Over the past year, this project has supported approximately 700 children. At Kalki's drop-in centre, which is in easy reach of children working and begging on the streets of central Pondicherry, approximately 50 children each month attended the crèche/kindergarten, 30 children each month accessed basic services (shower, meals, medical care, play etc), and 120 young girls, exposed to extreme violence and abuse, were provided with sexual/health education, life-skills classes and vocational training. The centre keeps children away from the dangers of the street and provides a stable base from which the outreach team can begin working with the child and their families to create a longer term solution.
Kalki views its centre-based activities as an extension of its outreach work on the streets where the majority of vulnerable children and their families spend most of their time. Kalki’s team of social workers worked with over 250 children during the year with the ultimate aim of reintegrating them back with their families. Six outreach workers operate within the community, each responsible for a different area of the city, informing children of their rights, telling them how to seek help and protection, and encouraging them to visit the centre for further support. Newly established in January 2010, Kalki’s mobile library, stocked with books, videos and educational games, reached more than 300 children each month. Many street children are excluded from mainstream education because they are forced to stay at home caring for younger siblings, work on the streets to support themselves and their families, or school is too far away. The library visits areas with high concentrations of excluded street children and more remote areas, helping them to access basic education and prepare them for reintegration into formal education.
Kalki has also recently established a HIV programme, which supports 140 children in the community by providing them with nutritious food, recreational activities, health check-ups, and emotional support.
Case Study - Raj (10 years old)
Raj comes from a family that has been living on the streets for generations. His mother is a sex worker and he does not know his father. For a long time he was in and out of school but, since joining a gang a year ago and becoming addicted to sniffing glue, he has dropped out of school completely. Raj spent his days hanging around the streets, begging and stealing to pay for drugs and getting into fights with other gangs.
Raj knew of Kalki having seen Kalki’s social workers around town. One of his friends had also told him about Kalki after visiting the drop-in centre. Although initially very skeptical, (thinking the drop-in centre would be like school), Raj decided to have a quick look around. When he arrived he saw his friend painting with one of Kalki’s volunteers. An art lover himself, Raj decided to stay and joined in the class.
Raj now visits the drop-in centre almost daily. He is still not ready to rejoin school as he struggles to remain in one place and concentrate for long periods of time. However he enjoys the art classes and has helped to paint colourful murals in the kindergarten classroom.
He is now more trustworthy of the social workers and is confident enough to speak to them about his past as well as his worries for the future. He is keen to stop using drugs and through the support of the social workers is making good progress. For the first time in his young life, Raj feels respected by adults and valued by those around him. He finally has the self-confidence to believe that he can achieve his dream of becoming an artist.
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