A shelter that gives Bajrang a chance at education and a better life
Bajrang and his two older brothers are ragpickers. He has three siblings. All four of them along with their mother came from their village to Mumbai to earn a living. They live in the Saat Rasta area of Mumbai.
Bajrang, despite being a rag picker, pursued his education on his own. He enrolled himself in the Marwadi Vidyalaya Hindi Medium school and passed class IX with a distinguished 75% last year. He financed his education by doing small jobs and from his earnings as a ragpicker.
Bajrang understood that now, being in his final school year, he would need to focus a lot more on his studies. He wanted to study with no distractions and difficulties in having to earn his livelihood. He approached YMCA Mumbai Central looking for a safe place to stay where he need not work but could concentrate on his studies.
YMCA then guided him to the approached us for his admission to the Salaam Baalak Trust Night Shelter at Andheri.
Bajrang has adjusted very well to life at our Andheri shelter. He is a hardworking and disciplined boy, obedient and helpful. He does all the chores and tasks assigned to him. He also helps the younger boys with their studies. He has been enrolled in special coaching classes to help him score even better in his SSC.
He is so focused on his studies that he turns down opportunities to go on fun outings. He prefers to stay back and study. His ambition is to become a civil engineer or architect!
With the support he gets at Salaam Baalak Trust, he is sure to realize his dreams.
You can also help poor children like Bajrang get access to a safe and caring environment that helps them with a chance of a better future. You can give with confidence because every program listed is GIVEASSURED.
By donating to this program
you will be sponsoring the overall costs incurred to support the beneficiaries
What the beneficiary gets
Salam Balak Trust (SBT), Mumbai was founded in 1988 after the success of the film Salaam Bombay. The Andheri Centre is the most recently opened. The Centre has a day-care for boys and girls and a night shelter for boys.
Donations to this program will contribute to a fund which will cover the cost of operating expenses and the salary of the shelter home staff.
At the center, the children receive access to a host of programs and activities covering education, nutrition, medical and health care, life skills and counseling and extra-curricular activities.
The children are enrolled in schools and are helped with their studies at the Centre. They also receive a nutritious mid-day meal and evening snacks.
The boys in the night shelter have all their meals at the center including breakfast and dinner.
The center currently provides shelter at night to 30 street children.
When you donate to this program, you help poor homeless children get access to a safe place to stay for the night.
Salaam Baalak Trust- Mumbai
22 September, 2023
An update on the program you are supporting
Activities and work undertaken in the last 5-6 months
Total number of beneficiaries impacted was 60, in Mumbai
Challenges faced and next steps
The SBT children and staff thought of great craft ideas to celebrate the 75th Independence Day. Children used their imagination and creativity in crafting wonderful items. They made flowers, badges, little flags, and other articles using the tri-colours. On the World Homeless Day our children participated in activities to express their gratitude towards having a shelter. The children shared their dreams and goals through this activity. Diwali was celebrated with fireworks and firecrackers, keeping safety in mind. Children had a great time dancing to their favourite Bollywood numbers. Children enjoyed a special dinner and danced the night away on New Year�s eve. 1 boy successfully completed the graphic designing course and is pursuing on-the-job training with a designing firm at Andheri. Children played a friendly football match with JW Marriott team.
Stories from the ground
Ganesh (Name changed) is 13 years old. He and his family were staying on the streets of Mumbai before coming to our Kandivali shelter. He is very good in studies but was unable to attend school earlier. Once he joined SBT and our team admitted Ganesh in the school, he started doing exceptionally well and his class teacher was happy to see him doing so well. Ganesh also encouraged other children in the shelter to attend school regularly and also helped the younger boys in their studies.
21 December, 2022
Studies, fun and future
Activities and work undertaken in the last 5-6 months
Salaam Baalak Trust operates in Mumbai and Thane regions. This project is undertaken at our shelter located in Andheri (E), Mumbai.
Proud moments for SBT
• 1 Child successfully completed graphic designing course and he will soon start on-job-training with media publication.
• 5 Children participated in the dance competition organized by Rotary club of South Mumbai and won the first prize.
• We are partnering with ‘Azafraan’ a firm/organization which is supporting us in the implementation of various activities to maintain the emotional well-being of the kids. So far, we have conducted 24 Art based therapy sessions for 55 kids of Andheri shelter.
• 2 Boys from Andheri shelter secured a dance scholarship from a renowned dance academy based in South Mumbai.
Major events: Republic Day: SBT children and staff came up with great craft ideas to celebrate the day. All the children used their imagination and creativity in crafting wonderful items. They crafted flowers, badges, little flags and other articles using the tri-colours. These skills are sure to foster their motor skills, nurture new ideas as well as develop their focus on a task. We feel this is a better way to celebrate Independence and to encourage their self-expression and boost their sense of achievement. Summer Picnic: During the summer vacation we had visited ‘Borivali National Park’ with the Andheri shelter children. After the Covid lockdown it was the first-time children were having a great time being with nature. The students visited the forest area and saw several animals and birds like porcupines, deer, lion and tigers under the supervision of our care takers and staff. Children then took the lion and tiger safari which was a thrilling experience. The natural beauty and lush green environment were a wonderful sight and an unforgettable experience. The picnic came to end with a snacks break. The children had an enjoyable and informative day. Blue Umbrella Day: Raising awareness of sexual violence affecting boys: For Prevention and Treatment from Child Sexual Abuse in India - We have come together to launch Blue Umbrella Day, an international day on 16 April that aims to draw attention to the need to provide appropriate care and protection to boys to support their wellbeing. The Campaign emphasizes on the fact that we can protect boys from sexual violence; that all boys need adult care as much as girls and that we can start by changing our attitudes. We had organized various activities with the children. They performed skits and role plays that reflected the pain and emotions of sexually abused children. Different slogans were mentioned on blue balloons and on Umbrellas and these were displayed outside our Shelters and Centres to raise awareness amongst the masses about the cause.
How were they impacted and helped: 55 Children at Andheri shelter Nutritional support: SBT has been providing nutritious 4-time meals including breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner to 55 children. This ensures that they are physically and mentally fit to excel. We provide a nutritious well-balanced meal with good quality ingredients sourced by SBT. This helps our team to build a rapport with children because getting regular four-time meal is impossible for them being on the streets hence meal time is themost favorite time for our kids. Therefore Meal time isn’t just about nutrition but about nurturing a sense of togetherness.
We also maintain a health chart for each child and our social workers keep a track of the health status of each child. During these six months we observed that 55 out of 50 children recorded normal growth indicating proper nutritional support. We have worked out an appropriate nutritional plan for the remaining kids to improve their health status.
Health & Hygiene: One of the most prominent supports is to have awareness programmes on health and personal hygiene in our institutions for children and for their parents as well, to develop and adopt healthy habits. Our team conducts monthly health and hygiene sessions and maintains the individual health care chart for each child. Our Shelter has a visiting doctor who assesses the health issues of children residing at the centre and provides medical support as required. In emergency situations we also seek assistance from the government hospitals and from local physicians. Education Support: Lack of money and guidance is a major obstacle to education. It is unfortunate that street children cannot afford education due to lack of acceptance for them in civil society. To bridge this gap SBT takes a lot of initiative to sensitise civil society organisations such as Anganwadi, BMC/Public Schools. Some of those who want to study are unable to join schools due to lack of financial support. Those who are keen to study are unable to reap rich benefits of quality education. We, at SBT, are committed to bringing education to this section of the society. We are committed to reaching out to the less fortunate and helping them study further. Some kids lag behind due to lack of proper guidance. They have no one to guide and counsel them. Lack of guidance interferes with their ability to grow and prosper. We consider it our responsibility to make them self-sufficient and self-reliant. And to make this possible, our in-house teachers are helping children in studies starting from identifying the letters of alphabets and numbers to helping them read and write.
