This is Sunita the project manager at Rescue Junction with another report. This sadly will be my last report as my husband has got a new job in Delhi and we are moving next month. I will miss the work here a lot, I will miss the brave children, often full of hope despite very difficult circumstances, I will miss working with the wonderful staff who work so hard, I will miss seeing the Joy on a mothers face when they are reunited with their child who they thought was lost forever in the maelstrom of India.
I will miss the sound of the children playing and laughing. I will miss being part of a team and sharing the satisfaction when a wrong doer who would harm children is arrested and put in Jail. I will miss all of this and much, much more.
I want to thank you all for all your wonderful support and I really hope you will continue to help and please spread the word. We are rescuing hundreds of children a year, providing 3,000 meals a month, and education, support and counselling, investigating and preventing child trafficking, raiding brothels with the police, we are home to any child who needs us for whatever reason 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Our centre costs $54,000 a year to provide all these services, to employ all the staff, to provide education care shelter and support. Every single dollar helps us reach that target.
The next report will be from the new director and I wish them all the best, I hope they will find the experience as wonderful as I did, despite all of the difficult challenges, and sometimes having to hear some painful and difficult stories from innocent children who have fallen into the evil hands of those who would do them harm. What will remain with me for ever is the children’s courage and resilience, it is an inspiration for me, and it is something that I will never forget.
I remember once, a girl rescued from a brothel, she was just 14. She was crying silently (because they learn not to make a noise when they cry to avoid a beating). I was sitting next to her when she suddenly reached out to me and I hugged her, and she started to release her emotions crying loudly for a while and I offered her reassurance as best I could. After some time she looked up at me and said, “It’s all over isn’t it these things that happened to me it’s over”. I smiled at her and said, “The minute you walked through the door here you were safe, what happened to you was not your fault, you’re safe, free, and I promise you we will make sure you that this never happens to you again”. That girl went on to full time education, but not only that she became so confident, a couple of years later she joined our staff as a volunteer offering support particularly to girls.
This is the meaning of courage.
So please I ask all of you continue to stand by these children, they need your help so much,
With profound gratitude to you all,
I hope the email finds you are your family well. It's time for another update from Rescue Junction the centre for the Gaya Rescue Project here in Bihar in India.
Well so much to tell, we have had earthquakes, we have had a killer heat wave, and many new children and young people have come to Rescue Junction for help and support.
From Mid May onwards until June 13th, we were hit with a massive heatwave and we were getting reports of children and babies in distress due to the extreme heat on local trains and at stations due to heatstroke and dehydration. We purchased some extra coolers and fans and set up a cooling centre at Rescue Junction. At the height of the heat wave we had a nurse on call to rehydrate young children, and we even had to refer a few cases to the hospital for further care. We purchased many large bottles of drinking water and set up a free drinking water centre outside the centre because we are very near the station. We equipped volunteers with water on the station and on running trains to monitor any distressed people especially children , young mothers etc and worked with the railway police and coolies to help those in need. However over the six weeks of severe weather we exhausted our fund for emergencies, and the Trust had to step in using precious reserves to help children from suffering so we do have an appeal which will help replenish our depleted emergency fund . It is here.
I am of the opinion that our reports should thank people for their donations and help explain to them how we have used their hard earned money, the fact that you are reading this means you have already donated, but one way you can really make your money go further is donating on July 15th when Global Giving will match your donation by a massive 50% for as long as the matching funds last.. Matching funds begin at 09.01 Eastern, so please make a note in your diary.
I want to end with a sad but in its way inspiring tale about one girl who ran away from home due to pressure to become married.
We will call her Pramilla. ( not her real name). She is at most 14 years of age.
She was picked up at another station by a man and a woman who took her to their home in Gaya and tried to persuade her to travel to Calcutta for " Work" ( almost certainly prostitution). She gravely resisted and was severely beaten but managed to get to a mobile phone and dialed 1098 ( the emergency toll free childline number) and spoke to someone at Rescue Junction. She was able to give a rough description of the area and was composed enough to even give a house name. Within 20 mins the police broke into the house, arrested the couple, and set Pramilla free. .
On arrival Pramila was understandably distressed but it became apparent she may have some internal injuries and she was immediately admitted to the local hospital. A member of staff, a qualified female counselor was provided around the clock until she had recovered enough to return to rescue Junction where she reasons to this day.
One thing I want to tell you is that Pramila wants to help take part in a campaign to bring more awareness of the childline service and will be visiting schools and colleges with our staff shortly.
Thank you for all of your support in supporting brave children like Pramilla
Hello everyone again.
As you probably know by now my name is Sunita and I am the Director here at Rescue Junction.
May I wish you all things new at the birth of spring.
Here at the centre we are as busy as ever. As you know we are almost every month becoming more proactive in our work particularly with regard to trafficked children and with girls. If you don't know already we have a sister project on Global Giving which helps fund craft training and support for girls, which you can find below,
https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/special-initaitve-for-girls,and I look forward to updating all of you in due course in that projects next report .
