Children
 India
Project #10879

Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India

by Sahaara Charitable Society
Vetted

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.

 

FINDING HOPE AND SECURITY

Beginning the day, not knowing whether you will have a place to call home at the end, is one of the worst feelings in the world. Unfortunately, for many children across the city of Mumbai, this situation is one they face quite frequently.

Sharad* was only around 12 years old when his mother passed away due to the elephantiasis disease. His father then shifted to Dubai for work, leaving Sharad in the care of one of the neighbours who lived in an apartment in Grant Road. Before long, this neighbour realised that he couldn’t meet the needs of this young boy and he was subsequently admitted to Umerkhadi Observation Home (UOH) in November 2014.

After four months there, he was shifted to a private home for another four months before he was shifted again to Chembur Children’s Home (CCH), where we met him in July 2015. Sahaara conducts supplementary education classes in CCH for the children who live there.

Sharad began to attend our classes there. When we first knew him, he was an emotionally insecure boy, troubled and disturbed by the things that happened in his past. He had a tendency to burst into tears regularly, as younger children do. Despite this, he was talkative during classes and liked to tease the other children. Sometimes his behaviour was unusually excessive, as he distracted the other children from their studies by making faces and laughing for no specific reason.

Sahaara staff noticed this behaviour and slowly, we began to counsel him. When he was upset, we were there for him, comforting and helping him understand what was happening. We were also able to encourage him to participate in sports, and in the educational activities we conduct during classes.

As we kept counselling and supporting Sharad, we saw a change in the way he began to behave. Today, he enjoys playing cricket regularly with the other children and recently, he confidently presented a speech on national leaders during class. He is class monitor and encourages the other students to behave well, while he has also become well-disciplined as a result of the responsibility handed to him. His favourite subjects now are Maths and English. Sharad has also begun to share with us whenever he encounters any personal issues, and this helps us to encourage and counsel him in a way that builds his value system.

We are so glad to see how Sharad has grown from the first month we met him. We hope to help many other young boys like Sharad find hope and security to look towards a brighter future!

*Names changed to protect identity


Attachments:

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.

DISCOVERING POTENTIAL

Families fight; it is something almost every person in the world has experienced. However, it is a rare day when your father comes home and murders your mother. Krishna* was around 5 years old when he found himself in this situation in 2012.

Krishna had been living on the streets in the slum area of Khar, Mumbai. The area around him was dirty and crowded, filled with many people and unsafe for children. He used to beg on these same streets every day, as his parents were not able to take care of him and his elder sister.

Krishna’s father was an alcoholic and used to physically abuse his wife every night. It was on one such day, under the influence of alcohol, that he murdered his wife. The police heard of the incident and arrested him, sending Krishna to live in New Observation Home (NOH) in 2012.

We met him in 2014 in Chembur Children’s Home (CCH) where he had been shifted. Sahaara conducts coaching classes for children in CCH, supporting them through their time at school with remedial education.

When we first met Krishna, he was malnourished and shabbily dressed. We noticed that he frequently got into physical fights with the other children, pinching his classmates and acting in a generally aggressive manner. He was emotionally disturbed and easily irritated by his surroundings. Krishna was also hesitant to participate in any class activities and his concentration levels were poor.

Once we realised this, we made it a point to interact with him regularly, trying to counsel him and learn what his story was. After a while, he began to talk to us. He began to take our advice, attending class in neat clothes and greeting the children and teachers politely when he came to class in the morning. He also began to pay attention to his studies and that is when we began to see his potential.

Krishna scored good grades in his tests in the following year of 2015! Recently, he took responsibility when we asked him to be the class monitor for a week, behaving in a polite and calm manner that influenced his classmates to do likewise.

Today, Krishna enjoys participating in all the skits, action songs, poetry recitals and art and craft activities like flower-making and colouring that we conduct during our classes. He has also opened up emotionally, letting us know when he is sad that no family member comes to visit him in CCH.

We are so amazed to see these changes in Krishna across the last two years. We hope we are on the road to helping many young boys and girls like Krishna discover their own potential as we support and equip them to face life ahead as much as possible!

*Names changed to protect identity


Attachments:

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.