Challenges faced and next steps
Challenges: Our major challenge for this year is to take children from street to school. Since the last two years children were not used to sitting in one place and studying because there were not attending formal school. When schools re-opened, we started getting a lot of complaints from the schools that children are not concentrating in the class and are leaving the classroom without the permission of the class teacher. Additionally, this year we also had a batch of newly admitted kids, few of them were attending school but they were not regular and majority of them had never attended school. It was therefore very challenging for us to inculcate the discipline of sitting in one place and studying. In consultation with our senior staff, we prepared concrete plans for each child which helps us to understand and work on their key problems. With the help of our counsellors, we tackled the mental and psychological issues of every child and our in-house teachers conducted various fun based educational activities for the children which helped us to generate a lot of enthusiasm among the children not only for education but for their overall development. Regular extra-curricular activities also help us bring a lot of positive transformation among the children.
Our goal/aim/activity plan for the next 6 months: • Our plan is to reach out to a greater number of homeless kids in the next 6 months to accommodate and provide them all services available in our shelters. • We are planning to enroll the next batch of children for skill development training so that they can have the professional knowledge which is essential for their livelihood
Stories from the ground
Viraj (name changed to maintain confidentiality) came to our shelter in 2017. He was living with his family in a very small space of the pavement. The Mother is the sole bread earner in the family; their father re-married and was not paying attention towards Viraj and his younger sister. Our Social worker contacted them during outreach activity and after counselling and assurance, Viraj’s mother agreed to keep both the children in our shelter home based at Andheri. Viraj is good in studies but he is more interested in drawing and creating various sketches. This talent of Viraj was identified by our social workers and they provided all required drawing material to Viraj so that he could continue with his hobbies. Gradually this hobby turned into a passion and he kept on participating in various elementary Art exams. Viraj depicted the life of street children through his drawing and won the first prize at Delhi.
23 May, 2022
Professional Courses, Sports, etc.
Activities and work undertaken in the last 5-6 months
Milestones: Proud moments for SBT • One child has successfully completed the Tally course. He is currently enrolled in F.Y.B.com and is furthering his education. This course will help him pursue a job in the accounting sector. • Two children from Kohinoor Technical Institute successfully completed a Java programming course. • One child has enrolled in a graphic design course at Kohinoor Technical Institute. • Two children are enrolled in an automobile course at CEDP Technical Institute and are excelling. • On December 5, 2021, seven boys from the Andheri shelter competed in the RYP inter-school Judo tournament. After t lockdown, it was a very good experience for the children, and they have really done well. One child secured gold and five children got silver medals. • The Rotaract club HR College organized the Quicksilver event for the children of Andheri Center. 27 children participated in various activities like dance, skits, and fashion shows. The children secured the 3rd prize in the dance competition. • We are partnering with "Azafraan", a firm/organization that is supporting us to implement various activities to maintain the emotional well-being of the kids. In the month of November, Azafraan shot a documentary with us in which our children performed. The idea behind this documentary is to figure out how to deal with the various emotions of children and help them heal those through art-based therapy sessions. • Two children from the Andheri shelter were chosen as "Child Champions," and they took part in a training program organized by Save the Children India. The entire idea behind this training program is to train the children on various issues and laws related to children in India. This training program helped our children develop their understanding of the rights of children, starting with the right to survival, development, protection, and participation.
Independence Day Celebration: SBT children and staff came up with great craft ideas to celebrate the 75th Independence Day. All the children exhibited their imagination and creativity in crafting wonderful items. They crafted flowers, badges, little flags, and other articles using the tri-colors. These skills are sure to foster their motor skills, nurture new ideas, as well as develop their focus on any task. We feel this is a better way to celebrate Independence Day in order to encourage their self-expression and boost their sense of achievement. World Homeless Day: On the occasion of World Homeless Day, children from Salaam Baalak Trust participated in the activities. Children shared their dreams and goals through this activity. They expressed their gratitude. While expressing their gratitude, the children said: "I want to build a house of my own." "I want to live with my parents and my family." "We have received a lot of support from the Salaam Baalak Trust as they have provided us with shelter and education. They have been helping us to attain our goals. We are highly grateful and thankful to be a part of this trust. "
Mumbai Darshan: As soon as the situation started getting normal, we planned a one-day picnic for the children, and on September 27, along with 150 kids, we visited significant places in Mumbai like the Gateway of India, Hajiali, Mahalaxmi Temple, and Girgaon Chowpatty. Our staff explained the historical and cultural background of each place to the children. It was a mesmerizing experience for all the children, and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
Diwali Celebration: All the children attended the Diwali Party at the Andheri Shelter. They enjoyed games, fun-filled activities, and received lovely Diwali gifts and sweets. The children were enthralled with the visual delight of the fireworks display and the bursting of firecrackers. All safety measures were maintained as per statutory norms.
Children’s Day celebration: On the occasion of Children’s Day, all the children of Salaam Baalak Trust took part in different activities. On this special day, actress Tisca Chopra visited one of the shelters and spent time with the children. Children were engrossed in the drawing activity conducted by Tisca Chopra. Everyone enjoyed the activity session and had a wonderful chat with her. Tisca’s way of conversing with the children and getting them involved in the activity was very unique and appreciated by all. The children had a great time with her.
How were they impacted and helped? 56 boys at Andheri Day Care and Night Shelter
Nutritional support: Nutrition is a key area of focus for us at SBT. We believe that this nurtures the student both mentally and physically. With the support of donors, we were able to supply raw rations and hygiene kits to a few families during this difficult pandemic period. SBT children and their families have benefited from this initiative. SBT focuses on the holistic development of children. Their weak economic background hinders access to nutritious food. SBT has been providing our children with nutritious meals four times a day, including breakfast, lunch, evening snacks, and dinner. This ensures that they are physically and mentally fit.
Health and Hygiene: This year, due to the continuing COVID-19 situation, our prime objective was to protect every child and ensure their safety by maintaining the guidelines provided by the UN. Hence, we conducted awareness sessions on COVID-19 with our children so that they could take the required precautions to keep themselves safe. Oximeters and infrared thermometers were provided to all shelters to ensure the wellness of all children based at their shelters. We have used audio-visual media to emphasize the consequences and precautions related to COVID-19. Our staff that was stationed 24X7 at our shelters had taken all the required measures and maintained the safety and security of the children. Our center has a visiting doctor who assesses the health issues of children residing at the centers and provides medical support as required. In emergencies, we also seek assistance from government hospitals and local physicians.
It is critical to protect frontline workers while they perform their duties. With the help of donors, N-95 mask kits were given to all staff and children. This protective gear will go a long way in the fight against COVID-19.
Educational Support: Every child is entitled to an education in India, but unfortunately, not every child is receiving a quality education. Like many others, Indians want a better education for their children. SBT doubled down on its effort to ensure as many children as possible have access to high-quality education even during the lockdown and pandemic restrictions. We have already adopted a digital learning platform and are trying to equip students with mobile devices to continue education even during these difficult times. Our dedicated teachers have not only worked fast to adapt the curriculum to remote teaching and relied on tools like WhatsApp videos and worksheets, but were then quick to learn more sophisticated tools to ensure the children faced no hurdles in their education. We are also preparing for a time when the government allows us to restart the schools. We have adhered to all the procedures set by the authorities and are taking more precautions around social distancing and sanitising the premises. Your contribution has been invaluable in helping these children not face any disruptions in their education. Along with digital learning, our students have also begun to spread awareness of safety in these difficult times, and some have taught their acquaintances how to make masks at home and the importance of hygiene. Lessons are fine-tuned to encourage children to think creatively, solve problems, and not just memorize. Each day is an electrifying experience for these children, with co-curricular activities like sports and cultural programs, not to mention a daily sumptuous and nutritious meal. We are very happy to conduct different types of activities to enrich the skills of children. We conducted the "Multiplication Tables Awareness Month Celebrations" in our shelter successfully. Most of the children performed the following activities enthusiastically: Reciting multiplication tables singing multiplication tables. Dancing on Multiplication tables. Playing tricks with multiplication tables Jokes on multiplication tables Skits on multiplication tables Quiz competitions We were mesmerised by the students’ performances. All the students were aware of and learnt the maximum multiplication tables from this event. We conducted a national math day in our institutions. Teachers also help children in other subjects as well. Along with these activities, we conducted many more activities like cultural, sports, and extracurricular activities.
