Education  India Project #21871

Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children

by Salaam Baalak Trust
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Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children
Salaam Baalak Trust - working for street children

Annual Report of Salaam Baalak Trust (April 2021 to March 2022)

Vulnerable Children Reached and Supported

SBT provided various facilities and services to children in need of care and protection through its long-term and short-term residential centres described below

Name of Centre    - Catering to Boys or Girls

Aasra  Boys

Aasra was the first shelter home started by SBT. With a capacity of 50 it caters to boys between 5 to 18 years. It is located in Najafgarh, New Delhi.

 ApnaGhar  Boys

It is a short stay centre, where 30 children come stay short duration and then they are either restored or placed in a long stay home. The centre is located in Multani Dhanda Paharganj, Delhi

DMRC  Boys

DMRC Children’s Home was established as part of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s corporate social responsibility. The home houses 125 boys from the age of five to below 18 years. It is located near Tis Hazari Court, Delhi

Old Delhi Railway Station (ODRS) Open Shelter Boys

ODRS is an open centre catering to 30 boys. It is a short stay centre, where children come for a short duration and then they are either restored or placed in a long stay home.

Arushi Girls

Arushi was first girls’ shelter home under SBT. It is an initiative to offer 24 hour shelter to 50 girls between the ages of five years to 18 years living on the streets. The centre is located in Gurgaon.

Udaan-Rose Girls

Udaan-Rose Home was initiated with the support of Give 2 Asia in March 2010. It started with eight girls and currently shelters 60 girls at a time. This home is located in Kamla Nagar, New Delhi

Note: all these residential centres are registered as child care institutions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

 

 Girl grows out of extreme family hardships and ready to fly the skies

 

Komal (name changed) is now a 19 year old girl, intelligent, smart and full of potential!

Five years ago, Komal (a child) was brought to SBT through another NGO. Komal’s father had passed away few years back and her mother had to deal with severe health issues. Komal’s younger sibling too suffered from major health issues. Due to the vulnerable situation, Komal was placed in a long-term care home for girls run by SBT.

 Komal was given a comfortable environment so that she could settle in. Initially, she was enrolled in Non Formal Education and was provided mental health support. After a while she wasenrolled in formal education in Anantam Public School and later she was enrolled in Aarsha Public School.

Recently Komal completed her 12th standard and in interested to pursue an Air Hostess training at Frankfinn institute. She is an active child and loves to participate in all the activities of the centre.  She has the capability to perform well.

SBT is committed to support Komal in completing her graduation and to undertake the Air Hostess training.

 

 Boy with special needs learns to cope with the world

 

Tridev (name changed) is a 6 year old boy with intellectual disability (including problem with speech), living in Aasra home for boys run by SBT.  The boy is living in the centre with the support of caretakers round the clock.

 Tridev was found on the street in Tilak Nagar area of Delhi by the police. Since the boy could not communicate due to his disability, he was produced before the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC). There was no trace of Tridev’s family. Soon the CWC ordered the child to be placed in a children’s home run by SBT.

 After sometime in the children’s home, Tridev fell ill and the medical checks found that he had a stone in his gall bladder. He was admitted to Deen Dayal Upadhay Hospital where he underwent a surgery. Further medical interventions revealed that the boy suffers from mild intellectual disability. He has a poor eye contact and unable to respond to social interactions. His language is not present but he can express need non-verbally (pointing and gesture). Fine motor skills are present but he has poor grip to hold objects.

Despite the challenges, there has been significant change in the overall situation of Tridev due to the efforts of all the staff of SBT. Today Tridev is able to sit in a group and play with others. He also engages in individual activities. Efforts are on to see that he is able to speak few words and communicate better with gestures. Tridev would be involved in speech therapy and special education soon.

Tridev is cognitively very sound. He understands human emotions and feelings. Even though he finds it hard to empathise, he understands the repercussions of his behavior on the outside world. He is a jovial boy and enjoys being around people he is comfortable with. He has a sense of possession as well. He likes to dress up and engages in some age appropriate activities.  Tridev doesn't harm others and has an affinity to animals and is gentle with them. Tridev’s biggest strength is that his weaknesses are due to his past events and a result of his conditioned mind rather than innate, which leaves tremendous room for change and improvement.


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ragpicking at the railway station
ragpicking at the railway station

Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) provided various facilities and services to children in need of care and protection through its long-term and short-term residential centres described below:

Name of Centre

Brief Overview

Aasra Children’s home for boys 

Aasra is the first shelter home started by SBT in 2004. With a capacity of 50 children, it caters to boys aged between 5 to 18 years. It is located in Najafgarh, New Delhi.

Apna Ghar open shelter for boys

It is a short stay centre, where 30 children can stay for short duration and then they are either restored back to their families or placed in a long stay home. The centre is located in Multani Dhanda Paharganj, Delhi

DMRC Children’s home for boys 

DMRC Children’s Home was established as part of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s corporate social responsibility. The home houses 125 boys from the age of 6 to 18 years. It is located near the Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi

Old Delhi Railway Station (ODRS) Open Shelter

ODRS is an open centre catering to 30 boys. It is a short stay centre, where children come for a short duration and then they are either restored back to families or placed in a long stay home.

Aarushi Children’s home for girls

Arushi was the first girls’ shelter home under SBT. It offers 24 hour shelter to 50 girls between the ages of five years to 18 years living on the streets. The centre is located in Gurgaon.

Udaan-Rose Children’s home for girls

Udaan-Rose Home was initiated with the support of Give 2 Asia in March 2010. It started with eight girls and currently shelters 60 girls at a time. This home is located in Kamla Nagar, New Delhi

Uday Open Shelter for boys

 

Uday Open Shelter was set up in January 2018 and operates in an area adjacent to Ghaziabad Railway Station. With child protection services being strengthened at New Delhi and Old Delhi Railway Station, traffickers and runaway children now get off a few stations before. Ghaziabad Railway Station happens to be one of these new hot spots. Thus, Uday OS, with a capacity of 25 children, was initiated to cater to the needs of this vulnerable section of children.

 

Note: All these residential centres are registered as child care institutions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major Achievements

     In this period, SBT provided residential services to 984 children (234 girls and 750 boys). Out of this, 650 were new children who came into these homes in this period.

     68 children were transferred to other NGOs

     47 children were referred to the mental health programme of SBT (including children with special needs)

     540 children were restored to their families

     1 child was repatriated to the country of origin.

Education

Education is one important component of SBT programme. Details are below:

  1. 214 children were enrolled in formal schools. These are mostly government schools located near the children’s centres and few private schools depending on the children’s capabilities/ situation.
  2. 684 children were involved in non-formal education (NFE). Through its educators and volunteers SBT conducts NFE classes for children in its centres, with the intention of imparting basic academic knowledge and assist children in their school education.

Play/ Sports

Just as education is important, play is equally important for a child’s physical and mental well-being. Therefore, SBT organises sports and cultural activities for children within the shelter premises like group games, carom, ludo, badminton, kick-boxing, theatre, etc. When the situation is fine and opportunities are available children are also taken outside for activities, e.g. parks, sports facilities, etc.

Health Care

  1. 879 children were provided with medical treatment in this period.
  2. There were 12 serious cases of health, viz. abdominal tuberculosis, brain T.B, chest T.B, shoulder surgery, eye surgery, kidney stone, neurotic disorder, psychiatric and seizure disorder.

COVID-19 related safety protocols were maintained at all centres/ residential homes run by SBT.

Mental Health Programme

  • 2233 individual counseling sessions were conducted.
  • 168 group sessions were held.


 

Skills Development/ Vocational Training

In this period, 118 children/ adolescents were involved in skills development or vocational training which included fine arts, fitness training, computer application, beautician course, food preparation and catering, hospitality industry training, commercial art, photography, pottery and Salaam City Walk (tourist guides).

In this period, 1 young adult was able to find employment after completing a vocational training programme.

resting on the side of the tracks after ragpicking
resting on the side of the tracks after ragpicking
plastic bottles - to earn a days living -
plastic bottles - to earn a days living -

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Ration Distribution Drive 
Shahnaaz Begum is a 39 yr. old mother of 7 children and a ragpicker by profession. In the year 2017, her husband died after being bed ridden for a year.