THE FIRST STEPS TO SUCCESS

When circumstances overtake us, sometimes all we can do is sit tight and hope for the best. When Upendra* was 9 years old, his parents both passed away. His father was involved in an accident and soon after, his mother contracted an illness that she was never cured of. Upendra and his elder brother and sister were sent to stay with their aunt in Kharghar, in the city of Mumbai.

His aunt admitted him and his siblings into the Additional Observation Home in Mankhurd as she was unwilling to take care of them. He stayed here for a while until he shifted to Bal Kalyan Nagari (BKN), a children’s home, in 2012.

Sahaara has been working in BKN to help the children from the 1st to 5th standards by coaching them in the subjects they study at school. In 2012, when Upendra moved to BKN, he began to attend our coaching sessions.

When we first met Upendra, he was a very aggressive child. He used to beat the other children and found it very difficult to make friends with any of them. The other children were also wary of him and kept him at a distance for most of the time.  He lied frequently and either argued with us or maintained a stubborn silence whenever we tried to interact with him. He was also having difficulties in class as he didn’t know how to read or write and so struggled with the coaching classes.

As we realised what kind of situation Upendra was in, we began to give him more and more personal attention. We counselled and encouraged him, using interactive methods such as flash cards and group activities to get him more engaged with the idea of learning.

Over time, as we persisted with Upendra, we began to notice a change. He argued with us less and started to take part in activities in the class more. He made a few friends and then a few more. With time, he learnt English and Marathi, the language of the state, and he started to enjoy learning and taking part in the coaching classes we held.

We were delighted to see this change in Upendra and we marvel now at how far he has come in the past few years. Upendra has settled down and he enjoys his time learning and making new friends in class. We are sure these are just the first steps towards a successful life. It is our dream at Sahaara to see positive changes like these in the lives of all the children we work with!

*Names changed to protect identity


Attachments:

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 identity


Attachments:

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.

LEARNING TO WRITE HAPPY STORIES

Once upon a time, there was a young boy named Hardik*. He was quiet, almost verging on silent, a respectful boy in difficult circumstances, struggling to make life better.

Hardik lived in Ghatkopar, a crowded and unhygienic area filled with many people. His parents were divorced and his mother consequently married another man who satisfied every stereotypical description of an ugly stepfather.

He used to lounge around the house most of the time and get drunk on alcohol for most of the day. Hardik’s mother worked hard in an idli-packing factory but she was suffering due to a health issue regarding her kidneys. She passed away while Hardik was still young. After her death, Hardik’s stepfather took every opportunity he could to beat him and his younger brother and sister. He forced Hardik to do all the chores around the house like washing the clothes and making food for him every day. Hardik was only 11 years old.

One day in 2013, his stepfather beat him so badly that Hardik’s hand was fractured. A worried neighbour called the NGO ChildLine and they took Hardik and his siblings to the doctor. They then admitted the boys to New Observation Home and Hardik’s sister in a home in Mankhurd. In June 2015, Hardik and his brother were shifted to Chembur Children’s Home where Sahaara conducts coaching classes for children in 1st to 6th standard.

Hardik joined our classes in June when he moved. When we first met him his writing, reading and interpersonal skills were very low. After his mother’s death, he had been prevented from going to school so he could not read or write a single word. Some of the other children in the class used to tease him because of his problems.

We began to give Hardik extra attention, providing him with books to read and playing games to teach him both the Marathi and English alphabet. Hardik began to open up and share his stories with us, expressing that he was upset because of the other children teasing and provoking him in class. We counselled him, asking him to concentrate on studying and doing better so nobody would have anything to say to him.

Today, Hardik works hard and does well in all his studies! He is good especially in the areas of culture studies and sports and his involvement with his peers and us in class is excellent. He is still a quiet boy but we are watching him grow every day, learning to trust the people around him.

In Sahaara, we love stories like this and we do our best to ensure Hardik and other boys like him across the city, can write happy conclusions to each of their stories!

*Name changed to protect identity

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Organization Information

Sahaara Charitable Society

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra - India
Website: http:/​/​www.sahaarasociety.org
Project Leader:
Rahul Thomas
Mr.
Mumbai, Maharashtra India
$10,981 raised of $18,600 goal
 
144 donations
$7,619 to go
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