gone through a similar pain in the past. They found a family in these children and agreed to give themselves another chance.

 

Very often, staff members have also observed that children who did not open up or were aggressive had a change of heart once they came back from a trip after spending a lot of time with other girls. As evident, tours and trips at SBT serve a dual purpose of educating the children about the world around and strengthening them emotionally and psychologically. Annual tour, thus, forms an integral part of services provided at Arushi home for holistic development of children. The purpose and goal of the tour is essentially to create awareness among girls and help them gain new perspective about the outside world and bring them closer to each other and the staff members. Girls also get chance to visit places they never been before.

Annual Tour Update

This year the girls went for an annual trip to Panchmarhi, Madhya Pradesh was organized in June, 2018. Around 45 girls and five staff members went for the trip with the permission of Child Welfare committee. The key rationale behind this trip is to enable girls know more about new places, about each other, to develop the culture of sharing and trust.

 

The girls stayed in Chunmun Cottages with a picturesque scenery surrounding them. To ensure that the all the activities planned during the visit rolled out on time, girls formed discipline committees. In the cottages indoor activities were planned to encourage the team spirit among the girls

 

On day one the girls settled down, played indoor games such as badminton, Ludo and got an opportunity to build closer bonds with their housemates and staff members. The next day girls went for a visit to “Jata shankar Mahadev“ temple. The visit helped girls learn about culture and religious prominence of the temple.

 

Girls Bonding with Each Other

 

On next day girls were taken to Pandava caves. The girls were mesmerised to see these ancient and historical caves. They learnt about legends pertaining to Mahabharta period associated with these caves.

 

To emphasise the importance of physical activity and good health, the girls were encouraged to for trekking. The girls woke up early and took up trekking as a physical challenge. Most of them loved trekking and enjoyed walking amidst the nature. On the last day of the trip, the girls went to see beautiful water falls at Dhupgarh and Reechh Garh.

The trip brought girls closer to the nature and history. They learnt a lot during the trip. The trip brought visible changes in terms of strong bonds between the girls and staff, enhanced knowledge about the new places, environment and flora and fauna in particular.

Conclusion

In view of the expected outcomes, it can be said that the tour was extremely successful. The tour met three objectives. These were,

  • Exposing girls to nature and flora and fauna and inculcate a sense of environment conservation among them
  • Strengthening their rapport with each other and staff members
 
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