Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in observation homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai.
The children who live in these Homes come from different states of India and are educated in a Marathi medium school run by the Home. The language difference makes it difficult for them to learn. Remedial education helps in coaching the children in the Marathi language as well as their school subjects thereby helping them understand what they are learning and maintaining their interest to continue education once discharged from the Home.
Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The social workers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.
A STORY CHANGED
There is a beginning and an end to every story. Most times, the beginning is difficult, filled with trial and struggles that are beyond the scope of our imagination.
Firoz* began his life in a small village near Ahmedabad in Maharashtra. He doesn’t remember much; his birthday or his daily life.
But he remembers that he had around ten siblings and that he was thrashed regularly by these people, who should have loved him. He remembers that it became so bad, that at the young age of eight, he ran away from the place that should have been his haven.
To make it even worse, while he wondered where to go, he was involved in a road accident! Bystanders admitted him to a nearby hospital where he was found to have sustained several head injuries. Due to this, and his orphan status, Firoz was sent to the Nivas Matimand Home for mentally challenged children.
This was in the year 2011. By the year 2016, Firoz’s IQ was tested and found to be acceptable for his age.
He was shifted then to Chembur Children’s Home (CCH). Sahaara provides coaching and computer classes for the children who live in CCH.
We met Firoz in July 2016, when he began to attend our coaching classes.
Firoz was very quiet when we first met him. He was unable to read and write, and because of all the trauma he had previously been through, he was too scared to interact even with us. During our group activities in class, he remained quiet and aloof.
Noticing his reticence, we began to counsel and encourage him to participate in our classes. He had been put in our Level 1 class which consists children who are weak at academics. Though Firoz found it difficult and struggled through understanding the subjects at the beginning, with constant encouragement and guidance, he slowly began to pick up speed and become more interested.
We appointed him class monitor during the year and he enthusiastically took over that role. This helped him interact with both us and the other children. He also began to love participating in our Fun Club activities which involve drama and stories every Friday.
At the end of the year, Firoz graded well in Level 1 and was promoted to Level 2 for the coming year. He has slowly become more confident and expressive.
Though the beginning of this story involved struggle and trauma, we hope to stand by Firoz and watch how his story changes with the support and love he needs to grow into a brilliant young man!
*Name changed to protect identityAttachments: