Strengthening the independent will of children and preparing them for a life of their own forms the key component of SBT's work. SBT's philosophy has been to encourage dreams and help transform them into reality –dreams of a job; a monthly salary; four walls to call your own and above all a future. Vocational training, job placement and rehabilitation become the major instruments to lead the minds of SBT children forward into ever-widening thought and action towards fulfilling their dreams.
Vocational training SBT imparts vocational training for employable skill development and capacity building of growing children. Children above 16 years of age or ththose who clear their 10 board exam qualify for vocational training. Choice of vocational training course for a child is made keeping in mind the child's interest and realistic assessment of his/her abilities by a career counsellor and staff members. A measured attempt is made to match the child's skill and ability with the training course he/she opts for. The SBT team makes concerted efforts to enrol children in quality training courses in reputed institutes. The popular choices of courses have been Master Desk Top Publishing, web and graphic designing, multi-media animation, film editing, C++ software, care-giving, house-keeping, puppetry, karate, theatre, macramé and photography. Some of the institutes which provided training were ITI Pusa Road, NIIT, MAAC, Arena Multi-media, Crown Plaza, Taj Mahal Hotel-Mansingh Road, Vivek Sahni's Design House, The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust, YMCA, Triveni Kala Sangam & Ramakrishna Institute of Computers.
“Education is not the answer but education linked with livelihoods is the answer for street children.” Ms. Praveen Nair, Chairperson and Trustee
Job placement and rehabilitation
SBT has conceptualised an effective job placement and rehabilitation programme for reintegration of children who have grown-up/turned 18 into mainstream society. The programme not only has a definite goal to develop dreams and visions but also looks at dream modification and correction. Many a times, children develop unrealistic expectations which may not correspond to the skill sets they possess. It is common to hear children say 'I want to become an actor or a film director or a cricketer' though achievable these aspirations require inherent talent that all children may not have instead they may have abilities to excel in other professions. To address this aspect, as soon as a child turns 16, staff members strike up a conversation with the child around his/her career, regular meetings with the career counsellors are organised and a rehabilitation plan is drawn to prepare the child to step out of the protective auspices of residential centres. The implementation of rehabilitation plan includes interaction with the child steered by the career counsellor and the centre coordinator on a monthly basis. The focal points of these interactions are strengthening a child's resolve towards the career path he/she has chosen and whether the rehabilitation steps are panning out as per the plan or not. Preparation for rehabilitation of a child may be fraught with challenges for him/her as children are sceptical and scared about leading an independent life outside the centre; they may also become angry and hostile or may distance themselves from the staff members. These negative emotions and insecurity of young boys and girls at the threshold of maturity are understandable and staff members help them overcome these emotions by recurrent talks and assurances that SBT team would be a 'call away'. Role model interaction is another important aspect of SBT's rehabilitation programme. Role models are young adults rehabilitated by SBT, who have established themselves as successful professionals. They visit various residential centres periodically to interact with children who are soon to be rehabilitated and share their stories of 'doing well' in the outside world. These interactions offer a platform for young adults who have scores of questions about starting a life of their own in the outside world to get a measure of understanding. The most outstanding feature of these interactions is that they leave children with a feeling that 'If they (role models) can do it so can I' rousing them to work hard and make a mark of their own.
Follow-up post rehabilitation
Once a young adult finds a job, SBT staff arranges for basic requirements of the young adults to start a new life such as rations for a month, utensils, bedding etc. Even after the over 18 child is rehabilitated SBT team maintains contact with him/her to ensure that he/she finds stability and enjoyment in the work. The team also keeps in touch with the employers for a minimum of six months to ensure that rehabilitated persons have adjusted to the new work environment. Due to some unforeseen circumstances if a rehabilitated child quits his/her job, the team begins a process of placing such persons in new agencies. The process of replacement of a young adult is carried out again in cases where he/she expresses dissatisfaction with the second set-up as well. Thus, efforts are put in to make a rehabilitated child self-reliant. In addition SBT also supports young adults who want to study further by incurring 50 percent of the course expense apart from facilitating the admission process. Similarly youths who look at upgradation of their vocational skills through advance courses are encouraged by SBT by making a contribution of upto 75 percent of the course fee. In cases of medical or other emergencies when rehabilitated youth need assistance, SBT provides them immediate succour till five years after their rehabilitation. The of age youth are introduced to a new life with a message that SBT team would be there with them till however long needed. It is because of this reason many children passing out of SBT keep coming to meet the staff members and trustees of the organisations forming a lasting relationship.Attachments: