Yoga & Mediation Sessions
Hope you are keeping well and adhering to the required precautionary measures to keep yourself and others protected during this strange and difficult time.
I am Ravinder, heading the Udayan Ghar Programme (Udayan Care Sunshine Homes) at Udayan Care. I feel proud to be leading this magnificent programme which is providing shelter, love, care, protection and nourishment to over 200 at-risk children in 17 Udayan Ghars at the moment. We, at Udayan Care, aim to build a conducive family environment helping these children to reach their full potential and subsequently transform into self-dependent individuals.
It is indeed a matter of great pride to be writing this report for the GlobalGiving family and present our work to the benevolent supporters and well-wishers.
The last few months have been difficult, the toughest ones to be precise. The past 3 months’ time taught us to be adaptable, flexible, resilient, innovative and strong to stay focused towardsour most important responsibility - the young people who are the reason we exist.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the world, keeping oneself and their loved ones safe remained to be the first and foremost priority for everyone. We too, at Udayan Care, are doing our best to keep our young ones, children being nurtured in Udayan Ghars (Sunshine Homes), and ourselves protected and safe amidst this pandemic.
In order to continue to provide the same family environment to our young ones, the team at Udayan Care felt the need of revising its strategy and approach of working towards fulfilling the overall needs of the children and at the same time keeping them safe and protected against all the ill effects of the pandemic including physical, emotional and psychological.
Our approach during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis –
The children and carers across 17 Udayan Ghars, through storytelling, comic strips, interactive sessions, posters and presentations were educated about the COVID-19 and its spread. They were made aware about the precautionary measures to be taken to protect themselves and others against the infection.
Social distancing, sanitizing or washing hands regularly, maintaining hygiene and staying at home and were reiterated as must to follow steps.
In order to ensure the Ghar family members’ safety, each and every corner of the Udayan Ghars was sanitized with the help of government and private sanitization agencies.Food and other essential commodities (medicines, masks, gloves, toiletries etc.) were stocked so as to limit the movement outside the premises.
In every Udayan Ghar, a separate room, with all the essentials, was turned into a quarantine room for any new child coming to the Ghar or any family member in the Ghar, who might show symptoms.
Health advisories and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Prevention and Management of COVID-19 in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) was developed and shared across all the Ghars. The carers through online platforms were also trained on the use of the SOP.
- Ensuring Positive Mental Well-Being
Research studies have shown that children who have been exposed to traumatic experiences in the past are at a greater risk of developing mental health concerns during crisis situation. There is a likelihood of any previous trauma getting resurfaced or even worse.
In order to ensure a healthy and conducive environment at the Ghar, our mental health team, led by the mental health experts and the programme head, intervened with counseling and group sessions with children and carers through audio and video calls at regular intervals.
The carer team at the Udayan Ghars often come from an underprivileged background where they do not have opportunities to learn and develop and get exposed to the outside world. While being at Udayan Ghars, the carer team is ensured to learn and develop the skills required to work with the children in an out-of-home care setting, the need to make them tech savvy was never realized. However, this pandemic crisis and the nationwide lockdown has certainly made us realize that how important it is for the carers to know and learn about different communication platforms in the virtual world.
Helping carers and children learn to use online meeting platforms such as zoom, google meet etc. not only upskilled them but also helped other members of the Ghar team to monitor the day to day functioning of the Ghar virtually and also offered opportunities to engage them in workshops and a number of other fun and learning activities.
With the nationwide lockdown and the academic institutions shut, our inquisitive children didn’t let go off that opportunity to learn. As the schools started with remote classes, children at Udayan Ghars diligently began to study online being at the Ghar and hence, the continuum of learning was maintained.
- Workshops and Capacity Building
The team continued to conduct capacity building workshops with children and carers despite the crisis. The upgraded skills of children and carers to use online communication applications proved quite helpful in conducting the workshops and implementing the lesson plans.
The topics for the workshops were decided based on the on ground assessment during this pandemic crisis.
The lockdown in India progressed in versions from 1.0 to 4.0 and the non-residential members of the Ghar team continued to work from their private war rooms, home, trying their best to provide the required support, guidance and aid to the carers and the children at the Ghars.
Surviving a crisis can never be easy until the support to overcome or resettle comes in one’s way.
