Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India

by People First Educational Charitable Trust
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Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
Rescue Junction Supports Street Children in India
The kids of Rescue Junction
The kids of Rescue Junction

Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On June 4th he visited People First’s Rescue Junction in Gaya, India. His “Postcard” from the visit:

Nick Hansen of People First had the same reaction I did to seeing shabby-looking kids seemingly living at railway stations: Well, there must be someone looking out for them. Over time he came to find out that there in fact wasn’t anyone in the area where People First was working—no government program, no other NGOs and often no family for hundreds of miles. He decided to step in to fill the gap. Faced with such a daunting problem—transient kids, many orphans, many sniffing glue or doing other drugs, scraping out a living on platforms and trains—People First’s primary goal was just to meet the children’s basic needs. But the organization knows that’s only treating the symptom and so also started a campaign to increase public awareness of the problem and has an ultimate goal to work with the government to create a comprehensive program to deal with the causes and consequences of platform children.

Nick expects this process to take 20 years. Five years in and he says they are ahead of schedule. From my visit I can only speak to the meeting-basic-needs step, but this seems to be well in hand. I found Rescue Junction to be a clean, safe place that is providing dozens of these platform children with the support they need to change their lives. Obviously a big draw is food—but the kids are only eligible for meals if they stay for classes in math, English, etc. There are basic dormitories. They provide medical treatment, counseling and legal assistance. Where appropriate, “lost children” are reunited with their parents or other family members (over 100 have been thus far, according to Nick). People First also encourages a sense of responsibility; the children are free to come and go as they please. All the support they need they can get from Rescue Junction, but they need to commit to taking it.

Changed awareness in the community and government is difficult to gauge in a one-day site visit but Nick tells me they’ve also seen progress on these fronts. Their surveys indicate that the proportion of the community that’s aware of the problem of platform children has gone from 15% to 80% in the time they’ve been working. The police apparently are also seeing these children differently. Sexual abuse at the station has stopped, according to Nick. And the government is interested in promoting their program in every rail station in the district.

While there is still much to be done, People First has made good progress and seems well on their way toward meeting their goals by 2025.

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Bill Brower visits Rescue Junction
Bill Brower visits Rescue Junction

It was a pleasure to welcome Bill Brower Field Officer for Global Giving to Rescue Junction recently. Global Giving is a key part of our fund raising strategy,

Bill wrote in the visitors book at Rescue Junction, "I am impressed with how thoroughly records are kept and the organisations obvious dedication to the children and their honest work . I am happy our donors are able to contribute towards the upkeep of this valuable work".

Please see photograph of Bill at Rescue Junction

Thanks Bill, and Thanks to Global Giving!

Other news from Rescue Junction Baby Nileen has been placed for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee , this will be an adoption by an Indian family. The story of Brave Tiger Part two will be posted on our next update but his family are now safe. Missing children (Over 20) since the last report have been reunited with their families since the last progress report alone. The children are looking forward to the arrival of volunteers who have joined our village experience programme as this is the time the centre is repainted with the volunteers in bright colours and murals.

Always remember you can keep up with progress of this project by visiting our website at www.peoplefirstindia.net

And it would be great to see an American on our village experience programme, Check it out on our website!

And last but certainly not least, on behalf of all of the children, thanks for all your help and support through Global Giving

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This story indicates how many children in India have such tough lives. Our next update will include the outcome of this story as rescue efforts are well underway. One important piece of news is that the work of Rescue Junction has been recognised by the Government of Bihar, this does not mean funding only recognition of the centres groundbreaking and vitally important work. Please visit our website www.peoplefirstindia.net for regular updates.