We have secured admission for FJYC and ensured that our children attend their online or offline classes.
Facilitate Vaccinations for Low-Income Communities In the community projects, our frontline workers noticed that COVID-appropriate behaviours such as wearing masks, social distancing, and sanitisation are still improperly followed and are worsened by rumours regarding vaccination, which lead to people being hesitant to take their shots. We try to spread awareness about COVID-19 within low-income communities through community walks, one-on-one health enquiries, and liaising with local government and community influencers.
Psychosocial Support The purpose of the counselling service is to encourage the children’s academic, social, emotional, and personal development. To achieve this aim, guidance and counselling services help children get to know themselves better and find effective solutions to their daily problems. They also help children improve themselves in all areas and become fully functioning individuals. Children’s development was monitored and, according to their needs, the counsellor provided necessary support to the children, such as helping them to understand themselves and their needs, to solve their problems, to make realistic decisions, to improve their abilities and skills, and to adjust themselves to their environment in a healthy way. Counsellors conducted various sessions for the children, which included individual counselling sessions and group therapy.
Challenges faced and next steps
Challenges faced/COVID related hurdles: Due to the pandemic, schools continued to be closed, and there were online classes. This was a difficult time for the children and us. Equipment in the form of smartphones, tablets, and laptops was required. Systems in the form of wifi or connectivity were required. It was a challenging situation, but with the support of donors, we were able to obtain the required equipment and systems to enable the children to attend online classes and continue their education uninterrupted. This support was particularly essential for the kids who were appearing for SSC, HSC, and professional courses. Once the infrastructure was in place, the next challenge was in ensuring its correct usage, technically as well as morally and ethically. Strict rules and discipline balanced with gentle persuasion and understanding had to be used, especially for the adolescents. Additionally, the lockdown and restrictions had an impact on not only the health and economic situation but the psychosocial wellbeing of the children too. With the restriction of movement, children had constrained access to socialization, play, and even physical contact, which are critical for their psychosocial wellbeing and development. School closures were preventing children from accessing direct learning and limiting their interactions with peers. Children felt confused and at a loss with the current situation, leading to frustration and anxiety, which only increased with overexposure to mass and social media, especially among adolescents. Some staff struggled to find ways to explain and communicate with the children about the current situation in a way that was understandable by this age group, which added to the frustration and disquietude. Thus, COVID-19 has also brought a new kind of stress on our staff and caregivers. Our goal, aim, and activity plan for the next 6 months are: • Our goal for the next six months is to reach out to a larger number of homeless children to accommodate and provide all of the services available in our shelters. • We intend to enroll the next group of 20 children in skill development training. That way, they can gain the professional knowledge required for their livelihood. • We intend to build education and science labs in all of the shelters and centers. These labs will help our children have hands-on experience with each activity, and this will help us develop the creative minds of the kids.
Stories from the ground
Ahmed Shaikh (name changed to maintain confidentiality) was admitted to our shelter in 2019. He was not particularly interested in studies when he first arrived, nor did he practice good personal hygiene. He didn’t know what to do with his life. But over time, with the effort of the social workers, he started improving his habits. He used to go to Judo and martial arts classes at the shelter and developed an interest in them. Due to his Judo and martial arts training, he has inculcated self-discipline. He also started behaving more responsibly and being attentive. Today, he takes care of his younger brother as well. Due to his hard work and efforts, he has won a gold medal in the RYP inter-school Judo competition. When he was on the street, he had no access to all these facilities and opportunities. With the help of SBT, he now gets proper nutrition, healthcare, education, and extra-curricular activities support, which helps him become a good, responsible individual and prepares him for future hurdles and opportunities.
28 November, 2021
Happy, Healthy and Heading to a Bright Future
Activities and work undertaken in the last 5-6 months
Milestones of Andheri Shelter:• A Child is attending a 2nd-year degree course in film making from Whistling Woods International and doing well in his career. He is aspiring to become a successful filmmaker.• One Child represents himself as a ‘Change Maker’ on the National level program organised by our partner NGO Save the Children. He mentioned how SBT played an important role in shaping his life and because of this support he successfully reached grade 12 and would like to pursue his career in the aviation industry.• We have successfully maintained and followed all guidelines issued by WHO and ensured the safety of all kids and staff and protected them from covid-19. • 8 children successfully passed SSC (class 10) and 3 children passed HSC (class 12) examination with good marks. • Major events: • Republic Day Celebration:• A beautiful cultural programme took place on 26th January across all our shelters and centres to celebrate Republic Day this year. Unlike other years, this year the SBT staff decided to organize a cultural programme on this day.• Preparation started 15 days earlier, beginning with enlisting participants for the programme. Children did their rehearsals regularly under the supervision of the staff and teachers.• On 26th January all the children were present on the Centre premises and the flag hoisting ceremony took place. Thereafter a short speech was delivered by our staff to explain the significance of this particular day. Later the children performed patriotic dance numbers and enjoyed a day filled with lots of happiness.• International Street Children Day:• Organisations around the world celebrated the International Day for Street Children which was on 12 April this year: a special day acknowledging the strength and resilience of millions of street children around the world. SBT along with another partner organisation decided to celebrate from 6-12 April.• International Day for Street Children has been celebrated globally since 2012, to recognise the humanity, dignity and defiance of street children in the face of unimaginable hardships. We want to rally governments and individuals worldwide to work together to ensure their rights are protected no matter who they are and where they live, even more so in the difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic.• The pandemic has highlighted how street-connected children are too often excluded from accessing essential services such as healthcare, education, and access to justice and to discuss such issues SBT had participated in a meeting with government- stakeholders including DWCD officer, Member of Child Welfare Committee, Manager of UIDAI, Postal Dept, Funding Partner PIAGGIO and project implementing partner SBT.• For this year International Day for Street Children (IDS), we had organised a special lunch and speech and drawing activities for children across all the shelters.• Drawing enables a child’s imagination to become more active. Each time they draw they access their imagination and make physical representations of what’s in their mind. Children’s imaginations have allowed them to create all of the things that we use and are surrounded by every day. Hence most of them created situations from the street and tried to reflect their everyday struggle; a few of them imagined beautiful homes with a sunset. During the speech activities, children delivered important information related to child rights and laws. Thus this activity helped to create awareness among the children about their safety and security and they enjoyed it a lot throughout the day.• • Blue Umbrella Day: Raising awareness of sexual violence affecting boys:• For Prevention and Treatment from Child Sexual Abuse in India, institutions like SBT came together to launch Blue Umbrella Day on 16 April, an international day that aims to draw attention to the need to provide appropriate care and protection to boys to support their wellbeing. • The Campaign emphasised the fact that we can protect boys from sexual violence; that all boys need adult care as much as girls and that we can start by changing our attitudes. • On Blue Umbrella Day we are reminding the world that boys also need to be cared for and protected from any harm, including sexual violence.• Hence, we had organised various activities with the children. They performed skits and role-plays that reflected the pain and emotions of sexually abused children. Different slogans were mentioned on blue balloons and Umbrellas and these were displayed outside every SBT shelter and centre to raise awareness among the masses about this cause. • • World Day Against Child Labour:• On 12th June -World Day against Child Labour, we showed a documentary to the children which states that child labour is a violation of child rights and it is physical, mental and economic abuse of the children. Children also participated in a poster making competition and a few of them came up with wonderful artwork which reflects the pain of being a child worker or a labourer. After the activity, coordinators and team members explained the importance of child rights to the children and made them aware of the 1098 helplines available for children in distress. Areas covered: MumbaiNumber of people impacted: 57 homeless kids benefitted from this projectHow were they impacted and helped:We have provided Nutritional, Educational, Psychosocial and Skill training support to children.Nutritional support:We provide proper nutritional support to the children including 4 meals i.e., breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner. Our staff prepares the menu chart in consultation with children and ensures that children receive all nutrients and vitamins through their dietary plan. The special diet plan is also provided to children as per their need and the activities they are involved in - such as sports person, Judo-candidate or as per the advice of dieticians. Health & Hygiene:This year also our priority has been to keep our children safe and protected from illnesses like covid -19. Hence we have taken all sorts of precautions and care to ensure the safety of all kids and staff. We have followed the guidelines of WHO and maintained the same. We conducted various awareness sessions across all shelters on Covid-19 for the children so that they can take the required precautions to keep themselves safe. We used an audio-visual medium to emphasize the consequences and precautions related to Covid-19. Our staff performed a major role and they were stationed 24X7 at the shelters by rotation and had taken all required measures and maintained the safety and security of children.Education Support:In SBT we do an essential evaluation of every child and according to his/her age and as per the preference of language, we place them in appropriate schools. Our in-house teachers ensured that every child completed his/her assignments. Teachers supervised the children during online school sessions and provided utmost care and attention. Average 57 children are school or college going. Our staff keeps the record of all academic achievements of the children and paid visits to their schools to maintain rapport with teachers and principals. Psychosocial Support:Counselling Service is provided to encourage children’s academic, social, emotional and personal development. To reach this aim, guidance counselling services help children get to know themselves better and find effective solutions to their daily problems. They also help children improve themselves in all areas and be full-functioning individuals. Counsellors monitor children’s development and according to their needs counsellor gives children necessary support such as helping them to understand themselves and their needs, to solve their problems, to make realistic decisions, to improve their abilities and skills, and to adjust themselves to their environment in a healthy way. All 57 children benefitted and we were able to maintain the psychosocial balance and harmony for each child during this difficult situation of the pandemic, where children are not able to visit their school or college.
Challenges faced and next steps
Challenges faced/ Covid related hurdles:Due to lockdown schools were shut and it was difficult for us to make every child attend online classes. We did not have enough systems and equipment with us; hence initially it was very challenging for us to deal with the situation. But gradually our management approached a few donors who agreed to extend their support and provided tablets for each child so that they can attend the school/ college and continue their education. This support was a very essential role for the kids who had appeared for SSC, HSC and professional courses.As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand in India and the world, only one thing is certain: the current outbreak will have a profound impact not only on the health and economic situation but also on the psychosocial well-being of SBT children. The impacts will be felt differently among different population groups. Among these, one group will face additional challenges to understand, absorb, and deal with the changes that COVID-19 is bringing to our world: the children. In the current context of lockdown and restriction of movements, children have constrained access to socialisation, play and even physical contact, critical for their psychosocial wellbeing and development. School closures are preventing children from access to learning and limiting their interactions with peers. Children may feel confused and at loss with the current situation, leading to frustration and anxiety, which will only increase with overexposure to mass and social media, especially among adolescents. Some adults may struggle to find ways to explain and communicate with children about the current situation in a way that is understandable by this age group, which will add to the frustration and disquietude. COVID-19 is also bringing new stressors to our staff and caregivers. Our goal/aim/activity plan for the next 6 months:• we plan to reach out to 50 more homeless kids in the next 6 months and accommodate and provide them with all the services that are available in our shelters.• We are planning to enrol the next batch of 5 children for skill development training so that they can have the professional knowledge which is essential for their livelihood.• We are looking forward to establishing a group home for the kids who are above 18 years of age and enrolled on the skill training program. It will be a step to rehabilitate these kids so that we can re-integrate them into the community or society.
Stories from the ground
Amit (name changed to maintain confidentiality) is our beneficiary for the last last 8-9 years. Amit was a very shy and introverted child. He was also average in his studies. Our staff were very attentive and provided a lot of support to Amit and ensured his participation in extracurricular activities organised at the shelter. Initially, Amit was not a proactive child however our counselling sessions helped him to open up and gradually he started participating in activities. Our staff found that Amit had been very active during JUDO sessions. Amit started dedicating his time and discovered his passion to become the best Judo player. This potential of Amit was identified by our staff and they always encouraged him. Simultaneously, we also kept track of his nutritional support-being a sports person we provided a special diet for Amit. And with the help of the Judo teacher Amit participated in various Judo competitions. Last year in Intercollegiate Judo Competition Amit won a silver medal in the 'Under 55 kgs' category. This year he passed the HSC examination and secured 2nd class. Amit also wants to secure a job in the Railways and started his preparation in that direction. Salaam Baalak Trust is supporting Amit to pursue his chosen career.
26 March, 2021
Safe and Happy despite Covid Times
At the Salaam Baalak Trust Andheri Shelter we have boys ranging from age 6-16. Currently we have 66 children at this Centre of which 62 are school going and 4 are in college. We provide Nutrition, Healthcare, Education and Recreational activities to our children to encourage their holistic development.
Nutrition and Health
The children receive all their meals at the Shelter and a special diet in case of special medical requirements.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year, our prime objective was to protect every child and ensure their safety by maintaining the guidelines provided by the UN. We conducted awareness sessions on Covid-19 for our children so that they could take the required precautions to keep themselves safe. We used the audio-visual medium to emphasize this message. The initial days required much planning to ensure adequate staff and supervision at the Shelter especially since travel was not freely permitted.
Our centre has a visiting doctor who assesses the health issues of children residing at the centres and provides medical support as required. In emergency situations we also seek assistance from the government hospitals and from local physicians and organize periodic health check-ups.
Due to the pandemic children were not able to attend schools/ colleges. However we ensured that every child attended the online classes of their schools/ colleges. Tablets were arranged for the children so that they could attend their virtual classes under the supervision of our staff and teachers.
This year two children passed the SSC examination and secured first class.
We have a visiting consultant through Art-Beat Therapy. He provides psychosocial support and deals with the children’s behavioural issues. This year he connected virtually. He conducted group therapy through Yoga- meditation, drawing, singing, dancing and motivational talks to children to keep their morale high.
Rakshabandhan was celebrated with our staff tying Rakhi to the boys.
There was Flag hoisting and information sharing on Independence Day.
Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated by making Ganapati idols with clay, making Modaks and drawing beautiful pictures of Ganapati.
An online Rambo circus show was organized for the children in September.
On Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s birthday an inspirational movie on his life was shown.
Diwali and Children’s Day were also celebrated with an Essay competition, Diya, Kandil and Rangoli competitions, games and prizes.
There was a picnic on Juhu beach and special lunch one day too!
5 July, 2020
Safety is of utmost importance
Safety is of utmost importance
This is a special year for Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) being the 30th year of operation. We had a function to celebrate this on 26 February 2020. Past and present beneficiaries, staff, trustees, donors and other well wishers were invited to share this joy. The children of the different shelters and projects put up various items spanning songs, dances, recitation, yoga and martial arts. Alumni of SBT were felicitated for leading successful professional lives. Souvenirs/ Books were released to mark the event and also showcase the success stories.
With the threat of the Covid 19 pandemic looming large at the end of this quarter, our first priority was the safety of our children and staff. The Night shelters continue to provide a safe haven to the children. Schools being closed and movement prohibited the staff and and virtual volunteers have been keeping the children gainfully occupied, entertained and educated.
19 November, 2019
Children engaged in diverse activities