As she copes with the loss of her partner, Shahnaaz and her children ( 3 daughters and 4 sons) have to come to terms with living on the streets. Living without a safe haven, attracts its share of mishaps too. One of Shahnaaz’s sons is suffering from burn injuries on his stomach as he had firecrackers thrown at him. None of the 7 children have received formal education. After the family came in contact with SBT, the children have been attending non-formal education at the Parveen Contact Point situated at Paharganj.

Shahnaaz recalls the horror of hunger as her family was on the verge of starvation on the unfamiliar streets, until she received rations. Her youngest son, who is 4 years old has undergone a successful heart surgery at AIIMS. As he recuperates, constant medical assistance and medication is still needed. At SBT, we are reaching out to our pool of supporters to once again come forward and help us help this young life.
 No. of Families supported- 1234
 
 My battle against COVID - 19
 (By a child living in one of our residential programmes)
 

When I first heard about Coronavirus spreading in Delhi, I wasn’t really scared that much as I thought it was just for a few months. I believed that everything will be alright soon but the virus soon spread all over India, and taking lives of so many people. The thought of catching the virus scared me but I kept taking care of myself. The other older girls in our children’s home helped take care of not only themselves but they also helped us in this difficult situation. They showed the news on TV every day so that we understood about the dangers of the virus. The daily increase in number of people affected by the virus made us aware about the immense suffering due to the pandemic.

One day, I felt sick and told the medical social worker, who immediately took me to the doctor. I told the doctor about my condition and he asked me to undergo a Covid-19 test. I was very nervous, but luckily the result was negative. I was fine for a few days but then I started feeling sick again. I was asked to undergo another Covid-19 test and again it was negative. But the fever came back again and this time the report was positive. I started crying when I came to know that I was Covid positive, I felt really scared and my head was full of weird thoughts. When the staff admitted me into a COVID speciality hospital, I refused to stay alone, and insisted that they take me back home with her. She patiently explained that there were so many other children in the home who could be at risk because of me. I also knew that the other children would want to meet me and they would not listen even if they were asked to stay away from me. My sister gave me a mobile phone to call her or the SBT staff in case I needed something.

I felt really helpless and my head was full of weird and scary thoughts. The thing that upset me the most was the fact that I was the first one in the shelter home to get this deadly virus. I didn't feel like eating anything and just kept sobbing all the time and waited for the next morning. I kept thinking I wouldn’t be alive by the next morning. I had no idea what was going to happen to me the only thought that came to my mind was that I might die like all the other people who I had heard of or seen on TV.

At some point I fell asleep and woke up the next morning, I was given the breakfast first then the ‘kadha’ and later some medicine. I felt a little better and then all the children from the home called to ask about my health and whether I had had my medicine and lunch. They kept asking me to take good care of myself and to not take any unnecessary tension. Their chatter cheered me up and I felt more positive. They told me that whenever I needed something I could call them and they would send it to me. I looked forward to these calls.

A week passed and everything was going smoothly I had fallen into a pattern. The hospital staff was taking good care of me and the other patients. Then suddenly my situation worsened but I didn’t tell the doctor because I wanted to go home. I kept calling my sister and told her that I wanted to come back to home but she told me that I could not be allowed home before I had recovered fully so I used to start crying and beg her to just come and take me back home. I felt like no one cared for me and I was all alone.

I was ill but I would not tell the doctor because I desperately wanted to go home. The doctor realized that I was not okay when she checked my parameters and she scolded me for hiding it from her. She said that if I didn't take care of myself, eat the food and medicines timely then she would not allow me to go home. Suddenly I don't know how I just decided that I was going to get ok! And it was like I started feeling a bit better from that minute, the doctor used to make sure that I was taking my medicines and food on time. She took extra care of me since I was the youngest patient in the hospital at the moment and no one was there to take care of me.

 
 No. of Covid Positive Children-   87
No. of Covid Positive Staff-  51 
 
 
 Off to the US ! 

