IntroductionStreet children are deprived of protective environment of family. Article 20 of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the right of such children who cannot be looked after by their own family to special care. The Government of India also accorded serious attention to provide protective environment of children in need of care including street children through enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and subsequent amendments to the Act. The Act in its Section 37 provides for establishment of shelter homes for children in need of care and protection. Significance of shelter homes and residential centres for street children is immense, given the exploitative, violent and hostile situations they face in cities. Shelter homes or residential centres act as safety nets protecting street children from sexual abuse and exploitation, physical violence and child labour
Unlike orphanages, shelter homes and other child care institutions, full-care and short stay residential homes provide an enabling environment to children to realize their potential to the fullest. An attempt is made to educate and help children develop intellectually at these centres. However, children who are not inclined towards academics are not pushed towards a definite career path. Children are provided opportunities to develop their hidden talents and skills. They are encouraged to pursue dance, puppetry, acting, painting and photography as well.Aasra was the first shelter home/Centre started by SBT. With a capacity of 50 it caters to boys of five to 18 years. The home was set up under the JJ Act, 2000.
Under the present project, the funds from the donor were utilised for operation of Aasra Centre.
Activitiesand Progress Update
Understanding the importance of ensuring a safe environment for children, SBT runs the Aasra Centre for boys rescued from the streets Besides serving the prime purpose of providing a ‘safe living space’ to children, residential homes offer a comprehensive package of services including food, education, medical care, mental health and psychological support. Children’s admission in the Centre is ascertained after they are duly presented in CWCs as per the provisions of the JJ Act, 2000. Identifying the unique background and needs of the child, individual care plans are drawn for each child in these Centre. Regular academic, psychological and medical assessments of the children are done to provide individualised education and health facilities. Full-time mental health professional and medical coordinator are appointed in the centre to provide psychological support, counselling and facilitate medical check-ups and treatment of children, respectively. The continuum of care and protection services provided at the residential centres have been depicted in the Figure below.
In the year 2016-17 a total of 776 boys were provided shelter in Aasra centre.
A snapshot of services provided by the residential centres from April 1, 2016- March 31, 2017 has been presented in the Table below.
No of children
Place to other NGO boys
Produced to CWC boys
Referred from CWC boys
Restoration follow up(Telephone)
Medical check up(no. of children)
Referred to hospital
Hepatitis 'B' Vaccination
long term treatment
Eye check up
Dental check up
Referred to MHP
Referred to Drug de-addiction
No. of children(annual tour)
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. A total Trips and Tours: 350 children went to Sattal and while about a 100 girls went to Manali.
The children also participated in various competitions and won numerous prizes. A child was second runner-up in HUDCO Painting Competition and received INR 7500 cash prize, around 10 children were participated in Goody beg program of PRC and two children won in inter Salaam Baalak Trust Quiz Competition.
Additionally, Mr. William and Ms. Kate (Duke and duchess of Cambridge) visited the Centre and interacted with children. Other donors and students from University of Delhi visited the Centre.
Waseem, a 15 years old boy came to Aasra Centre in May 2016 on the direction of Child Welfare Committee. When the social worker at Salaam Baalak Trust interacted with child, he was not able to recall anything about his family. He only shared that he had worked in a hair salon in Old Delhi. He seemed to be grappling with some behavioural issues such as no eye contact, lack of social interaction, inability to make friends, loneliness, slow movement and unusual smile. In view of these signs the staff referred him to the Mental Health Team. The team and psychologist in particular interacted with, held sessions and counselled him. However, his overall condition worsened he became more aloof and locked himself in a room or began sitting in an enclosed almirah. The case was presented before the Salaam Baalak Trust Psychiatrist Dr. Amit Sen. The doctor diagnosed him with Catatonic Schizophrenia and recommended hospitalization immediately. His condition was also shared with the CWC and post their order Waseem was admitted to Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, Shahadra for two months.
Once Waseem came back to the shelter after the treatment, there was a drastic change in him. He was doing very well and showed active involvement in all daily activities of the Centre. The social worker tried to trace his family but they were unable to do it. Thus, he was transferred to Apnaghar Shelter home for vocational training. At present, he is on medication and psychological therapy. He is also interning in a hair salon and performing very well earning around INR 7000-8000 per month.
SBT team plans to improve the existing quality of services at Aasra Centre through increased networks, better opportunities and staff capacity building. The team is making concerted efforts to reach more number of children in the coming year.