In the past year, this project has provided care and protection to about 700 children living in Pondicherry and nearby districts. Each child is assigned a social worker who is responsible for designing a ‘development plan’, based on their specific needs and abilities, which outline the care and support they will receive. The plans are reviewed on a regular basis and help to monitor the child’s progress.
130 young girls who used to live on the streets and were exposed to all forms of abuse and exploitation have been offered protection through Kalki’s night shelter (when needed) and provided with sexual/reproductive health education, workshops on confidence building, educational support, professional training and job placement. Younger children (girls under 18 and boys under 14) who were facing similar difficulties or were simply left alone by their parents were also able to use the temporary night shelter.
The Outreach Programme and Drop-in Programme have enabled Kalki to be constantly in touch with the children (and their families) through follow-ups and the identification of new beneficiaries. The outreach team has supported families and children both on the street where they live or through Kalki’s facilities, always keeping in mind that reunification between the child and his/her family should be the final objective, if possible and appropriate. At present, the outreach team is in contact with 260 children.
The Mobile Library has brought education and recreational activities to more than 248 children each month, accessing those areas where no physical presence is possible but where there is a high concentration of children. Touring the town, the Mobile Library also provides education on health, hygiene and child protection.
The Early Childhood Programme, which includes a crèche, kindergarten and pre-school, has supported an average of 75 children under the age of six each day. As well as expert care by experienced and qualified staff, the programme offers nutritious meals, healthcare, early childhood education, and a wide range of stimulating activities for children. These children would otherwise have been left alone on the street or under the care of older siblings while parents are at work. This programme has therefore also enabled the older siblings to attend school.
Finally, with the recently started HIV programme Kalki has supported 140 children in the districts of Pondicherry and Cuddalore by providing them with nutritional food, recreational activities, health check-ups and emotional support. Visits by Kalki’s dedicated social workers have meant that the condition of the children can be continually assessed, while the support of the Mobile Library has meant that areas away from the town can be accessed.