Ejaz, who is originally from Bihar, ran away from his home because his father wanted him to become a Maulvi (priest in a mosque), just like him. Ejaz wasn’t interested in such a life. Tired of his father's beatings, he hopped onto a train which landed him at New Delhi Railway Station. Ejaz survived by working in a shop selling locks, near the Station. One day he met a man who told him about an NGO, Don Bosco Ashalayam. He went there and felt very happy. His father came to know where he was and he took him back home after staying there for 4 years. He was again forced to follow his father’s footsteps. It was only a matter of time when he left his home again and was back on the streets of New Delhi.

In 2012, Ejaz met a social worker of Salaam Baalak Trust, who told him about the organization and the facilities provided. He started living at Apna Ghar Open Shelter and actively participated in all the activities there. He made many new friends and started liking the place. He joined the City Walk programme in 2013 because he wanted to improve his English communication skills. Ejaz quickly learned the ropes and became a confident young boy. He also interned in a travel agency and completed his graduation. Ejaz had keen interest in Graphic Designing and wished to make a career in the same field. As they say hard work pays off – Ejaz has just been accepted to participate with full scholarship in the US Department of States’ Community College Initiative (CCI) Program. Under this wonderful opportunity, Ejaz will study graphic design in Snow College, Utah. As we send this letter to you, we are busy fitting him out with appropriate clothes and suitcase and the many exciting things needed to help him start a big chapter of his life!

 
 
 Increase in Child Rescues 
The pandemic has had an adverse economic effect on those already on the margins of eking out a sustainable livelihood. As a result, more and more children are falling into the pit of child and bonded labour. Ever since the easing of lock down norms and the starting of trains, our teams have seen an obvious increase in the number of children reaching railway stations and bus stops. Some of them are herded by child traffickers while others have simply run away to try and find some food or employment.

The Central Childline (1098, a national child toll free helpline) services run by SBT recued 30 children between the age of 8-16 years of age from Kashmiri gate bus stop after they received a tip off that these children were being taken to Punjab from Bihar to be employed at factories.

Sunil (name changed), 15, shared with the Childline team that it was not by choice that he was going to work in Punjab but just that his family was in dire need of money as at the moment the situation was such that they could not afford even 2 meals a day.

All the rescued children were sent to children’s home and are being counselled. The staff is trying to contact their parents. The process of compensation from the concerned authority has been started.

 
 
World Autism Awareness Day- 2nd April 2021
 
Have you ever found somebody’s way of looking at things so unique, you almost want to enter their minds? For us at SBT, while each child is special, children with special needs are the most endearing. They share their world with us with such honesty that it is difficult not to be a part of their adventures. We believe that children must grow in an inclusive environment where the environment accommodates all differences.

For example, a fish is in perfect harmony in water and cannot survive on land- it is considered normal for a fish to swim; in fact, anyone who swims effortlessly is compared to a fish. But we cannot judge or discriminate the fish if we do not provide the adequate aquatic environment. Thus, through trainings and sensitization workshops, we strive consciously to ensure that no child is marginalized on basis of development milestones.

Autism is one such lifelong condition, where the child’s perspective and journey do not collide with set normative standards of development. It is commonly associated with high sensitivity to touch, light or noise. It is interesting to note that the definition of autism has evolved with the society- from extreme autistic aloneness in 1943 to childhood schizophrenia in 1960s when even mothers were held responsible for being cold and unemotional themselves, to pervasive developmental disorder in the 70s. It was only in 1980s that things began to change and by early 2000s we had discovered autism as a wide range of characteristics very different from each other. That’s when the word ‘spectrum’ was coined to fully acknowledge and understand its diversity.

This Autism week we made our children at SBT aware that the autistic condition by its nature is not one of incapacity or disability but simply one of profound sensitivity in the most positive sense which given an encouraging environment could lead to a flourishing life.

 
 No. of Children with

Environment Day at our girls shelter home
  
from the diary of Shweta Pathak, Teacher/ SBT

Its 10:00, and like always I look forward to a busy day at Udaan. Dealing with a bunch of curious, inquisitive girls is always challenging and exciting. Today was a special date which dictated the theme for the day -Environment Day.