As for this report concerning all the work at the centre we were all thrilled when our Chairman Mr Deepak Kumar met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama , who knows about our work and who expressed an interest in visiting the staff and children at Rescue Junction when visiting Bodhgaya.
I also want to mention that we are the centre of child line in Gaya District. Any child in trouble or distress or who needs help and advice can ring the toll free number 1098 for immediate advice and assistance . This number works all over India and I would to use this report to ask all tourists and visitors to India to not walk away if they see any sign of abuse or mistreatment of children anywhere in the country. Pick up the phone, people like us are waiting to respond to your call.
Listen to Raju, a railway child living on the station.
"Before we had no protection we were at the mercy of everyone now help is only a phone call away. We know people will help and protect us, we are all safer because somebody cares and looks out for us. Thank you for helping to keep Rescue Junction open for help education and care. We will always be grateful"
Raju (age 12) name but nothing else changed)
Thank you all once again.
Sunita and the children at Rescue Junction in Bihar, India
This is Sunita again with another update. Firstly may I wish you all the best compliments of the season. Here at Rescue Junction we celebrate every festival and Christmas is no exception. We have got some funds from the UK for a special Christmas party so in the next report I will send you some pictures.
We are as busy as ever here at the centre. Just an example if you look at the photo, the boy on the left was abandoned (deliberately) by his father who is a drunkard and the boy on the right has been rescued by neighbours and brought to us because of constant physical abuse at the hands of his uncle. We are presently making all due enquires and counseling and supporting the children as best we can.
It's already cold here at night and we have carefully distributing blankets and warm sweaters to those genuinely in need of them and I would like to thank all those who have donated to the appeal on Global Giving (which is still ongoing) and can be found here,
We also recently were involved in helping to reunite and rehabilitate over 60 children rescued from brick kilns in the neighboring state by the police . Some were aged just five and six years old. Again enquires are on in co-operation with the Uttar Pradesh police.
I will finish this update with a comment from one of our regular students, who previously lived on the station, ( I have changed his name only). These are his words,
"Before Rescue Junction was here we were at the mercy of god. Now we have somewhere safe to go, somewhere that protects us from harm , gives us food and education, and that thing I thought only others received , love and kindness ".
"Thank you to everybody who has helped us".
Pramod (age 11)
if you visit our FB page (the link is below) you can keep up with progress of our projects including our anti child begging campaign in Bodhgaya.
Until next time, God Bless you all,
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Yes time for another progress report! In fact the 36th progress report for this project, the first project people First ever had on global giving over six years ago. At the time of writing this report we have managed to raise over $27,000 towards our target of $50,000 from over 280 separate donations. Whilst every donation no matter how small is important to us I would like to especially thank our regular supporters (of which there are now quite a few ) for your caring kindness .
It is now the time of festivals here in India, but of course we never close . it is quite difficult for a small NGO like us to maintain services 24/7- 365 but with your help we have managed to do it and we hope not only to carry on but keep helping for a long time to come.
I can look back at the progress we have made and it is huge.
Since Rescue Junction became part of the Childline network referrals to the Centre have increased dramatically. In the period January 2012 to April 2014 310 missing children came through the Centre from which over 95% were successfully reunited with their families. These children would almost have certainly slipped through the net (actually there wasn’t even a net previously), and become street children or forced labourers or involved in prostitution. Here are the figures: 310 children rescued (200 boys and 110 girls). However the project reached out to over 1400 children during this period. For the children where it is not possible or safe for them to go home and there is no other suitable guardian children have been placed in full- time residential education (with holidays at Rescue Junction). Vocational training due to tight budgets has been difficult but ten children (six boys and four girls) have received vocational training in subjects as diverse as fridge and air conditioner repairing to crafts. This is a programme we would very much like to expand but we are hampered by lack of sufficient funds to implement a much needed wider programme.
The project has been fulfilling the duties and responsibilities that should really be undertaken by government at local , state and national levels. Right from the very beginning this was the declared ultimate aim and goal of the project- to develop a child protection framework in the entire district and secure funding for the same The original target was 20 years in order to achieve this goal. It may well be given progress to date this can know be achieved within 12 years of the very simple beginnings of the project.
These are the achievements so far,
Gaining the contract for Childline services in Gaya (urban) the first government funds ever received by the Trust, the recognition by the State Government which helps the excruciatingly long and convoluted process of trying to gain state government financial support.
The implementation of existing child protection bodies including the local child welfare committee, (a crucial development) and a child protection committee.
Furthermore it can be seen how closely involved People First have been with this process in that the lawyer the Trust appointed at Rescue Junction as the child protection and legal services officer has been chosen and duly appointed by the government as the chairperson of the first Gaya CWC. All this progress is in no doubt due to the relentless friendly pressure on the government from the Trust to finally put these legal bodies in place which have totally transformed the care and protection options for all local children.
So thank you all , and I wish you and your families all the best for the festive season.
Take care, with warm best wishes,
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Project Liason Officer