As an endeavor to reach out to others in need, our mental health team obligingly volunteered to be a part of COVID Response Team, an initiative by DCPCR and a host of other partners, to provide psychological and emotional support to thousands of vulnerable people across the nation through toll-free helpline. Migrant laborers, young people and others who could not return back to their family due to the untamed situation, anxious and alone, called and connected with the response team via the helpline. They shared their feelings, concerns and were counseled to stay positive and healthy. The team also helped them to locate the different aid provided in their local area such as ration and other essential commodities.
The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Prevention and Management COVID 19 in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) developed by Udayan Care was shared with other agencies working in the alternative care space and child protection.
As the spirit to give back to the society is inculcated in the children in Udayan Ghars, some of our alumni also came forward to help their Udayan Care family sustain and survive during these testing times. Some volunteered to engage the young ones in online tuition classes whereas, some of them offered to donate in the emergency response fund.
Rehabilitated in society with a decent job, a decent place to live in and a dream to lead a dignified life which is away from being included or counted among the disadvantaged or vulnerable sections which once they were part of, the youth leaving care feel jeopardized at present.
Hit hard by the unprecedented times that the world is facing today, the care leavers have once again found themselves surrounded by the clouds of setback and distress. Some have lost their jobs, some have not received their monthly salary and some lived with the constant fear of losing their only support for survival anytime soon. One needs to be stronghearted to empathise and understand the situation that they have been through or experiencing at the moment.
As reiterated in the Udayan Care philosophy, “Once an Udayan, always an Udayan” the Udayan Care family extended support to its care leavers and alumni by providing ration kits and medical, psychological, emotional and financial support. Some of the care leavers, after taking the required health safety measures, have also been housed in separate rooms in our aftercare facilities.
Fun and Learning Engagements during Pandemic Crisis –
Our young ones at Udayan Ghars utilised the quarantine time by getting engaged in a number of activities ranging from daily morning exercise, mediation, gardening, art and craft, cooking some new mouth-watering recipes, playing mind bending games to attending online academic classes, counselling sessions, storytelling sessions and lending a helping hand in day to day activities.
o Art & Craft
Creativity and innovativeness are likely to blossom when children are able to sketch out their thoughts and imagination on art notebook. Our dear partner ArtReach India Foundation went virtual and delivered online art sessions with some of the renowned artists of the contemporary times.
The children and carers using various online platforms played with their creativity and created some incredible art & craft pieces.
Cooking is therapeutic and stimulates your brain offering opportunities to experiment, create and experience a sense of accomplishment. Cooking for someone else is also believed to be a way of expressing of love and helps you connect better with them.
Our budding chefs at Udayan Ghars, with the available ingredients cooked happiness garnished with love and creativity.
o Yoga and Meditation
If you cannot go outside, go inside! Our young Udayanites, regular with their morning exercise and meditation are trying to get close to their inner-self and healing their lives.
o Session on Online Safety
The world under lock down is all online but the question arises is that is it safe even after taking so many precautions. Well we are certain that internet isn’t the safest place of all times. So, education about Digital Literacy is a must. And we at Udayan Care take every step to ensure our children’s safety as well as their learning. Voila! A whole session on cyber security was conducted and that too by not leaving their places! This quarantine has not only given us time to spend with our families but also learn with them.
o Session on Our Planet and Our Life in the Lockdown
Seeing the changing face of the planet earth, the children at Udayan Ghars were engaged in online sessions wherein, they as a group brainstormed to recognize the nature and life before and during the lockdown and came up with write-ups and posters intrigued towards making people realize the harm that has been done to the environment and what they can do to keep the environment and the planet earth safe from further destruction.
o QUIZantine; Udayan Ghar Online Inter-House Quiz Competition
COVID 19 lockdown has propelled the world towards exploring new dimensions of life. Even giving way to some otherwise unimaginable events. Yes, 17 Udayan Ghars conducted an online Quizantine (Quiz during the self-quarantine). The 4 round quiz competition included multiple choice quiz questions, riddles and other creative questionnaires.
The event rightly roped the sense of being alone together. The children across the homes enjoyed the creative engagement and participated enthusiastically.
This is how the whole team at Udayan Care worked with all vim and vigor and continued to provide care and protection to its most valued members of the family, the children. I hope with time the clouds of misfortune and distress fade away and everything gets back to normal.
I am truly grateful to all the sponsors and well-wishers who are equally creditable for the wonderful work that we have been able to do at Udayan Care with their continued support.
Stay safe and healthy!
Ravinder and the entire team at Udayan Care Sunshine Homes
Art & Crafts being done by the kids
Spending time with nature