As my girls finally settled down, I choose the topic of ‘water conservation’ over everything else. My choice was of course met with some bored, disinterested looks. This was a topic they had often discussed right from their sixth grade, be it talking of water harvesting techniques in geography, water conservation in science or sustainable living in economics they had had a fair idea of it all.
But the idea was to see how much of what was in books was actually put to practice. More than just celebrating World Environment Day, we needed to see our application. To start with, we as a class identified some situations around us where we or our friends were wasting water and the alternatives, we had to stop it.

Discussion on its implementation within SBT
We could use the kitchen water for watering plants. We have started this.
Our water storage tank overflows so we have started storing that water and use for washing or bathing.
Instead of using a pipe to clean the open area we mop it and a pipe wash is restricted to once a month.
Taking long showers is again avoided by fixing bathing time for each child

Story session -precious water and its uses
This discussion was followed by a small story on the preciousness of water and they unanimously agreed on the importance of it, especially remembering occasions when in the middle of their bath the water runs out!

Activity
Finally, we wrapped up our session with a small activity of ‘leak hunt’, wherein all the girls were given a task to find the taps leaking in the home and everyone who turned off a tap properly was rewarded. This proved an interesting and fun activity
.
 
 
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Salaam Baalak Trust’s residential centres are 24*7 programmes which provide shelter (long- term and/ or short-term) and a package of childcare services based on continuum of care approachtochildrenrescuedfromthestreets.Theservicesincludemedicalcare,foodand nutrition (three hot cooked meals and evening nutrition), psychological support, education, vocational training, job placement, restoration and rehabilitation. The centres also provide sports and latent talent development opportunities for all round development of children. These residential centres are recognized and licensed under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme(ICPS)andtheJuvenileJusticeAct,2015.Theadmissionandcareplanofeachchildis made under the guidance of respective Child Welfare Committees(CWCs).

SBT Residential Centres& Contact points–An overview of workdone in past 6 months

 Salaam Baalak Trust has 7 residential centresand 10 Contact points for children from street and vulnerable situations. The centres have the basic infrastructure –classrooms, play area, computer lab and dormitories. Each centre has a team of trained and compassionate caregivers who work towards the holistic development of the children residing in these homes.For contact points our social and outreach workers strive hard to build bonds of trusts and friendship with children  motivating them to attend our programs at our Contact Points where they have access to education, medical assistance, a healthy meal, life skills and the opportunity of realizing their full potential..

 Nutrition:

 To meet the nutritional needs of children, nutritionally-balanced and hot-cooked meals are served at residential. The meals are prepared in the kitchen space provided at the centre under the supervision of staff members to ensure safe and hygienic practices. In some cases, children have special nutritional requirements due to illness such as tuberculosis and malnutrition. Such children are provided with special nutrition including protein supplements, additional servings of fruits and milk as prescribed by the doctor. During pandemic Protein rich diet is provided to all the children which includes eggs, chicken, paneer on regular basis. Hot water and lemon tea are given regularly  also made part of diet to build immunity.

 Education:

 Education is integral to any child’s development and hence all the children residing in the homes are connected with education either through formal, non-formal or open school of learning depending on the strength of the child. Since last year  most classes were online due to ongoing  Covid19  Pandemic, only  few of our children started attending school  lately and most stayed indoors.Online classes were challenging  as we  were not having ample smartphones or computers and internet availability was making it difficult to conduct.

 Volunteers:

 By mid of 2020, regular volunteering started at various children’s homes. Children were happy to learn from new people and share their knowledge but as soon as the number of cases started going up in Delhi. We have to shift volunteering back to online/virtual mode just like during Lockdown in 2020

Medical Care:

 

Children on the streets live in unsanitary conditions and are prone to various infections and diseases. Therefore, regular medical check-ups of the children are done at the full care residential centres. Whenever required, pathological tests are conducted as per the recommendation of the doctors. We have a full-time doctor employed with SBT solely for this purpose.. Post Covid-19 first wave all children were monitored regularly and with the advent of second wave close montitoring of all children is happening at each centre.If we talk about the current scenario 110 of our children and staff are ill right now, primarily in the residential care homes. Most of them are moving towards getting better but this has increased from 17 sick children just 10 days ago, and the number affected in the outreach centers will be much higher. Due to the Pandemic, there are limited opportunities for children to be constructively engaged There was a surge in mental health concerns of children and staff since the movement and the daily routine has been disturbed. Also shortage of medicines and antibiotics is ahuge concern,

 Mental Health:

 

Full-timementalhealthprofessionals appointedin thecentreprovides psychologicalsupportand counseling tochildren.Thementalhealthand psychologicalsupporthelpschildrenrescuedfromthestreetsgetovertheirtraumaticpast. There are a team of 9 psychologists with a senior Psychiatrist who work towards the management plan of children having psychological difficulties as pandemic is a crucial time for the  mental health of children.

