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.
CHANDINI* BEGINS TO SPEAK UP!
Some people like to be quiet. They are the best people-watchers, those who listen more than they speak and understand more than they appear to. However, sometimes quietness can be a sign of deeper emotional issues.
When we first met Chandini* in 2015, she was extremely quiet. She barely talked, except to answer the few questions we asked in even fewer words. Her father had contracted tuberculosis in ?? and passed away. After his death, Chandini along with her brother Anand* and mother shifted to her grandmother’s house.
Chandini’s mother struggled financially as she was the sole breadwinner of the family. She was very worried about her children’s future. Seeing this, Chandini’s aunt suggested that she admit Chandini and Anand to Bal Kalyan Nagari (BKN), a government home for children whose parents find it difficult to take care of them. Chandini’s aunt had already admitted her children there.
Chandini joined BKN in August 2015. Sahaara conducts coaching classes for standards 1 – 5 in BKN so Chandini, ten years old and in 3rd standard, began to attend our classes as well.
When we first met her, we were baffled about how to make Chandini talk to us. We noticed that in class, she didn’t talk to any of the other girls as well. She took a long time to write anything and her handwriting was almost illegible.
We were especially surprised when we saw that Chandini’s brother Anand was a good learner and very active and talkative.
We took the initiative to talk to Chandini’s mother about the situation and discovered that, even at home, Chandini was very quiet. She was mostly silent even with the people she had grown up with.
After hearing this, we began to intentionally interact with Chandini more. Despite her silence, we kept asking her what she ate during the day, how she felt about classes and what she studied in school that week. We also began to practice writing with her so that we could read what she was writing. As we kept persisting through the weeks, slowly we began to notice a change.
Chandini began to replying with more than just a few words. She slowly started to smile at us and her classmates. With time, she began to read and write well. Her handwriting improved and she was able to write much faster than before, keeping up with the class. Amazingly, the other children around her began to ask for her help during class so they could understand the lessons better!
We were so amazed to see this change in Chandini. Today she participates in singing, dance and games during our time together. Recently she said to us “Because of you, I can write write and read well.” Hearing this filled us with such happiness and the hope that we can help many more girls like Chandini in the future!
*Names changed to protect identityAttachments: