Salaam Baalak Trust’s (SBT) has been working towards the care and protection of street children since 1988. One of the key components of our programme is to provide safe spaces for children. Thus, SBT has established children homes which provide shelter (long-term or short-term) along with a continuum of need based care services. These services include medical care, food and nutrition (three hot cooked meals and evening nutrition), psychological support, education, vocational training, job placement, restoration and rehabilitation. The homes also provide sports and latent talent development opportunities for holistic development. All the children homes are recognized and licensed under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in tandem with Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. The admission and care plan of each child is made under the guidance of respective Child Welfare Committees (CWCs).
Key Activities and Progress Update
Children’s homes are child-friendly spaces designed for all-round development of children. The teams at these homes are skilled and experienced in working with street children. They work with children in a very compassionate manner such children can leave behind their harsh experiences on the streets and live together in the Home with one another like one big family. The children’s homes are well-equipped with essential physical infrastructure including classrooms, play area, dormitories and computer rooms and libraries.
Brief Overview of Different Children Homes :
Aasra Children Home for Boys
Aasra was the first shelter home started by SBT. With a capacity of 50 it caters to boys of five to 18 years. It is currently located in Najafgarh.
Apna Ghar Open Shelter for Boys
It is a short stay home, where 30 children come to stay short duration and then they are either restored or transferred to a long stay home. It is currently located in Paharganj.
DMRC Children 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 five to below 18 years. It is currently located in Tiz Hazari.
Old Delhi Railway Station (ODRS) Open Shelter for Boys
ODRS is an open centre catering to 30 boys. It is a short stay home, where children come to stay short duration. It is currently located in Mori Gate.
Arushi Children Home for Girls
Arushi was SBT’s first girls’ home. It offers 24-hour shelter and care to 50 girls between the ages of five years to 18 years. It is currently located in Gurugram.
Udaan-Rose Children Home for Girls
Udaan-Rose children’s home was initiated with the support of Give 2 Asia in March 2010. It started with eight girls and currently shelters 75 girls at a time. It is currently located in Kamla Nagar.
Residential Care: Children at the children’s home are provided shelter. A safe space is a felt critical need of children both boys and girls rescued from the unsafe streets. Aasra, Apna Ghar, Old Delhi Railway Station Open Centre (ODRS OC) DMRC Children’s Home are home for boys; Udaan and Arushi are children’s homes for girls. The children living in the homes get their own beds, clothes and hygiene kits. They spend their day according to a set routine living with other children. They develop a sense of belonging at the children’s homes considering it their own home.
Food and Nutrition: Besides serving the prime purpose of providing a ‘safe living space’ to children, children’s home 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 undernutrition.
Education: At all the children homes, education of children is given utmost importance. 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. The children who come for long stay are prepared to join formal schools. The transition of out of school children to formal schools is a definite success paving the way for their vocational training and job placement.
Medical Care: In order to ensure that children are protected against all infections and ailments, medical social workers along with medical coordinator organise 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 children’s homes. Adequate medical care lays a strong foundation for physical health of children.
Mental Health and Psychological Support: Full-time mental health professionals appointed in the homes provide psychological support and counselling to children. The mental health and psychological support help children rescued from the streets get over their traumatic past, become mentally stable and adequately acclimatize and adjust to the environment at the home. Individual and group activities are conducted with the children by the counsellors to unearth and sort unresolved issues and concerns of children.
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 SBT 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 home teams help children in applying for jobs.
Restoration and Rehabilitation: Those children who are missing or run away from their homes often long for their families. The children’s home teams in conjunction with the CHILDLINE and police make efforts to find homes and families of these children and reunite them with their parents and significant others. For those children who live in the children’s home till they turn 18, a proper rehabilitation plan is drawn. These young adults are not only linked to jobs but are also supported in finding a new accommodation and are provided basic necessities to start a life such as bedding utensils and financial assistance for buying groceries and pay rent for up to three months. Rehabilitation is SBT’s carefully planned attempt to reintegrate the children back into societies as productive adults and responsible citizens.
A snapshot of services provided from April 1, 2018-March 2019
Residential care provided
7721 (374 girls)
Education (Formal Schooling)
Food and Nutrition
Health Check Up
Skill Development and Vocational Training
Apart from these activities, children celebrated festivals such as Eid, Holi, Diwali, X-Mas, and national holidays etc. Children also went for educational trips and tours. These activities helped children bond with each other and created a ‘we’ feeling among them.
SBT team plans to improve the existing quality of services through increased networks, better opportunities and staff capacity building. The team is making concerted efforts to reach a greater number of children in the coming year. Accelerated focus is being laid on formal schooling of children. More avenues are also being explored to link children and young adults with viable vocational training facilities.