 

Ration Distribution:

Thepandemic,alongwithunexpecteddifculties created opportunities for us to

help and reach out to more people and needycommunities.Our primary work has always been with street children but in the wake of the pandemic, we felt compelledto  help  adults  who  lived  in  the  communities these children came from and other migrants, struggling to survive due to the lockdown and the loss of livelihood. The SBT team did an initial survey to ascertain the needs of large groups at different geographical areas of Delhi, to develop a concrete plan for providing support. With the generous support from donors and sponsors, SBT, after a thorough analysis, provided ration and fresh vegetables to people residing in the slums of Seelampur, Kishanganj, Mansarovar, Shastri Park, Salem Garh, Yamuna Bazar, Mithai Pull, Connaught Place andGhaziabad.

Our team also sensitized people about the virus and the precautions they needed totake.

 Staff duty roster:

 Initially, only few staff members could come to work and this led to classes being irregular. Younger children are particularly being affected due to the lockdowns as its difficult for them to comprehend the scenario.After that everything started getting back to normal but again sudden surge in cases and lockdown affected staff members also and like the first lockdown we have to create roasters if weekly duties at our children’s homes

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 Introduction 

In the 1980s, the making of Mira Nair's ’Salaam Bombay’ (award winning film) revealed the dark underbelly of Mumbai's streets, where several childhoods were at stake. A combination of socio-economic exigencies, political circumstances and parent's struggle for survival created a large population of children, living and working on the streets of India.

SBT provides a comprehensive package of services through its child helpline, contact points and residential centres. Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) started out as a day care centre for street children. Over a period of time, we realised that a safe space is the most critical need for any child to realise his/her own full potential. Thus, we started residential programmes to provide safe child friendly shelter for children rescued from street situations and any other distress situations.

Compliant with guidelines of Integrated Child Protection Scheme and Juvenile Justice Act 2015, we have two Children Home for Girls, two Children's Home for Boys and three Open Shelters for boys to provide 24*7 care and protection services.

 The Trust also has a vision of ensuring access of street children to high quality services ranging from health, nutrition, education, vocational training, restoration and reuniting children with the families to job placement.

                                      

 Key Activities at Apna Ghar

ApnaGhar is an open shelter for boys with a capacity of 50 children. It is located in the Paharganj area of New Delhi which has a high concentration of street children, child beggars and runaways. The home provides short stay facilities to children between the age group of 6-18 years who are rescued from difficult circumstances with a view to reunite them with their families and/ or linking them to long term care.The children living in the shelter get their own beds, clothes and hygiene kits. They spend their day according to a set routine living with other children. The following services are provided in the home-

Food and Nutrition: Besides serving the prime purpose of providing a ‘safe living space’ to children, children’s homes offer a comprehensive package of services including food and nutrition. Children at the homes are provided three hot-cooked, nutritious and well-balanced meals. Evening and special nutrition is provided to children suffering from malnutrition and under nutrition upon recommendation of the doctor.The menu is prepared in consultation with children so that the food of their choice can be

included. It is taken care that each meal has a nutritional value and is a blend of proteins, carbohydrate and fibre and at the same time is appealing to the children. During the pandemic ,many children were unable to go back to their families and in order to keep them healthy they were provided with extra nutrition to boost their immunity. The total no of children benefitedwere 80 for the specified period.

Education: Education of children is given utmost importance at all the children homes. Children whether coming for short stay or long stay are exposed to and involved in educational activities. Given the differential learning needs of children, education is imparted through formal, informal and open schooling. In-house classes are conducted by SBT teachers in a play-way and participatory manner keeping in mind the interest of the child. In a short stay home more focus is alsoto equally work on the functional life skills of children.