The Story of Tiger Tiger is a 14 year old boy who lived at Railway Platform when Rescue Junction open and he started to come to Rescue Junction everyday. His attendance was almost everyday. He started to read and write and interested to study but unfortunately this came late in his life. He lost his father when he was 10 years old and his mother got married with another person so we say he got stepfather and that was the main reason for him to be at Railway platform and his stepfather and mother lived at Slum area in a rented small damp room but last year his mother passed away but Tiger has two brothers and two sisters – ages 15,13,11& 8 and after death of his mother he returned his native village at Rafiganj with all his brothers and sister but one of the persons from Rafiganj took them (all four) to Bhabhua in Bihar for work to Brick factory where he worked 3 months with all his brothers and sisters but again that Brick factory is closed, and they all were shifted at Varanasi in new Brick factory where one of his younger sister is still working in a house as a maid servant, and three worked at Varanasi Brick factory from where Tiger tried to run away but once caught by the person who brought him to Varanasi from Rafiganj and they beat him and threatened to kill him, they made them labour hard without money just on the basis of food but once again Tiger tried and ran away and come to Rescue Junction and now he is at Rescue Junction but he wanted to bring all his sisters and brother to Rescue Junction where they can stay and study, So he needs help either staff can go with him to Varanasi to bring all his brothers and sisters or we may contact other N.G.O or Police.

Thank you for all your support. Tiger and Family are on their way to the safety of Rescue Junction

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Firstly, the link address for our website on the Global Giving page is wrong.

We have tried to correct it using the project updating pages and in fact the address is listed on those pages is the correct one www.peoplefirstindia.net.

PROGRESS REPORT Much development has taken place at the centre. The new facilities for girls and the improvement in the security of the building have done much to enhance the children’s safety. During the last few months, the Trust has consolidated links with law enforcement agencies particularly the R.P.F, or Railway Protection Force. According to a recent directive from the central government, the Railway Protection Force has been instructed to identify and apprehend both children being trafficked and child traffickers. However, no any extra resources have been provided to help them undertake this new task. The local officer in charge of the R.P.F is extremely appreciative of the work of Rescue Junction, and many lost, abandoned and children being trafficked have been brought to the centre by the R.P.F , and the government railway police. The centre’s links with the local remand home and the local police, have also been reinforced during the last few months. Here is excerpt our annual report, (which will be send to you by registered post in the next few days), On condition of anominity, a senior police officer told the senior management of the Trust. “These are the invisible children, and before your centre was here they were left on their own, and in order to survive many turned to crime or prostitution. Since your project started this has now stopped and you have given them hope and self-respect. Before Rescue Junction, we had nowhere to send these children apart from jail (the remand home). The government provides nothing for these children, not a single worker or bed is available for them, only you seem to care, and in doing so you have saved many young lives” In addition to this immediate response, longer-term rehabilitation counseling and support has continued at the centre. This has resulted in several platform children undertaking vocational training, and one youngster has successfully started a full time residential education. Even greater trust between the staff and young people has meant many of the children who attend the centre have gained self-respect and there has been marked reduction in substance abuse, disruptive behaviour, and a corresponding improvement in social skills.

CHILDREN REUNITED WITH FAMILIES THROUGH RESCUE JUNCTION FROM AUGUST 09 TO DATE

Name and Age Gautam Kumar 10 Archana Kumari 5 Md. Fazan Ahmad 7 Hariom Kumar 7 Arsom 14 Iondar 13 Sunil Kumar 12 Mukesh Kumar 13 Mumtaz 14 Tabasum 8 Baiju Kumar 9 Pappu Kumar 8 Roushan Kumar 12 Sareena 17 Guddu Kumar 9 Sambhu Viswakarma 11 Pawan Kumar 12 Monu Kumar 13 Shubankar Bhola 14 Raju Kumar Pandit 14 Suraj Kumar 9 Sheikh Allaudin 12 Neeraj Kumar 10 Munna Kumar 10 Munna Kumar 12 Islam 12 Santosh Kumar 14 Laxman Kumar 13 Ajay Dhobi 13 Ranjan Kumar 10 Karu Kumar 9 Pradeep Kumar 12 Sarfraz Ahmad 10 Shankar Kumar 13 Nikhil Kumar 12 Roushan Kumar 12 Sharwan Kumar 12 Chikku Kumar 12 Sunny Kumar 12 Rahul Kumar 13 Raju Kumar 10 Chintoo Kumar 14 Ranjit Kumar 13 Moelasir 12 Manish Kumar 14 Md. Rizwan 11 Mr. Nausahad 10 Mr. Kalad 9 Anil Kumar 12 Vikash Kumar 9 Anup Kumar 10 Badal Kumar 10 Sonu Kumar 12 Shibu Kumar 13 Binod Kumar 13 Radha Raman pandey 14 Jeetu Kumar 10 Mantan Kumar 12 Sandeep Kumar 11 Sobit Kumar 13 Sanjay Kumar 13 Pramod Kumar 14 Md. Nasim 8 Vikash Kumar 11

The police verify all repatriations and handovers take place in the presence of a senior police officer. Subject to no objections from the family or child, the media often attends the process.

Regarding Community awareness, in October 2009, the Trust embarked upon the largest ever exercise of its kind ever held in Gaya. In cooperation with another N.G.O working with street children in another area, (SAATHI), the Government Railway Police, the Railway Protection Force and East Central Railway a survey was held which aimed to identify the number of unaccompanied children passing through the station in a 72 hour period. Twenty-four staff and volunteers were on all the platforms 24 hours a day. During that period, 139 children, were contacted and offered assistance. The local print and electronic media extensively covered this event. It is interesting to note that even two years ago only 30 % of people who worked on the station, ticket inspectors, porters etc knew of the existence of Rescue Junction. According to the most recent survey, undertaken in December 2009, the awareness of the centre, and importantly its purpose and role amongst station staff has increased to over 90%. From the 1st October 2009 Over 14 thousand hot meals have been provided at Rescue Junction, over 200 Blankets distributed, and 100 Sweaters and 50 scarves. The educational classes have continued, concentrating on Basic literacy and numeracy and have included subject such as health issues, and children right and for older children aids awareness and prevention. The State welfare department has visited the centre on two occasions and the Trust has copies of the very positive reports, which were sent to the Director of the Department recommending formal recognition of the centre and its work by the government of Bihar. And the centre has helped in other ways too, a young female, 18 years of age travelling alone was dragged off a train as it started to move in the night just outside Gaya Station by 4 men who then attempted to rape her. Her screams alerted passers -by who came to her aid. One man was arrested ,and charged with the crime. The police brought here to Rescue Junction where safe accommodation and counseling were available whilst her family was located. Their gratitude for the kindness and support given to their daughter was overwhelming. In addition, in a landmark judgment the local juvenile justice board sentenced an 18 year old for a crime he committed as a child to 3 months community service at Rescue Junction which he completed successfully. Moreover, after our report to the court he was subsequently released. It can be seen from all of the above, how vitally important Rescue Junction has become for children in Gaya district, especially as there is no other alternative programme. Lack of resources prevent the trust , from further expanding our vocational training programme and outreach work , and there is still so much more can be done in order to help ensure the safety and well being for these vulnerable children. However, the Trust is fortunate to have such dedicated staff and it is to their credit to have achieved so much in a comparatively short space of time. When the Project started just a few years ago, it faced suspicion, abuse and disbelief from the community. The police and others forecast that to try to run such a programme in Gaya was doomed to failure. The remarkable positive change in the communities attitude, the children’s behaviour and the absolute trust the project has now secured from stakeholders and others is an ongoing testament to the hard work and efforts of all those involved.

Nick Hansen People First Educational Charitable Trust Spring 2010

PEOPLE FIRST WORKING TOGETHER WITH THE POOR AND OPPRESSED FOR A BETTER FUTURE

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The Childrens Jail
The Childrens Jail

As part of the work of Rescue Junction we are the only non profit, or NGO, that works in in the one facility for children that the state provides in six districts, the childrens jail which is for boys only. Although some residents of the home have committed serious crimes many have commiitted very small offences or no offences at all, and some have been abandoned by thier parents. People First through myself, a qualified lawyer with 15 years experience of working with children is often the only hope of securing release. The Jail has no phone the residents can use, not even a stamp to send a postcard and my mobile phone is very usefull so they can inform relatives where they are. They even have to cook thier own food. We have provided them games and educational materials, as well as sweaters and blankets. One can only imagine what it must be like to be ten years old, locked up,abandoned by family, all for stealing a packet of biscuits worth 5 rupees because they were hungry. Through your support for Rescue Junction we can help these children and ensure thier rights are upheld. And we can get them home. Thank You

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Organization Information

People First Educational Charitable Trust

Location: Bodhgaya, Bihar - India
Website:
Project Leader:
Deepak Kumar
Project Liason Officer
Bodhgaya, Bihar India
$84,756 raised of $125,000 goal
 
1,630 donations
$40,244 to go
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