During the reporting period, 25 children were linked to formal school, 52 children with non-formal school and 3 with open schooling from July to December.

Efforts were made to connect children with academics virtually so that they don’t miss out on their homework and classes.The team at the centre swiftly upgraded the infrastructure and created a computer lab with good bandwidth and sufficient computers. This helped children to keep pace with their school curriculum and be engaged.

Teacher training programme was also started to help them hone their skills to adapt to the new technology process. It empowered the teachers with the first hand understanding of how online classes are conducted and how to best design online lessons for children.

 

Medical Care: The social medical worker organises regular check-ups and vaccination camps of children. SBT’s in-house doctors conduct these check-ups and camps. Additionally, dental, eye and ear-nose and throat (ENT) check-ups are also conducted at the centres.80 children were provided with the medical care.

During the lockdown, the doctor visited once a week for the check-up of all children. Hygiene kits comprising of sanitizers, soaps, masks were provided to all the children. Multivitamins were also provided so that children do not fall sick.The medical social workers took regular sessions with the children about maintaining hygiene.

Strict protocols were put in place to prevent any infection and the spread of virus.

 

Mental Health and Psychological Support: Children coming from street situations need intensive therapy as they have been exposed to all forms of abuse and have traumatic history making them more vulnerable to mental health concerns. There is a full-time appointed counsellor in the home who takes regular one on one and group sessions with all the children.

In the past 6 months, the focus was on anger issues, stress reduction as children felt irritated and anxious due to the pandemic .

 

The team at Apna Ghar had been staying at the home 24*7 to take care of the children as there was restriction on daily movement. Regular staff support sessions were arranged for the staff by trained Psychologists so that there were fewer instances of burnout and fear due to the scenario.

 

Vocational Training and Job Placement: Children who are above 16 and/or have completed Class 10 are linked to a wide range of vocational training courses. A career counsellor matches children’s skill sets and interest with suitable courses. Based on counsellor’s recommendation children join vocational courses of their choice. Children at SBTchildren’s homes often opt for computer, travel and tourism, fashion designing, beauty culture and hotel management courses. Upon completion of their vocational training courses children are also assisted in finding gainful employment. The centre teams help children in applying for jobs. 5 children were linked with vocational trainings such as baking, photography .

 

Restoration and Rehabilitation: Those children who are missing or run away from their homes often long for their families. The centre team makes effort to reunite the children with their families after a thorough analysis of the situation of the family. Children who can’t be sent back to their families due to various issues are transferred to a long term children home.

32 children during the reporting period wererestoredback to their family .Restoration work had been slow in the past few months as there were restrictions on the movement.

 

Art and Recreation-: Over the past 32 years, the approach has always been to rely on the never-say-die spirit of the children. The engagement of children in various forms of art has been important. 

"Art has always been a fundamental at Salaam Baalak, whether visual, performance or cinematic”. There are numerous stories of children responding to the arts in miraculous ways, including wishing to go back home, abandoning drugs, making friends, getting encouraged to discuss their lives, finding their homes, and most of the times, finding themselves. The 'catharsis' happens here on different levels. Many of the children have gone on to become successful choreographers, photographers, puppeteers, actors, and their capacity to earn money as well as respect in the society as artists is great.

Due to the pandemic, children could not go for their creative classes as planned but efforts were made to link them with music, theatre and art classes virtually. Many volunteers took these sessions and it also helped children to cope with the lockdown stress and fear.

 

Challenges

  • NewchallengesemergedduetoCOVID-19pandemic.Movementofstaffwasrestricted for some time duringthisperiod and there was staff shortage initially.
  • Due to the lockdown, many children experienced mood swings and other psychological issues which were then addressed by the counselor.

Future Plan

SBT team plans to start proactive work on restoration of children since many children got stuck due to the pandemic and were eager to reunite with their families.

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Organization Information

Salaam Baalak Trust

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Website:
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Project Leader:
Tanya Alag
New Delhi, Delhi India
$68,731 raised of $90,000 goal
 
699 donations
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